April 6, 2012
The good professor shows how probabilities become counter-intuitive as soon as a modicum of complexity is introduced. We all know that the chance of guessing heads on a coin-flip is one-in-two, and it’s fairly straightforward to show the chance of scooping the National Lottery jackpot is just under one in 14m.
September 17, 2009
Spent far too much money in bookshops during a recent visit to Hay on Wye – but heroically avoided splashing out on a beautiful set of Pope’s translation of the Iliad (although at £450, temptation wasn’t that hard to resist).
But among the bargains I did snap up were Mario Livio’s The Equation that Couldn’t Be Solved, an account of the profound societal changes wrought by a special class of equation, called the quintic (containing fifth powers, as opposed to the quadratic, which contains squares). Read the rest of this entry »