Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

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9780143038344: Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

We search for certainty, but find only likelihood. All things are possible, only one thing actually happens; everything else is in the realm of probability. The twin disciplines of probability and statistics underpin every modern science and sketch the shape of all purposeful group activity— politics, economics, medicine, law, sports—giving humans a handle on the essential uncertainty of their existence. Yet while we are all aware of the hard facts, most of us still refuse to take account of probability—preferring to drive, not fly; buying into market blips; smoking cigarettes; denying we will ever age.

There are some people, though—gamblers, risk buyers, forensic experts, doctors, strategists— who find probability’s mass of incomplete uncertainties delightful and revelatory. Chances Are is their story. Combining philosophical and historical background with portraits of the men and women who command the forces of probability, this engaging, wide-ranging, and clearly written volume will be welcomed not only by the proven audiences for popular books like E=MC2 and The Golden Ratio but by anyone interested in the workings of fate.

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Review:

A fascinating layman's trek... stimulating conclusions. -- The New Yorker, April 3, 2006

A great subject. Exhilarating ... the authors choose their examples cleverly and explain them through arresting metaphors. -- The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, March 31, 2006

An enjoyable and revealing read aimed at the general reader. Its surprising and ironic conclusions make it anything but predictable. -- Science a gogo.com, April 2006

An enjoyable treat... entertaining stories. Kaplan and Kaplan write as intriguingly as their inveigling topic. -- Booklist, March 2006

Never before has statistics been treated with such awe and devotion. -- Publisher's Weekly, March 27, 2006

About the Author:

Michael Kaplan studied European history at Harvard and Oxford. After a stint as producer/director at WGBH, he has been an award-winning writer and filmmaker working abroad for clients including governments, corporations, museums, and charities.
Ellen Kaplan trained as a classical archaeologist and has taught math, biology, Greek, Latin, and history. She and her husband, Robert, run the Math Circle, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to joyous participatory learning, and are the authors of The Art of the Infinite.

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 198 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanity s struggle against randomness Our lives are played out in the arena of chance. However little we recognize it in our day-to-day existence, we are always riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settlingreluctantlyfor likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. Chances Are is the story of man s millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictableto help us prevent, or at least mitigate, the seemingly random blows of disaster, disease, and injustice. In these pages, we meet the brilliant individuals who developed the first abstract formulations of probability, as well as the intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applicationsfrom gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143038344

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 198 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanity s struggle against randomness Our lives are played out in the arena of chance. However little we recognize it in our day-to-day existence, we are always riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settlingreluctantlyfor likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. Chances Are is the story of man s millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictableto help us prevent, or at least mitigate, the seemingly random blows of disaster, disease, and injustice. In these pages, we meet the brilliant individuals who developed the first abstract formulations of probability, as well as the intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applicationsfrom gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143038344

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc. Paperback / softback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Chances Are: Adventures in Probability, Ellen Kaplan, Robert Kaplan, A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanityas struggle against randomness Our lives are played out in the arena of chance. However little we recognize it in our day-to-day existence, we are always riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settlingareluctantlyafor likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. "Chances Are" is the story of manas millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictableato help us prevent, or at least mitigate, the seemingly random blows of disaster, disease, and injustice. In these pages, we meet the brilliant individuals who developed the first abstract formulations of probability, as well as the intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applicationsafrom gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality. Bookseller Inventory # B9780143038344

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