Author Archives: Frank Wang

Cancer Math

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, Angelina Jolie revealed that she had a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer.  She had a family history of cancer and tested positive for flaws in the BRCA 1 … Continue reading

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Sloppy Math and the Austerity Debate

In 2010, two Harvard economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, circulated a paper demonstrating that GDP growth is negatively correlated to public debt (debt-to-GDP ratio to be more precisely).  Their paper was highly influential and has been used to support … Continue reading

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Polls, Observational Studies, and the Meaning of “Random”

Last week, Chancellor Goldstein posted a very interesting piece related to the Central Limit Theorem (CLT).  I think experienced statistics instructors will concur that few students truly grasp the essence of the Theorem.  I myself did not fully appreciate the … Continue reading

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Why are so many Harvard students first-borns?

The noted political philosopher Michael Sandel has taught the wildly popular course “Justice” at Harvard University for many years.  The course can be viewed online, and in Episode 8 there was an amazing moment when Professor Sandel asked his students … Continue reading

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Statistical Pattern in Music: Predictability and Surprise

Audio engineers have known for a long time that music generated by computers sometimes sounds unnatural.  One reason for this phenomenon is the absence of small imperfections that are part of every human activity.  In a recent Physics Today article … Continue reading

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