Cambridge Coincidences Collection

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Broken arms

My daughter recently fractured her right wrist, age 10 whilst rollerskating around the outside of our house in SW London. Once we got her treated and she was fine, I thought it was a strange coincidence that I also fractured my right wrist, age 10 whilst rollerskating around the outside of my friend's house in Cornwall. How likely was this?

Article on Coincidence

I'm a junior in high school planning to study biology with a focus on genetics. I've been considering applying to University of Michigan next summer. I've been thinking about coincidence lately and found an Atlantic article (which led me to this website). The article says this "I went to a summer program at Michigan State University, a nerd camp where you take classes like genetics for fun". I know they're different schools but I think the proximity of words in an article about coincidence is to on the nose to ignore.


I've worked at an ice cream shop all summer. A few weeks ago my sister went on vacation to Virginia Beach for five days. While she was on trip we got a new flavor: peach sorbet. My sister like peaches, sure, but not more than the next person and it's especially not something I would usually think to get her. However, when I saw it I thought "my sister would really like this flavor, I should get her some". On the day she was coming back I went into work and grabbed her a pint. We were sitting in the kitchen eating the sorbet and told me how on Saturday (when we had gotten the flavor) she had been craving peaches. We hadn't talked since she got back from the trip.

Grandparents have almost identical phone numbers

Growing up, my Mother's parents' had the same phone number for many, many years, before I was ever born. It was 964-4376. When I turned age 9, my Fathers' parents moved into a new house, and they called to tell us their new phone number was 964-4367. Just amazing!


I was looking at an display of teapots in a museum while on holiday in the UK and there was one from the early 1800s that had my full name painted on it.

Co-worker and I have i cats with identical appearance and both named the same

Co-worker posted a photo of their cat, i saw it and thought it was my cat since she looks identical to mine. I asked what the name of her cat was, it's the same unusual name that I gave my cat. Both of our cats are called "Turtle".

Lost and Found Glasses

When I was in college around age 21, I was on a week-long backpack in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona (USA). Our group had flown in from New Jersey for spring break. On the fifth day, I noticed that my glasses were missing. They were bright-red, thick-rimmed prescription glasses that I LOVED because they were so unique and I'd never seen anyone else with glasses that looked similar. They really felt like a part of my personality. I'd noticed they were gone and realized they'd likely fallen out of my backpack the night before when I was getting ready for bed, so they were at least 8 miles back from where we were at that point. Other than walking an extra 16 miles, there was no other way for me to get back to that point to look for them, so while I was pretty bummed, I figured they were a sacrifice to the mountain spirits and kept it moving. We got back into Flagstaff a few days later and had some time until our flights back to NJ left the next day, so a few of us went to a thrift store near our hostel. We browsed for a bit in a BIG thrift store, and as we were about done, I saw a basket of old glasses.

Former teacher

I had a music teacher from kindergarten to 5th grade named Mrs. Mann. I didn't see her again or think of her for years, until one day in about 11th grade, my friend and I were walking in our hometown (same town as where our school had been). I see a car drive past us and can only see the silhouttes of the two people in the front seat, but notice the passenger's curly hair - that's it. I had not seen Mrs. Mann in 6 years, but jokingly pointed and said, "Hey, that looks like Mrs. Mann from the back!" and incredibly, as we walked closer we realized it was her. We both cracked up/freaked out.

Same song

Once my dad and I were driving in the car together. I was kind of ignoring him, listening to music on my earphones, when Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend came on. I slowly pulled out my earbuds because I realized that his phone, hooked up to the car, was playing the same song. We both have >1000 songs in our music libraries, and our music tastes have always been quite different.

Estranged aunt; uncle's friend

My mom and her four siblings grew up in northern Pennsylvania. My uncle married a European woman whom I saw regularly throughout my childhood and grew close to (2000–2011). They lived in Ohio, but divorced in about 2011, and sadly I didn't get to see her at family gatherings anymore, although we exchanged a few texts a year. In May 2015 after I finished my freshman year of college in North Carolina, my dad and I decided to take a trip to the Florida Keys for my first scuba diving trip. We unpacked at the hotel, spent a day exploring the area, and on the second day went to a pretty small, random scuba shop where we had booked our reservation. Who did I see there but my aunt!? This was lovely because I don't know when I would have seen her again otherwise - and we have not met in person since. I will repeat some of the above details for a second coincidence that happened a year earlier. That same uncle has a friend and 20-year business partner from Australia whose son happened to be going to the same school in North Carolina that I was about to start attending in fall 2014.