Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mathematics of Love and Sex


Back in the day I used to imitate a high school mathematics teach and college instructor I used to list on the side of the chalkboard (or whiteboard) a list of the four or five main topics I needed to cover in the lesson for the day.  Sometimes I would list “Sex” at the bottom of the list.  Then just before we ran out of time one of the students would mention “Hey, we did not cover Sex yet!”
“Well, we are out of time – we will have to cover it in another lesson.”
That’s about all I know about the topic of “mathematics and sex” except some jokes about “multiplying”.
Well, that’s not quite true – I know babies come from Wal-Mart.  (Every Wal-Mart has a baby section.  Sometimes you will find a baby – all dressed up and mounted in a stroller – you know they sell better as a package deal.)  In fact, I decided to surprise my wife one day and found a cute baby at Wal-Mart (though I could not find the price or the bar code), but halfway to the check-out line I noticed a pungent smell.  I figured this baby was “out off date” or spoiled, so I put it back.  Nobody wants a spoiled baby.
I did check my Recreation Mathematics books and did not find any mention of “Mathematics and Sex”. 
Anyway, it too late to make a long story short.  I have run across two TED talks by mathematicians that also have books that will explain more that can be covered in a short TED video.
“The Mathematics of Love” by Hanna Fry, and her TED Talk at:
“Finding the right mate is no cakewalk — but is it even mathematically likely? In a charming talk, mathematician Hannah Fry shows patterns in how we look for love, and gives her top three tips (verified by math!) for finding that special someone.”
“Mathematics of Sex” by Cleo Cresswell (University of Sydney), and her TED Talk at:
“Mathematics and sex are deeply intertwined. From using mathematics to reveal patterns in our sex lives, to using sex to prime our brain for certain types of problems, to understanding them both in terms of the evolutionary roots of our brain, Dr Clio Cresswell shares her insight into it all. Dr Clio Cresswell is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at The University of Sydney researching the evolution of mathematical thought and the role of mathematics in society. Born in England, she spent part of her childhood on a Greek island, and was then schooled in the south of France where she studied Visual Art. At eighteen she simultaneously discovered the joys of Australia and mathematics, following on to win the University Medal and complete a PhD in mathematics at The University of New South Wales. Communicating mathematics is her field and passion. Clio has appeared on panel shows commenting, debating and interviewing; authored book reviews and opinion pieces; joined breakfast radio teams and current affair programs; always there highlighting the mathematical element to our lives. She is author of Mathematics and Sex.”


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