P1-01: Statistics in Works of Fiction – In Three Acts

By André Michelle Lubecke, Lander University


Seeing ‘real-world’ applications of statistics fosters an appreciation for the subject. For a bit of fun in the classroom, I sometimes present readings from works of fiction in which a statistical idea usually seen in the intro stats class is an integral part of the storyline. In Angels in America, a nurse warns a rich patient about placebos in clinical trials. In Even Money, racing authorities use the mode of a sample of independent bookies to set the starting price of horses. And in Jurassic Park, an argument that the dinosaurs are reproducing is based on the fact that their heights follow a Normal distribution, when they shouldn’t. Shortened versions of the classroom readings will be performed this session.  Come enjoy: “I’m not Good at Tests – I’d rather Cheat”, Who Moved the Mode? and When Normal isn’t ‘normal’. Scripts and slides will be made available to interested parties.