STA 201F: Why Numbers Matter (Fall, 2012)

This course teaches Humanities students the importance of quantitative reasoning to many different areas. It explores a variety of applications to such diverse subjects as economics, gambling, politics, poetry, graphics, music, medicine, demographics, sports, secret codes, and more, using only basic high school level mathematics combined with logical thinking.

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, Department of Statistics, University of Toronto. Sidney Smith Hall, room 5016B; phone 416-978-4594;; 'jeff' at ''

Time: Mondays 1:10 - 3:00 and Wednesdays 1:10 - 2:00. First class Sept 10. Last class Dec 5. No class Oct 8 (Thanksgiving) nor Nov 12 (Fall Break). Final exam 9:00 a.m. on Mon Dec 17.

Location: Victoria College, room 215. (Building "VC" on campus map.)

Prerequisite: Enrolment in a Major or Specialist program in the Humanities (i.e., a program for which the majority of the required courses satisfy the Humanities distribution requirement, sometimes written as "DR=HUM").

Evaluation [tentative]:
12% iClicker class participation;
22% Term test #1 (on Oct 15 during class time in EX 320);
22% Term test #2 (on Nov 19 during class time in EX 320);
44% Final exam (on Mon Dec 17 at 9:00 a.m. in PB B150).

Note: Students should obtain an iClicker, available for purchase from the University of Toronto bookstore [unless they select the alternative grading option]. Then (later) they should register it.

Textbook: None. (Students wanting additional background reading could consult the instructor's somewhat-related book Struck by Lightning, but that is optional.) Also, the course instructor will post summary lecture notes on the course's Blackboard page, but they are not a substitute for attending and actively learning from the course lectures.

More Information: See the course's Blackboard web page.

This document is available at or permanently at