Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Same name, same street

When I was in primary school I went to a French, English bilingual school. Having a French father meant that I had been given the name Aurélia and the ability to speak French despite having lived in New Zealand for my whole life. In my whole lifetime, I have only ever met one other person name Aurélia, and she just so happened to go to the same school as me. We were in the same class, and after getting to know her I discovered that she lived in the same street as me. Quelle surprise!

Coincidence or Coincidence?

Coincidence or Coincidence??? • When I met him he was dating a girl named Christine, whom he called by the nickname Chris. • He dumped Chris to be with me. By the way, my nickname is Jenny and his name is Daniel. • Daniel’s mum’s name was also Jenny, whose husband was married to a woman named Christine before they got together. Daniel's grandmother was Jenny and her grandad was Frederick. My brother's name is Frederick. • Anyway, Daniel and I got together but 11 years later got separated because he hooked up with another woman named Kris, whose nickname is K.

Looking for a painting teacher

Four years ago I read 15 books about learning to paint. I was researching what type of painting I wanted to learn. I settled on a very obscure school of art called American impressionism invented by an almost unknown artist named Henry hensche who worked out of Massachusetts. After making my choice I lamented that since hensche was dead I'd never have a teacher for this method. I limped along with the book trying to teach myself. One Sunday I'm having a brunch at my house with 6 friends who knew I wanted to paint, but did not know any other detail.

Engagement Party Coat Check Coincidence

My partner and I were hosting an engagement party for close friends and family, a total of about 60 people had arrived. It was hosted at my partner's Aunt's house in Hamilton Ontario, and her teenage cousin was put to work and in charge of taking coats, and this was a pretty important task, since it was December and our guests were dressed accordingly. The party was a hit by the way. At the end of the night, I decided to go out for some post party drinks and words of advice with a couple of my friends from Ottawa.

Numbers

My father was born on October 1, 1970 My mother was born on November 1, 1970 I was born on August 1, 1990. I was born at 5:57 am, which is the same exact time that my mother was born and weighed 7 pounds 11 and a half ounces, which is exactly how much my father weighed when he was born. Strange.

I Saw You in Cork

In 1995, I was living in London but applying for jobs in Ireland with a view to moving home. I was born and raised in the northeast of the country, right on the border with Northern Ireland but the job I applied for was in Cork, three-and-a-half hours away in the southwest. I was called for interview and spent just part of a day there, as I flew in an out on the same day. I was on Patrick Street for maybe 15 minutes in total. I had kept all of this secret because I wanted to surprise my family.

Connections Across Generations

In 1989, I was a young teacher at a high school in Queens, NY, having recently arrived from Ireland where I'd been born and raised. About six months into my time there, I was hailed by one of the boys I taught and he said, 'Mr. O (for that's what they called me), my mom knows your mom.' I thought it unlikely but asked for his mother's maiden name and said I'd check with my mother the next time I was in touch with her.

Right Time and Right Place to Claim my Photo

When I graduated from university in Ireland in 1988, as well as the official photographer, there was a freelancer doing the rounds and offering a good deal so my family decided to get some additional shots with him. We paid him, gave him our details, got his card, and waited for the photos to arrive by post. When, after a considerable amount of time, they did not arrive, I called the number on the card and got no reply. I wrote to him (this was 1988, no email) and got no reply. Having tried unsuccessfully for months to contact him I chalked it up to experience and forgot about it.

Next Door Neighbours

In 1989 I was moving to NYC from rural Ireland to become a high school teacher. Just before I left I bumped into a cousin of mine in the nearby village. We chatted and, knowing I was going to NY, she said, in all seriousness, that maybe I would meet the cousin of her husband that lived in NYC. I sniggered internally at the absurdity of such a thing happening.

Eminent statisticians, 1924

This coincidence relates to two eminent statisticians (Peter Armitage and David Cox) who were born on the same day - 15th July 1924. Both were educated at Cambridge, both received British honours (CBE and Knighthood) and both were Presidents of the RSS (1982-84 and 1980-1982).

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