Talk/Workshop, Festival

Rare Events

Organised by: NUS Centre For the Arts
  • Date:
    14 Mar 2019
  • Time:
  • Duration:
    1h 30min
  • Venue:
    NUS Museum
    NUS MuseumNUS Museum
  • Language:


What are rare events? Why do they seem to occur so frequently? Join Emeritus Professor Louis Chen (Department of Mathematics, Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, NUS) in this talk, where he will give examples of rare events associated with catastrophes, lotteries, coincidences, and questions about the existence of extraterrestrial life. He will show that the paradoxically frequent occurrence of rare events can be explained by using the "law of small numbers".

Rare events also occur in the number system. For example, one can find Shakespeare's play Hamlet and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in the number system. He will relate the decimal expansion of the number π (pi) to coin tossing and use it to explain the occurrences of rare events in the number system.

About Critical Conversations
As part of the Centre For the Arts' vision to nurture creative minds and inquiring spirits, the NUS Arts Festival presents Critical Conversations - a series of talks and panel discussions aimed at deepening the discourse and engagement with the themes raised during the festival. In particular this year, the programme seeks to present parallels between the arts and mathematics in their shared longing to express answers to humanity's deepest unsolved questions.