Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

Overview

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 settling—reluctantly—for 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 ...

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Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

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Overview

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 settling—reluctantly—for 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 unpredictable—to 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 applications—from gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
[Michael and Ellen Kaplan] have hit on a great subject, and they explore it, down through the centuries and across the globe, with an enthusiasm that borders on glee. . . . A dizzying, exhilarating ride. (William Grimes, The New York Times)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143038344
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 272,079
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet 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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