Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

off track schoolfriends

Derek I was in Dusseldorf visiting friends in 1996 when the airport burnt down, so rather than fly home I needed to get a train to Holland. Not speaking German, when I got onto the platform I migrated towards English voices. Coincidentally they happened to be 2 schoolfriends from 20 years previously, over on business. (approx 1500 pupils at the school, 300 per year group, 90 per 'county')

United States Air Force

My name is Robert Jamieson and I emigrated from Glasgow to the United States in 1957. I enlisted in the United States Air Force and by 1959 I had attained the rank of Airman Second Class. My parents sent me Scottish newspapers and I read in one of them that a Scot from Ayr had emigrated to the United States and had enlisted in the United States Air Force and was then serving at a USAF base in England and had married an English girl. His name was Robert Jamieson and his rank was Airman Second Class. The gist of the story was that he had crossed the Atlantic twice to meet his future wife.

CHANCE MEETING ?

In 1985 I took my granddaughter from Coventry to Liverpool for an audition. We sat by the Mersey wondering if we had time to cross on the ferry for this audition or would we have to go by the less inviting tunnel. A lady sitting by us said we had plenty of time to go on the ferry. We then found that she was visiting her fiance and actually lived in Coventry next to my granddaughters college and knew the principle very well. We confirmed this on our return.

I thought it was a joke!

I was a pro footballer for Rangers FC. In June 1980 I was sold to Brighton for £440k, I put my house on the market. After a couple of days I got a call from a gentleman with a very polite accent asking if he could come and see my house. He then said his nane was Brighton. I even asked him to spell it and then was firmly of the belief it was one of my Rangers teammates taking the mickey. He asked if he could come the next night to view the property.

Open by Christmas

I had been driving past a scrap of land for weeks in the city centre that had been flattened ready for some sort of development. I had always wondered what One day I found myself walking past and saw two isolated workmen - motionless, leaning on their spades. As I walked the remaining 100 yards or so along the path to the point closest to them, I became frustrated by the lack effort going into the project. It bothered me that I didn't know what the land was to be used for or when the building work would be completed and vowed to find out some how.

How I met my husband and family

At a party miles from home in totally unrelated circumstances got talking to a friend of a friend. Had been in same social group for a while but never really talked to one another. Somehow got talking about school and I asked where he went to school. "A long way from here, you wouldn't know it" he replied, insisting for no good reason that he told me the name it turned out we both went to the same school only four years apart.

I once met a professor of the public understanding of risk

A few years ago I went to a meeting in Cambridge. On the last evening I was dragged (willingly) to a talk about how J.S. Bach tuned his harpsichord. By some amazing coincidence I bumped into Prof. Spiegelhalter, who is now asking about coincidences. (in context this is more remarkable than it sounds, although not really much more)

Strange meeting

My Mum moved to Birmingham from Liverpool in 1943. In the early 1970s she went by bus from Birmingham to Rugeley to spend the day with my brother - the only time that she ever did this. When she got on the bus, she sat next to a lady and after awhile they started talking. The lady was on holiday in the area and noticed my Mum's accent. As the discussion went on, it turned out that although orginally from the midlands, she now lived in Liverpoool. In fact she lived in Aintree, next door to my Mum's sister!

Seats at Twickenham

We met some old friends in Leicester at a party and were very envious to hear they had tickets to a concert there when we hadn't managed to secure any. Anyway as part of our 40th birthday treats my husband promised to go on ebay and see if he could find any tickets being resold for the same day as their tickets. They gave him the number of the stand/block they were going to be in but not the actual seat details. We eventually found some tickets on ebay in the same stand and on the day, when we met up together, we realised we were actually sitting right next to them.

Have you listened to the radiolab story about the balloon?

The radiolab podcast (www.radiolab.org) had an episode called Stochasticity (I may have spelt that wrong) Had a story about a girl called Laura Buxton, who lived in Staffordshire, who let a balloon go with a note asking whoever found it to send it back to her. It was found by a girl the same age who was also called Laura Buxton. It's a great coincidence story - give it a listen if you're interested http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jun/15/ The main guy behind radiolab is on twitter: @jadabumrad if you want to get in touch with him

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