Why I Don't Have a Girlfriend
WHY I DON'T HAVE A GIRLFRIEND
Based on a talk by Peter Backus at the Warwick Economics Summit
Finding a romantic partner is seen as an important part of anyone's life, but how do you find that special someone? Warwick PhD Student, Peter Backus, tried a novel new approach, attempting to find out just how many suitable girlfriends there were for him in the UK. He used Dr Frank Drake's 1961 equation for estimating the number of communicative civilisations in the Milky Way but altered the variables to suit his criteria. The article gained Backus a lot of media attention, but was his equation a success? Watch his presentation below from the recent Warwick Economics Summit to find out.
During what he tongue-in-cheekly deemed a period of “great loneliness”, PhD student Peter Backus decided to adapt a well-known scientific equation to work out just how many potential girlfriends there are out there for him in the dating pool. This was, rather unhelpfully to his romantic quest, reported on Asylum.com as ‘Math Geek Comes Up With Equation to Explain His Lack of a Girlfriend’.
The difficult to quantify variables were if the women would be single, attracted to him and whether they would have things in common, such as his love of ice cream.
Other scientists have used the Drake equation for their own romantic ends. In 1999 Tristan Miller at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence used it to work out how many women in his chosen age bracket of 18-25 might be available and find him attractive. He came up with the answer of 15.8655 per cent. This doesn’t sound too bad until he points out that if he went on a blind date every week he would have to date for 3,493 weeks before he found one of the 18,726 women he’s statistically compatible with.
Peter Backus is a final-year PhD student in the University of Warwick’s Department of Economics. He is also a Senior Research Officer at the Third Sector Research Centre. Peter's current research includes issues surrounding charitable giving for overseas development, tax-incentives for charitable giving in the US, and measuring the efficiency of third sector organisations. He has gained widespread acclaim for his paper entitled "Why I don't have a girlfriend?" which has been commented on in both The Metro and The Telegraph newspapers.
By Penelope Jenkins
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