Probability Theory (Encyclopedia of Science)
Probability theory is a branch of mathematics concerned with determining the likelihood that a given event will occur. This likelihood is determined by dividing the number of selected events by the number of total events possible. For example, consider a single die (one of a pair of dice) with six faces. Each face contains a different number of dots: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. If you role the die in a completely random way, the probability of getting any one of the six faces (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6) is one out of six.
Probability theory originally grew out of problems encountered by seventeenth-century gamblers. It has since developed into one of the most respected and useful branches of mathematics with applications in many different industries. Perhaps what makes probability theory most valuable is that it can be used to determine the expected outcome in any situationrom the chances that a plane will crash to the probability that a person will win the lottery.
History of probability theory
Probability theory was originally inspired by gambling problems. The earliest work on the subject was performed by Italian mathematician and physicist Girolamo Cardano (1501576). In his manual Liber de Ludo Aleae, Cardano discusses many of the basic concepts of probability complete with a systematic analysis of gambling problems. Unfortunately, Cardano's work...
(The entire section is 952 words.)
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