Peter Backus , a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, ” Why I don’t have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK ,” used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK.

In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote “the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.”

Click Liverpool reported that Backus, 30, found that of the 30 million women in the UK, only 26 would be suitable girlfriends for him. His equation looked at the total number of women in the country, then narrowed it down using relevant factors including the number of women in London; the number of “age-appropriate” women (those aged between 24-34); women with a college degree; and those who Backus would find physically attractive.

In the paper Backus summarized that on a given night out in London there is a 0.0000034 percent chance of meeting a woman that meets his criteria and who is also interested in him. That makes his odds of finding a girlfriend only about 100 times better than finding an alien.

The Drake Equation was developed in 1961 by Dr. Frank Drake at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia. It reads N = R* x Fp x Ne x Fi x Fc x L, and helped predict that there could be 10,000 civilizations in our galaxy. The SETI Web site has more information about what each factor represents. Wikipedia also has an expansive entry about the equation.

Advertisements