Preface

This book was begun when two of the authors decided that their

collaboration on their introductory probability book was both pro-

ductive and fun. We cast about to find some other project on which

we could continue this collaboration. At the same time, all three

of the authors were working on Chance News, which is an ongoing

website containing reviews of news and journal articles pertaining to

probability and statistics in the real world. It was decided that we

should try to write a book in which we would take some of our favorite

articles in Chance News and revise and expand them.

The result is not exactly what was originally planned. Instead

of having many short chapters on a variety of subjects, the present

book consists of four chapters in which we go into some depth on the

covered topics. In fact, it is this depth that we think makes this book

different than other books that cover applications of probability and

statistics to the real world.

In the first two chapters, we use some ideas from calculus. Much

of the more technical mathematics has been placed in appendices so

as not to break the flow of the chapters. We think that even if a

reader has not studied calculus, he or she will be able to read and

understand most of the material in these chapters. In particular, one

vii