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Articles on Randomness

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A mathematical approach known as ‘true score theory’ can assess the contribution of luck to a team’s overall success. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The luck of the puck in the Stanley Cup – why chance plays such a big role in hockey

With low-scoring games and a preponderance of deflected shots, randomness is much more likely to color NHL teams’ records than those of squads in the other four major US pro sports leagues.
The risk of dying from COVID-19 varies from person to person. Jasmin Merdan/Moment via Getty Images

If 1% of COVID-19 cases result in death, does that mean you have a 1% chance of dying if you catch it? A mathematician explains the difference between a population statistic and your personal risk

It’s not entirely accurate to say that you’re more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane crash. Chances are, you’re not the average person.
Tiny changes, like a butterfly’s wing flapping, can be amplified downstream in a chaotic system. Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment via Getty Images

What is chaos? A complex systems scientist explains

Part of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for work modeling Earth’s climate using its chaotic, complex weather. To scientists, chaos lies in the gray zone between randomness and predictability.

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