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What's Luck Got to Do with It? by Joseph Mazur

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Image CHAPTER 9 Image

A Truly Astonishing Result

The Weak Law of Large Numbers

When the game of dice breaks up,the loser, left dejected,rehearses every throw and sadly learns . . .—Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio

Mathematicians have frequent moments when they are struck by magnificence and beauty. For them, that beauty emerges from the elegance of nature’s web of connections: reality with theory, physics and nature with mathematical truth, mathematics with its own networks and meshes of certainties. Jacob Bernoulli had such a moment of discovery when he took Cardano’s ...

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