What are rare events? Why do they seem to occur so frequently? Join Emeritus Professor Louis Chen (Department of Mathematics, Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, NUS) in this talk, where he will give examples of rare events associated with catastrophes, lotteries, coincidences, and questions about the existence of extraterrestrial life. He will show that the paradoxically frequent occurrence of rare events can be explained by using the “law of small numbers”.
Rare events also occur in the number system. For example, one can find Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in the number system. He will relate the decimal expansion of the number π (pi) to coin tossing and use it to explain the occurrences of rare events in the number system.