SCI 199Y, L0412: PROBABILITY AND UNCERTAINTY (2005-6)
This class will examine both the meaning and the mathematics of
probabilities in everyday life. Specific topics may include margins of
error in polls, the interpretation of medical studies, long run averages
in casinos, games involving dice and cards, the nature of coincidences,
the use of utility functions to make decisions, and how mathematics is
best taught and best learned.
Professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal,
Department of Statistics, University of Toronto.
Sidney Smith Hall, room 6024; phone (416) 978-4594;
Time: Wednesdays, 2-4. First class Sept 14. Last
class of first semester Dec 7. First class of second semester Jan 11.
Last class April 12. No class Feb 22 (Reading Week).
Place: Sidney Smith Hall, room 2129.
Struck by Lightning:
The Curious World of Probabilities (HarperCollins Canada, 2005),
available from the U of T Bookstore or from e.g. amazon.ca.
(This book will provide a starting point for our discussions, but we
will also probe more deeply into some of the topics.)
- 40% for Class Attendance and Participation
- 20% for Minor Paper (due December 8, with preliminary info
due Nov 18 and 23)
- 40% for Major Paper (due in March/April; details to be announced)
- Classes will involve a combination of presentations from the
instructor, student cooperative work in small groups, and whole-class
- To obtain class participation points, students are expected to
punctually attend class each week, to
enthusiastically participate in discussions and activities during
class time, and to conscientiously keep up with readings and other
(small) weekly assignments. In particular, it is crucial to have
excellent attendance, and to
speak up often and
listen carefully to others during whole-class
- The Minor Paper will be 5-10 pages (typed double spaced), and the Major
Paper will be 10-20 pages (typed double spaced). You will have considerable
flexibility in the choice of topic. Details will be discussed later.
For assistance with writing essays, see the resources on the web page
Writing at the University of
See also the First-Year
This document is available at http://probability.ca/jeff/teaching/0506/sci199/