Cambridge Coincidences Collection

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

https://understandinguncertainty.org 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!

Two Honeymoon Nights

We have lived in London for over twenty-five years and for a fair part of that time have had lovely neighbours but one - Max and Kate. We have often met at parties and just passing in the street as well as sharing some dinner parties over the years. They came to us for supper one night recently and something started us talking about getting married and our honeymoons. We told them about our simple marriage and our reception for friends in our large flat in Edinburgh. We noted that we travelled north that day to Nairn for our honeymoon night and to stay in a lovely hotel in the town owned and run by dear friends of ours. They immediately said - "that's a coincidence our honeymoon was in Nairn too". We said where and they said - "it was a lovely hotel slightly quirky and beautifully decorated with a host with a kilt", Kate had read about it in a magazine and thought it would be a lovely place to stay - she couldn't remember its name however, but I could immediately tell her that it was the Clifton Hotel run by our good friend Gordon McIntyre with his lovely wife, Muriel, a potter.

An antique sideboard in two places and a young asian girl

We were living in Edinburgh and this moment in time was probably around July 1988 or 1989 but we can't be sure. We had a big flat and usually had a lodger to help defray costs. One autumn a young dental student came to stay, she was doing a PhD at Edinburgh University Dental School. She was very studious and no trouble, usually having an evening meal or snack and then retiring to her room to study. She was always fascinated by a large carved wooden sideboard which stood in our living room, she often referred to it. It was carved by my great grandfather who was a cabinet maker. We had inherited it from my parents when my grandmother had died and they sold her house, we had a lot of furniture from her in an attempt to fill this enormous flat. The sideboard was (actually is, as we still have it) rather medieval in character with carved men in three places and carved door panels, but we think she thought it looked more asian in character. She was called Aisha and when she graduated her mother came up for the ceremony and of course was welcomed to stay as well. We gave them dinner one night and started to talk about their past.

Opticians weird coincidence

Just been inspired by your 'Tails you win' on BBC four so thought I'd share this recent visit to an opticians here in Lancaster. I've had some weird coincidences in Lancaster not least the random mobile phone number I received which includes the area code of Lancaster randomly given to me 3 years ago, my 11 digit number is 07757 015246, the local code is 01524 but this localised coincidence continues. On Monday the 14th March 2022 I had a rare day off and wondered what to do with it. After dropping my children of at school, I went into town, ( This itself is rare as I normally take my dog for his daily exercise, but on this day I had to drop my wife at her work so had taken the dog out earlier that morning). After wondering around looking for something to do I went past this old optician's called Taylors, which itself is rare as I have no business in this part of town. I've lived in Lancaster for 20 years and thought ' I can't believe I've never been in this shop at all and I do need some varifocals for reading as I've been having some problems and so I thought why not?

St. Joseph's Day

One morning when we were ten-and-a-half my cousin Billly appeared at the schoolyard fence at St. Ann's during recess. "Let's go!" he said, "It's St. Joseph's Day!" He was playing hooky from his public school nearby. Hooky seemed justified, and off we went down Dale Avenue. He stopped us in front of the Post Office: "Look at this! I got them from a big kid!" Out came two cigarettes and some matches. Just as we were about to strike the matches, my mother's cousin Tommy Parisi happened by. "What are you kids up to?" We proudly held up the cigarettes. Tommy was about sixteen, and we had visited his pigeon-coop and homing-pigeons two or three times. "You kids know about cancer, right?" In fact, the word was foreign to us. "When you smoke, cancer grows in your throat, thick heavy yellow fuzz, and you die. Better throw those away." We went over to the storm drain in the street and did just that. It was a lucky coincidence that Tommy would arrive just then, with such knowledge in 1951. A religious person might say that St.

Two weird coincidences

I traveled on holiday to Swanage in Dorset, Uk, from Essex, Uk to stay at a guest house with friends from London. At the end of our stay we were writing in the guest comments book. The owner noticed that i lived in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, their daughter lived there. My phone number was 775862, and their daughter 775863

Travels meeting

I traveled to Barbados to watch an England cricket test match in march 1981, i was paired with a complete stranger (Nick Edwards) to keep the hotel costs down. In July 1981 i holidayed in the south of France with a friend. We played cards in the evenings with the people in the adjacent tent. They mentioned my sun tan and i told them the Barbados story. They said, 'that's funny' the barman at our local pub in Hertfordshire was in Barbados...Nick Edwards!

Lotto

A couple days ago I was waiting for my shower to get hot, it suddenly just flew into my brain to go onto a the NY lottery website and see what the next jackpot was, I don’t play often and I almost never go on their website. While on there I read a story of a local man who won a 10 million dollar scratch off again (he had one in 2019). I realized I forgot something upstairs, as I went upstairs I walked by the tv and a news story started about the man who won two scratch offs, startled by this coincidence I took note of the time, it was 7:21am. Feeling lucky I played the lotto and used 7 and 21 for two of my six numbers (the others I just pulled from other meaningful numbers in my life). When the numbers for this drawing came out, I got two of the six numbers, they were, you guessed it, 7 and 21

Career and dates

I left my previous job that I hated on 8/31/2020 and changed my career to real estate. Exactly a year later on 8/31/2021 I closed my first deal and received my first commission. I started working 3/1/2021 and on 3/1/2022, after not receiving a check for two months, I closed a deal and got paid. Too big of a coincidence for me. Also, I always always see the numbers, 34, 43 and 1234. Like multiple times a day. I don’t know know what it all means!!

'Sudden blow/attack'

24/02/2022 Earlier this year I bought a small desk calendar that lists an old-fashioned Bulgarian word for each day of the year. When I woke up today, I did the usual and flipped the calendar to find out what the word of today was. The word happened to be "ustrel" which in Bulgarian means 'a sudden blow' or a 'sudden attack'. A few minutes later I switched on the news, only to find out that 'a sudden attack' was the word of the day FOR REAL - the Russians had just began their invasion of Ukraine. I felt speechless. I wished the word of the day - both on my calendar and in the real world - were different.

Sisters' synchronous ladybirds

On the 13th February my older daughter (London, UK) posted a photo on the family WhatsApp of a ladybird sat squarely on the lock to her first floor flat 'Look at this little guy trying to break in'. Her sister, in Reading, about 36 miles away, was just going out and replied 'OMG what are the chances of that' with a photo of a ladybird on the front door to her flat (two flights up).

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