14 February, 2024

Theory of Knowledge - Mathematics and Love

Theory of Knowledge - Mathematics and Love-Maths and Love-Theory of Knowledge Mathematics

Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is one of the core subjects in the IB Diploma Programme. It challenges students to question ‘how to we know what we know, and how can we prove it?’

Understanding knowledge
Our ToK students spent a day diving deeper into how we can use maths to promote diversity, inclusion, and equality. And one of their challenges involved looking at how we can use maths to help us find, and maintain, romantic love and relationships.


Calculated love
After watching a TED talk by Dr Hannah Fry ‘The Mathematics of Love’, our students were each given a discussion point to consider further. The students had each chosen one of the 10 IB ‘learner profiles’ to focus on during the day. These profiles are:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective 

Two students might therefore consider the same question, but with a different perspective.


Mathematical dating patterns
Dr Fry accepts, after delivering some rather damning calculations on our chances of meeting the ideal match, that “love doesn’t really work like that.” However, “love, as with most of life, is full of patterns and mathematics is, ultimately, all about the study of patterns.” Looking at patters, our ToK students were introduced to three mathematically calculable ‘Top Tips’ for love: 

  • How to win at online dating
  • How to pick the perfect partner
  • How to avoid divorce


Diving deeper
Taking key points from the TED talk, students were asked to dive deeper into some of the concepts, from the ‘rule’ that says our best hope of love is to stop our search for true love at the 37% mark, that being less attractive makes us more popular on online dating sites, and that we can even apply maths to conflict in relationships to help us avoid divorce.


Thinking for success
The idea of using mathematics to calculate our love lives is not something most of us will have considered, and for many teens love is a subject at the forefront of their minds. Discussions like this help our DP students become the kind of critical thinkers that universities and employers recognise and value. This is one of the key reasons LCIS chose the International Baccalaureate for our higher education curriculum. Find out more about the International Baccalaureate at LCIS here.