Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Every Unhappy Family Has Its Own Bilinear Influence Function," by David Glenn. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 April 2003.

This article discusses research presented in a new book, The Mathematics of Marriage: Dynamic Nonlinear Models, written by a psychologist and four mathematicians. The psychologist, John Gottman, has spent his career studying interactions between husbands and wives. In these studies, his so-called "Love Lab" was able to predict with 90 percent accuracy which couples would get divorced. After serendipitously coming upon a book on mathematical biology by the mathematician James Murray, Gottman began working with Murray and three other mathematicians to model marriage interactions mathematically. They were able to develop models that fit Gottman's data very well. As Gottman is quoted as saying in the article: "The mathematical model draws you to doing certain types of experiments that you wouldn't have thought of doing without the model."

--- Allyn Jackson