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  • Pitfalls and Paradoxes in the History of Probability Theory

    Fri, Apr 21, 2023 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Michael Shlesinger, Office of Naval Research

    Talk Title: Pitfalls and Paradoxes in the History of Probability Theory

    Abstract: From the throwing of bones, dice, choosing long or short sticks, or debating the risk of the smallpox vaccine, fascinating and sometimes puzzling questions have arisen to advance the field of probability. We discuss interesting personalities and their famous questions and paradoxes including Galileo and Newton's dice game, de Mere's Grand Scandal, the Pascal-Fermat letters, the St. Petersburg Paradox, Bernoulli's Monster, and Bertrand's Paradox. We discuss the discovery of limit theorems from DeMoivre who first arrived at the Gaussian to Poisson who studied the same process, but with a twist arrived instead at the Poisson distribution. Levy considered a self-similar random process to arrive at random variables with infinite moments with now connections to fractals.

    Biography: Dr. Michael Shlesinger received a B.S. in Math and Physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 1970 and PhD in Physics from the University of Rochester in 1976. He then worked at the La Jolla Institute, Georgia Tech, and the University of Maryland before joining the Office of Naval Research in 1983. He became Head of ONR's Physics Division in 1986 and a member of the Senior Executive Service in 1987. He switched to a Chief Scientist role in 1995 and received the Presidential Rank Award in 2004 and ONR's Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He has held the Kinnear Chair for Science at the USNA. One of his ONR responsibilities was the Division Director for Marine Corps programs. His ONR programs have focused on fields including Nonlinear Dynamics; Fractals; and Plasmonic Materials. He co-founded the Experimental Chaos Conference and received the APS Outstanding Referee Award. His work on random processes can be found in his 2021 mathematical autobiography "An Unbounded Experience in Random Walks with Applications."

    Host: Paul Bogdan

    Location: Hedco Neurosciences Building (HNB) - 100

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Estela Lopez

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