American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

The Levin Lecture Series
Department of Biostatistics Colloquium
Columbia University



Prakash Gorroochurn, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics
Columbia University


I will present some of the problems from my book "Classic Problems of Probability.” The problems in the book can broadly be classified into three categories: historical, decision-theoretic, and recreational. In the historical section, I will discuss the pioneering works of Cardano, Pascal and Fermat, Jacob Bernoulli, and Bayes. The decision-theoretic problems discussed will include Pascal's Wager (which is an argument for belief in God), Kraitchick's neckties, and Newcomb's paradox. Finally, I will briefly review some of the recreational problems, namely Pepys-Newton, Buffon's needle, Bertrand's chords, Lewis Carroll's pillow problem 72, Monty-Hall, and Parrondo's paradox.

Biographical Note

Prakash Gorroochurn, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University, where he is also a statistical consultant in the School of Social Work. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematical Population Genetics from Monash University, Australia, in 1999. He is Associate Editor of the journal BMC Genetics. Dr. Gorroochurn's main areas of research interest include mathematical population genetics, genetic epidemiology, and the history of probability and statistics.

Date: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Time: 3:30 - 4:30 P.M.
Location: Mailman School of Public Health
Department of Biostatistics
722 West 168th Street
Hess Commons
New York, New York


Informal tea at 3:15 P.M.

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