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The Mathematics of Why I Don't Have a Boyfriend
Brilliant! Incredibly funny! Totally delightful!
These were some of the comments about Trina Dinnis's story of the search for romance, and how the search for Mr Right can be optimised by the use of the right mathematics. Here's her account of what started it all off.
Trina Dinnis writes:
There were several things that gave me the idea for my talk about the mathematics of why I don't have a boyfriend.
There was the guy who was talking about how a girl he was very keen on decided not to go out with him because he didn't like a certain book. I did wonder (very nastily) if it would have been so important to her if he had more hair.
Also I had a colleague at work who during every coffee break would describe in great detail how much he wanted a girlfriend, and what he wanted from a girlfriend. He had quite a long wish list. Top of the list seemed to be sharing the bills. For some reason I wasn't enormously tempted to apply for the position.
It was then that the concept of using a multidimensional space to describe selection criteria began to form in my mind. Finally I had had the wonderful idea of writing a new version of the song "You can't get a man with a gun" from the musical "Annie get your gun", entitled "You can't get a man with a sum" and was thinking about where I might get the opportunity to perform such a masterwork.
In the end I decided not to include it in my talk because of:
a) worries about copyright issues
b) I felt the talk worked better without it
c) it is perhaps kinder not to expose the world to my singing and
d) I never managed to finish it, though I did manage the immortal couplet "a knack with a fraction, won't get you any action" of which I am inordinately proud.
I then set to work, using my world-class engineering skills to start developing a model of the boyfriend acquisition process.
Throughout my research career I have used my modelling skills to simulate a large range of systems, from mobile phone networks to electrical sparks, but this is definitely the most challenging system that I have encountered.
My aim in modelling systems is twofold. Firstly, it should be able to give me a better understanding of the system in question, and be able to predict how the system will behave under different conditions. Secondly, it may give me ideas on how to improve the system and make it work more effectively.
This talk took place on Wednesday 12 November, in The Old Brewery in Cromarty.