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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: Take a look at a newspaper page listing stock market prices. You might think that each of the numbers from 1 to 9 would occur equally often among the first digits of all the listed prices. Instead, however, you're very likely to find that numbers starting with 1 come up more often than numbers starting with 2, numbers starting with 2 come up more often than numbers starting with 3, and so on. In fact, 1 comes up about 30 percent of the time - much greater than the expected 11 percent. At the other end, the digit 9 occurs only about 5 percent of the time. The earliest known report of this curious first-digit phenomenon was made by the astronomer and mathematician Simon Newcomb (1835-1909)...

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Logarithms, Data Analysis, Probability

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