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probability

  • Iowa tornado

    Why Everyone Thinks They’re Safer Than Average

    It’s an odd quirk of the human mind that we tend to think we’re less likely to be affected a particular threat—be it the flu, a car accident, or a flood—than anyone else. Like the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, this is a patent impossibility: Everyone can’t be […]

  • Gerovitch_HERO

    The Man Who Invented Modern Probability

    Chance encounters in the life of Andrei Kolmogorov.

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    The Best Evidence for Dark Matter & the Uncertainty Therein

      If I told you that I was 99.81 percent certain I had made a big discovery, you might suggest it was time to break out the champagne. If I said the discovery resolved one of the biggest outstanding problems in science and would probably let me punch a ticket to Stockholm to pick up […]

  • Butterfly wing

    Organized Chaos Makes the Beauty of a Butterfly

    Take a look at a butterfly’s wing, and you can learn a lesson about life. Not that it’s beautiful, or fragile, or too easily appreciated only when it’s fading—though all that is true, and evident in a wing. Look very close, at the edge of a pattern, where one color turns to another. The demarcation […]

  • Schrödinger’s Cat

    Why Every Coin Flip May Be a Schrödinger’s Cat

    During a recent conference on cosmic frontiers, University of California, Davis, professor Andreas Albrecht made a provocative statement: “Every Brownian motion is a Schrödinger’s Cat.” Technically, it was part of a broader talk on implications for a multiverse contained in various models of inflation in the early universe—based in turn on a recent technical paper. But Albrecht’s colorful […]