Last Wednesday we had the pleasure of hosting prominent Canadian Statistician Professor Jeffrey Rosenthal, as part of his AMSI-SSA Australian tour.

Over 120 people gathered in Colombo Theatre A to hear Professor Rosenthal's fascinating talk on probability and randomness, "From Lotteries to Polls to Monte Carlo".

Prof Rosenthal delighted the audience with some sobering odds revealing the improbability of winning the lottery, the varying prospects of a 50/50 result when coin-tossing, the chances of doubling your fortune at the casino, and an analysis of the polling data presented by major media networks in the lead-up to the recent Presidential election in the U.S. Jeffrey Rosenthal

He recounted his role in cracking open the Ontario Lottery Retailer Scandal - using simple statistical analysis - which led to the restitution of millions of dollars, the laying of criminal charges which led to several people being jailed for fraud, and which provoked vigorous legislative debate.

Following his talk, Professor Rosenthal signed copies of his book, Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, a best-seller which has been published in nine languages. 

Professor Rosenthal then joined several School members for dinner, where he further demonstrated his ability to entertain by impressing diners with his exuberant tunes on the restaurant's piano.

Professor Rosenthal's Australian tour will culminate in a public lecture at the University of Melbourne on 15 December.