Friday, 11 February 2011

Chances Are???

Lovely Math Stories...

 What are the odds..... In 1948, the mathematician Warren Weaver, writing in The Scientific Monthly, suggested that the chance of a fair coin landing on its edge when tossed was about 1/109
But...just came across this story in my notes from someone I don't know named Robert Matthews who apparently knows the professor in question:

On October 9, 1972, the mathematician Dr Jeffrey Hamilton from Warwick University wanted to show his students the effect of chance by tossing a coin. Taking a 2p coin out of his pocket, he tossed it, then watched as it hit the floor, spun round and came to rest on its edge.
Prof Hamilton tells me that dozens of students witnessed the amazing event, and after a stunned silence they all broke into wild applause. As well they might, for you don't need to be a distinguished Cambridge mathematician to postulate that none of them will see such an event again.
  As I tell my stats kids, unusual things happen all the time, they just aren't going to happen to YOU!.... usually
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