Chances Are...: Adventures in Probability
Everything is possible, yet only one thing happens": this is the essence of probability, quantifying what could happen. Filmmaker Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan (coauthor of The Art of the Infinite ) trace probability back to its original conception in the 1660s (by a gambler, of course) and show how it affected not only science, which would be impossible without it, but also religion and philosophy. Many pioneers of the math that grew into statistics were trying to define the divine; the inventor of combinatorics, for example, was a medieval missionary seeking to convert Muslims by showing that any statement combining the qualities of God was true in the Christian faith. This book rigorously develops its math from first principles with a passion that would make even an amateur heady with the possibilities contained within a bell curve. The authors explore the promise of the math of probabilities through its most powerful modern applications, from determining the effectiveness of new drugs to weighing the merits of combat strategies. In all these cases, the authors place the study of probability firmly in the context of humanity's ongoing struggle to assign meaning to randomness. Never before has statistics been treated with such awe and devotion. (Mar. 27)
Corrections: Our review of The Body Brokers, by Annie Cheney (Reviews, Jan. 30) contained some errors. The American Association of Clinical Anatomists does not purchase body parts, and while Arthur Rathburn was fired from the University of Michigan, the school has instructed employees not to discuss why. And tissue used for transplantation is regulated by the FDA.
Our review of Tiger Force (Reviews, Feb 13) incorrectly identified the third author of the Toledo Blade 's newspaper series. His name is Joe Mahr.
Release date: 04/01/2006