It’s an intense moment. You watch the lottery presenter press the button. A ball swiftly rolls out and its number rotates onto the screen. Sadly, it’s not the number you would have liked. What are the chances of that?
If you ever happen to get your hands on a scientific calculator, you’ll notice a smorgasbord of intriguing symbols and letters – ‘nPr’ and ‘nCr’ to name a couple. These functions calculate permutations and combinations respectively – useful if you wanted to calculate the probability of you winning the lottery (there are far more significant applications, of course.)
It’s Christmas, and you know what that means – gifts for everyone! My gift to all of you will be… the gift of knowledge!
You’re friends with someone (let’s call him Mr Smith) who has two children. You know that the older child is a girl. What’s the probability of the younger child also being a girl?
For many of us it will take quite a drive in order to escape the light pollution of urban metropolises… but the reward of being able to see the array of countless stars in the night sky is certainly worth the effort. Through experiences such as these we may find ourselves asking, where are all the aliens?