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Probability

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 29 May 2008

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the strange mathematics of probability where heads or tails is a simple question with a far from simple answer.

Gambling may be as old as the hills but probability as a mathematical discipline is a relative youngster. Probability is the field of maths relating to random events and, although commonplace now, the idea that you can pluck a piece of maths from the tumbling of dice, the shuffling of cards or the odds in the local lottery is a relatively recent and powerful one. It may start with the toss of a coin but probability reaches into every area of the modern world, from the analysis of society to the decay of an atom.

With Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Colva Roney-Dougal, Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick

  • Further Reading

    F. N. David, Games, Gods and Gambling (Griffin, 1962)

    T. M. Porter, The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820-1900 (Princeton University Press, 1986)

    S. M. Stigler, The History of Statistics (Harvard University Press, 1986)

    J. Von Plato, Creating Modern Probability (Cambridge University Press, 1994)

    John Haigh, Taking Chances: Winning with Probability (Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (8 May 2003)

    Gerd Gigerenzer, Reckoning with Risk: Learning to Live with Uncertainty (Penguin Books Ltd; New Ed edition (24 April 2003)

    Frederick Mosteller, Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability With Solutions (Dover Publications Inc.; New Ed edition (1 Feb 1988)

    Ian Stewart, Taming the Infinite: The Story of Mathematics (Quercus, July 2008)

  • Feeling Lucky?

    Feeling Lucky?

  • Radio 4 Mathematics Collection

    Radio 4 Mathematics Collection

    Listen to more maths programmes

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