Ollie & Quentin Book

Ollie & Quentin Book
125 pages in full colour!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What are the chances?

On October 9, 1972, the mathematician Dr Jeffrey Hamilton from Warwick University wanted to show his students the effect of chance by tossing a coin. Taking a 2p coin out of his pocket, he tossed it, then watched as it hit the floor, spun round and came to rest on its edge. Dozens of students witnessed the amazing event, and after a stunned silence they all broke into wild applause. As well they might, for you don't need to be a distinguished Cambridge mathematician to postulate that none of them will see such an event again.

(In the 1993 European Journal of Physics Sir Hermann Bondi arrived at a formula which predicts that the chances of a coin landing on its edge is less than 1 in 2000).

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