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Math student researches global happiness

Date: 1/2/2018
Alon Albalak, right, discusses his research with a fellow student.

Alon Albalak is a senior mathematics student at Wayne State University, but his research isn’t something you would typically expect from a math major. Albalak’s research focuses on correlations between environmental factors and happiness on a global scale.

Albalak studied 133 different countries in his research and considered factors such as the amount of CO2 the country emits, the change in a country’s forest area and pesticide regulation. Data was taken from three sources and compared to the World Happiness Index using algorithms to find significant factors.
“The reason I wanted to do this research project was because if I could find high correlation between some of these factors and happiness, then maybe governments can be better convinced that it is important to make larger efforts to preserve the earth.”
Albalak presented his research at the 2017 Conference for Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects through Wayne State’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Although the study did not find a significant linear relationship between the environmental factors considered and happiness, Albalak says that does not mean there is no correlation. “The results suggest that there may be a non-linear relationship between these factors and happiness, but much more research will need to be done to confirm any relationships."
Written by Alexandra Leroux, Marketing and Communications Associate