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Why Learn about Probability and Statistics?

Date: 04/17/2002 at 00:31:30
From: Brianna Reichelt
Subject: Probability

Why is probability so important to learn? When will we use it in the 
real world?

- Brianna

Date: 04/17/2002 at 09:31:52
From: Doctor Mitteldorf
Subject: Re: Probability

Dear Brianna,

It's one way to think about your world and the decisions you make 
every day. In living our lives, we're always taking on risks and 
exposing ourselves to dangers. We're trying things which we think will 
probably succeed, but we're not sure. Probability theory gives you one 
way to think about these decisions and may help you take control of 

You might enjoy reading the Dr. Math FAQ article on

   Probability in the Real World 

In professional life, more people use statistics than any other branch 
of mathematics. Experimental scientists use statistics every time they 
report their results, to give an indication of the accuracy of their 
measurements and the likelihood they may be wrong. Medical researchers 
use statistics to establish the likelihood that a drug or treatment 
will be effective. Social scientists use statistics to generalize 
about people's behavior, and marketers and political surveyers put the 
same kind of study to practical use for the benefit their clients.  
Insurance companies have a business plan that is entirely based on 
their understanding of statistical probabilities; if you think about 
it, banks are doing the same thing with their lending, but at risk 
levels that they hope are much lower. Every manufacturing company 
applies statistical techniques to quality control and customer 
satisfaction. The list goes on and on...

- Doctors Mitteldorf and Sarah, The Math Forum 
Associated Topics:
High School Probability
High School Statistics
Middle School Probability
Middle School Statistics

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