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Probability Theory and Everyday Issues

Professor Burt Rodin

This talk tries to make the case that familiarity with probability theory can make life more interesting. The presentation will be descriptive rather than mathematical. We will examine the concept of probability theory by giving examples of everyday issues that are familiar, sometimes by different names. For example, we will discuss the law of large numbers, the St. Petersburg paradox, the gambler’s fallacy, coincidences (the birthday problem), updating of estimates (the Monty Hall game), the false positive paradox, the sleeping beauty problem, quantum mechanics, and many universes.

Instructor: Burt Rodin is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at UC San Diego. He received his PhD from UCLA. He was a faculty member at Harvard, University of Minnesota, and Stanford before becoming a professor at UCSD, where he served as chair of the Mathematics Department from 1977 to 1981. In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Coordinators: Jerry Kent

Course Number: OSHR-70015   Credit: 0 units

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