A Swedish nuclear physicist has brought algorithms to an old-fashioned contraceptive method to make it high tech; Higgs Boson Scientist creates the Natural Cycles app, considered more effective than condoms.
Swedish nuclear physicist, Elina Berglund Schwerwitzl was keen to know how she could get away with having sex with her husband and still avoid pregnancy. Specifically, she was interested in a method that meant she wouldn’t need to use invasive contraceptive methods such as the pill or an IUD.
Consequently, the newly married Berglund Scherwitzl spent time researching different contraceptive methods. She discovered that the least invasive method, the Fertility Awareness Method, was fraught with pitfalls. Nevertheless, she set about bringing the involved techniques into the modern day for her own personal use.
The Fertility Awareness Method
Indeed, many people do utilize the Fertility Awareness Method with great success. But it entails a woman being aware, on a daily basis, of what state her body is in. She needs to take her temperature, check her cervical mucus and chart all the information on a calendar. Obviously, this takes a lot of commitment.
However, in the days leading up to ovulation, it is also possible to conceive. Furthermore, it ‘s hard to measure this window of time accurately. As a result, research revealed that Fertility Awareness Methods are only around 76% effective. Clearly, these methods were not very accurate for determining how many days in advance of ovulation that a couple should abstain or perform outercourse.
Berglund Scherwitzl sought to overcome this problem by developing a high-tech algorithm. Her expertise at dealing with data as a physicist enabled her to pinpoint with more accuracy than ever before in history when the pre-ovulation fertile period was occurring. She started using this algorithm in her own sex life and encouraged colleagues to try it too. Everyone who tried her high-tech rhythm method tool raved about its success.
Career change: physicist to fertility entrepreneur
Previously working in the CERN team that found the Higgs Boson, Berglund felt she needed a drastic career change from physics when that project reached its culmination. Her husband, physicist Raoul Scherwitzl had entrepreneurial ambitions, so the pair decided to create and market a smartphone app based on her algorithm. The couple called the app Natural Cycles.
There are many ovulation tracking apps on the market, and the competition is fierce. Therefore, Berglund Scherwitzl needed to make Natural Cycles stand out. While the app, and associated basal temperature digital thermometer, were released in 2014, Berglund Scherwitzl wished to give an assurance to customers that other apps didn’t provide.
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