normal distribution

It's so ubiquitous it's normal!

League tables are controversial and for good reason. Few things are simple enough to be measured by a single outcome like, for example, the number of exam passes or successful heart operations. But even if we do accept a single yardstick, we haven't yet reckoned with chance, which by itself can produce apparent patterns to delight any tabloid editor.

Harold Shipman could have been detected earlier by monitoring the death rates of his patients.
As customers will tell you, overcrowding is a problem on trains. Fortunately, mathematical modelling techniques can help to analyse the changing demands on services through the day. Tim Gent explains.
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.