Say it with science this Valentine's Day

From cosmetic chemistry to Victorian love poems, plus a secret mathematical surprise, the Ri has something for everyone to geek-out to on Valentine's Day.

Mathematics: the real language of love

If flowers aren't exactly your thing, why not try saying 'it' with… maths?

Just send your Valentine the following equation and tell them to copy and paste it into Google search:

5 + (-sqrt(1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2)) * cos(30*((1 – x^2 – (y-abs(x))^2))), x is from -1 to 1, y is from -1 to 1.5, z is from 1 to 6

Trust us!

Or simply try it for yourself.

We've got chemistry

Is that the smell of love in the air? No, it's the smell of bath bombs! Nothing says ‘we’ve got chemistry’ like home made bath bombs for your beloved. Their heart will fizz more vigorously than the reaction between citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and water.

Learn how to make your own with Jemma in the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre:

Victorian Valentine's poems

We have one final option for those of you who are classic romantics – poetry, inspired by a collection of Valentine’s poems from our archives, sent in jest to John Tyndall by one of his friends.

Tyndall was a brilliant physicist, glaciologist and mountaineer who made major waves in atmospheric physics, and thrilled his Victorian audiences in the Ri lecture theatre with demonstrations of his experiments.

A brilliant poet he was not, but the sketches really bring it to life.

  • John Tyndall Valentine poems handwritten with decorative sketches

    Two poems from our John Tyndall collection

    Credit: Royal Institution Archival Collection

Our favourite verse is:

‘In pretty strife, to start to life, my waking atoms stir. Their motions fine, to thee incline, my heart’s thermometer!’

These poems weren’t actually serious love notes, but a running joke between John Tyndall and his friends. If after all of this you’re still a ‘despiser of St Valentine’, this last one is for you:


"Go mourn for Venus' broken laws,
In brazen-throated Siren's jaws:
This only serande be thine,
Despiser of St Valentine."

Happy Valentine's Day!

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