Port’n’Talks provide a unique opportunity for College students to hear from distinguished speakers on just about any topic. From Governors to business leaders, politicians to scientists, there is always an interesting topic to spark curiosity. Last night was no different when Dr Lewis Mitchell, an applied mathematician from the University of Adelaide, presented his recent research data using mathematics to better understand human nature and the world around us. Dr Mitchell fascinated the audience with his research into the mathematics of story-telling, how movies and books can be modelled with a curve representative of the happiness in the story. He then continued to provide an insight into how social media, particularly Twitter, can be analysed to show the apparent happiness and sadness in the populations of states in the USA and Australia (see: http://hedonometer.org/index.html). Dr Mitchell co-authored a study to analyse the most frequently used words across 10 different languages to confirm that humans do have a positivity bias and that the way we think is intrinsically positive.
~ Ryan Burley, talk coordinator and second year University of Adelaide student