Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Professor Sameh Morcos, Emeritus Professor of Diagnostic Imaging, Sheffield

I left Egypt my country of birth in the summer of 1973 , a time that was extremely difficult for professionals to leave Egypt. I had several coincidences that facilitated obtaining the relevant documents and permission to leave the country.

Same town, same road, same house

In 1950, I moved with my parents from 5 Lena Avenue, Monkseaton, Northumberland, to live in Southern England. At a conference in Oxford in 2014 for those affected by obstructive sleep apnœa syndrome (OSAS), I recognised another attendee's Geordie accent. The number of attendees was about 300, with a fair number of partners and friends as well as those diagnosed with OSAS. An investigatory conversation revealed that we had both lived in Monkseaton, and in Lena Avenue. My further questioning revealed my collocutor had also lived at number 5.

Mother, wife, daughter birthdays

The end of April is an expensive time for me: my mother's birthday is on the 28th, my wife's is on the 29th and my daughter's birthday is on the 30th.

Sisters to the Power of Cubed

One of three sisters, who came to live in a house on Three Sisters Road, Long Island, became the mother of three girls.


The biggest coincidence I have experienced occurred when I was about 16 or 17 years of age. I am now 73. On the evening that it occurred a teenage friend of mine and I planned to go out together, and we visited his sister’s house for the purpose, as I recall it, of enabling him to have a bath. While I was waiting for my friend I sat down in the lounge of his sister’s house and. to while the time away, began flicking through a publication that I think was entitled ‘A Pictorial History of the Second World War’* or something similar.

Multiple choice

I used to play golf with a chap called Dave whose long term partner's name was Carol. Dave's sister was also called Carol and her husband's name was David, whilst Carol's brother's name was David and he was married to a Carol too. MY David and Carol had two children and continued the family tradition by naming them Carol and David. I've lost contact with him now but last time I saw him the two teenagers were respectively engaged to a David and going out with a Carol. Family gatherings must have been very confusing.

Peter and Joan.

Whilst on Madeira in1994 we with four others went on a Jeep Safari. One of the other couples were PETER and JOAN from Clitheroe in Lancashire. Joan worked at a doctors surgery. We got quite friendly with them. Fast forward to 2007. We are on holiday in Scotland and arrive in Oban from Mull looking for accommodation at the Tourist Information Office. They direct us to a guesthouse further inland which has only that week started taking visitors. That night we decide to dine in. At dinner we meet the only other guests a couple who are staying just the one night.

Dr David James

I was standing outside a sweet shop when 'The Candyman' song from Willy Wonka (perhaps not unnaturally) popped into my head. Walking into a shop five minutes down the road the same song was being played over the tannoy.

Sibling/friend search

At approximately 2pm 06-23-17, I began searching the internet for some old family friends of ours that used to live next door to us. Their family consisted of mom, dad and two daughters. My brother, who is 10 yrs older than I, was friends with the 2 daughters. Their father helped me get a job at a local store around the age of 17. I am now 40 and my brother is 50. My brother now lives about 500 miles north of me. We see each other about once or twice a year and are not super close. My brother moved out of the house between 18 to 20 yrs old.

Same Two Songs.

Alright so this might not be as amazing as I think it is but here we go. Many years ago, around 2012-2015 all I listened to was this beautiful but sad Pandora station that played piano music. I usually let it play in the background of what I was doing but for some reason whenever this one song would come on I'd always take a look to see where this beautiful music came from and the album cover was always from the movie "Amélie". I had never heard of this movie nor did I ever pay attention to the name of the piece but I promised myself that I'd one day watch this movie.