# Introduction

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

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.

## The propensity approach

Some people may find all the other interpretations and definitions of probability are somewhat unintuitive: surely the probability of something happening is not really a "degree of belief", but something objective about the world that would be the same even if there were no human (or alien) beings around to believe it?

## The frequency interpretation

The frequency interpretation of probability is fairly self explanatory, in that it defines a probability as a limiting frequency. If we throw a (fair) die often enough, then we will eventually find that each number comes up about a sixth of the total time. The longer we continue to throw the die, the nearer the result will come to the ideal value of 1/6 for each number. The probability of an event is then defined by the relative frequency, as the throws continue to an idealized infinity.

## What is Probability?

We use phrases like "the probability of this coin coming up heads is 1/2", and "the odds on Manchester United winning their match are 2 to 1", and "the chance of dying of cancer is 30%". But what do these numbers actually mean? There are fundamentally different views about this, which can lead to very different ideas about how to deal with uncertainty.

## The Premier League

The Premier League is the main English football league, with 20 teams each playing a home and away against each other team making, 38 matches for each team in a season, and 380 matches altogether.

## Why risk in the media?

No-one can be an expert in every subject. We may have left formal science teaching behind at school, or have continued through university. We may keep up to date by reading scientific periodicals and websites - or just wish we had the time to do so! But as news breaks of yet another scientific discovery, we all start with what the media have made of the story, and how they present it to us.

## Notes for Reviewers

This site is in an early stage of development, and we would welcome your comments on any aspect of the content and presentation. A few points you may wish to keep in mind: