Meeting on a plane

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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.

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I was due to fly from Los Angeles to UK but the flight was cancelled and I was rerouted on a flight via Chicago, where I'd have to have a stop-over. After take-off, someone asked if I would change seats so they could sit with a partner, and I moved to an aisle seat. I looked across the aisle, and saw a man reading a chapter in a book I knew on a very specialised academic topic that I have published on. There's probably about ten people in the world really interested in this stuff. Emboldened by free alcohol I introduced myself (can't remember how!). He turned out to be someone I'd corresponded with but never met, based in Chicago. It would have been a coincidence anyhow, but seemed all the more amazing since I shouldn't have been on that plane, and should have been in another seat. He was great : we spent hours talking, and he and his wife ended up putting me up overnight.
Total votes: 1592
Date submitted:Thu, 12 Jan 2012 17:53:11 +0000Coincidence ID:3258