Random transcontinental student connections

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

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.

Years ago, I was a tutor at a residential college at the University of Sydney, where I had a small apartment. One summer afternoon I was having a nap, when the phone beside the bed rang. On the other end were two college students from Pittsburgh in the USA. They were having a BBQ, were a bit drunk, and decided to ring random international phone numbers. We had a chat, exchanged addresses, and sent each other postcards. A couple of years later a friend who was in the middle of his PhD research went to Pittsburgh. He was standing in the middle of the foyer of the university library wondering where to find the catalogue (all of this is before the internet), when a couple of young men approached him. "You look lost", they said. "Can we help you?". He explained that he was visiting and didn't know the library layout. They commented on his accent and asked where he was from. "Australia", he replies. "We only know one person in Australia", they said. "She lives in Sydney. Perhaps you know her?". "Sydney's a big city", he says, "it's very unlikely. What is your friend's name?" When they said my name, he could scarcely believe it .......
Total votes: 330
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 10:25:59 +0000Coincidence ID:3829