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Chance and Coincidence

University of Leicester (04/02/2010) and Manchester Metropolitan University (23/02/2011).

How striking are astonishing coincidences? We see that often people are blown away by events that are not that unexpected, or that we even should be expecting to happen. We look at human understanding of large numbers and the effect this has on coincidental events. We look at the way people view coincidences and what this can tell us about predicting the future. We examine the ability of people to draw patterns and derive coincidence from meaningless data, and what effect this has on drawing conclusions from statistical analysis. We look at how people judge random events and how this can help in detecting fraud. Finally, we look at an area of great coincidence - winning the lottery. Using a small lottery machine, we will create a bespoke lottery for this audience with fabulous prizes to be won (in chocolate form); but you make the rules to decide how many people win!

I have given this talk at the University of Leicester (04/02/2010) and Manchester Metropolitan University (23/02/2011).