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# Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers by Paul J. Nahin

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What are your chances of dying on your next flight, being called for jury duty, or winning the lottery? This collection contains twenty-one puzzles that challenges us to think creatively about the laws of probability as they apply in playful, sometimes deceptive, ways to a fascinating array of speculative situations.
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## Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers Summary

### Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers by Paul J. Nahin

What are your chances of dying on your next flight, being called for jury duty, or winning the lottery? We all encounter probability problems in our everyday lives. In this collection of twenty-one puzzles, Paul Nahin challenges us to think creatively about the laws of probability as they apply in playful, sometimes deceptive, ways to a fascinating array of speculative situations. Games of Russian roulette, problems involving the accumulation of insects on flypaper, and strategies for determining the odds of the underdog winning the World Series all reveal intriguing dimensions to the workings of probability. Over the years, Nahin, a veteran writer and teacher of the subject, has collected these and other favorite puzzles designed to instruct and entertain math enthusiasts of all backgrounds.If idiots A and B alternately take aim at each other with a six-shot revolver containing one bullet, what is the probability idiot A will win? What are the chances it will snow on your birthday in any given year? How can researchers use coin flipping and the laws of probability to obtain honest answers to embarrassing survey questions? The solutions are presented here in detail, and many contain a profound element of surprise. And some puzzles are beautiful illustrations of basic mathematical concepts: "The Blind Spider and the Fly," for example, is a clever variation of a "random walk" problem, and "Duelling Idiots" and "The Underdog and the World Series" are straightforward introductions to binomial distributions. Written in an informal way and containing a plethora of interesting historical material, "Duelling Idiots" is ideal for those who are fascinated by mathematics and the role it plays in everyday life and in our imaginations.

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## Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers Reviews

Nahin's sophisticated puzzles, and their accompanying explanations, have a far better than even chance of fascinating and preoccupying the mathematically literate readership they seek. Publisher's Weekly An entertaining, thought-provoking collection of twenty-one puzzles...These puzzles invite the reader to think intuitively, mathematically, and creatively about the laws of probability as they apply in lighthearted, often counterintuitive ways to a diverse collection of practical and speculative situations. Mathematics Teacher By following Nahin's informal style it is possible to set [the examples] up quickly from first principles and slip them into courses on calculus, algebra, or scientific programming. They also offer a wealth of topics for undergraduate projects. Those duelling idiots are fighting over a goldmine. -- Des Higham MSOR Connections

Paul J. Nahin is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches the undergraduate course in probability theory. His books include "An Imaginary Tale: The Story of the Square Root of Minus One"(Princeton), "Time Travel: A Writer's Guide to the Science of Plausible Time Travel", "The Science of Radio", "Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction", and "Oliver Heaviside: Sage in Solitude".

Acknowledgments ix Preface xi Introduction 3 The Problems 15 1. How to ask an Embarrassing question 15 2. When Idiots duel 16 3. Will the light Bulb glow? 22 4. Tho Underdog and the World Series 26 5. The Curious Case of the Snowy Birthdays 27 6. When Human Flesh Begins to Fail 34 7. Baseball Again, and Mortal Flesh Too 51 8. Ball Madness 56 9. Who Pays for the Coffee? 42 10. The Chess Champ versus the Gunslinger 45 11. A Different Slice of Probabilistic Pi 49 12. When Negativity is a No-No 50 15. The Power of Randomness 51 14. The Random Radio 52 15. An Inconceivable Difficulty 55 16. The Unsinkable Tub is Sinking! How to Find Her, Fast 57 17. A Walk in the Garden 58 18. Two Flies Stuck on a Piece of Flypaper--How Far Apart? 61 19.The Blind Spider and the Fly 62 20. Reliably Unreliable 68 21. When Theory Fails, There is always the Computer 71 The Solutions 81 Random Number Generators 176 "Some things Just Have to be Done By Hand!" 198 MATLAB Programs 202 Index 267 About the Author 271

GOR002795046
Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers by Paul J. Nahin
Paul J. Nahin
Princeton Puzzlers
Used - Very Good
Paperback
Princeton University Press
2002-07-01
296
0691102864
9780691102863
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.