The birthday paradox

Ghosh, Jonaki (2012) The birthday paradox. At Right Angles, 1 (1). pp. 39-42.

Text - Published Version
Download (918kB) | Preview


One of the fundamental concepts in statistics is that of probability. It forms an integral part of most mathematics curricula at high school level. The topic of probability can be enlivened using many interesting problems. The related experiments are, however, time consuming and impractical to conduct in the classroom. Simulation can be an effective tool for modeling such experiments. It enables students to use random number generators to generate and explore data meaningfully and, as a result, grasp important proba- bility concepts. This section discusses a well known problem known as the Birthday Problem or the Birthday Paradox which highlights an interesting paradox in probability and lends itself to investigation. Its exploration using a spread- sheet such as MS Excel can lead to an engaging classroom activity. It highlights the fact that spreadsheets can enable students to visualize, explore and discover important con- cepts without necessarily getting into the rigor of math- ematical derivations.

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Authors: Ghosh, Jonaki
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Probability, Derivation, Problem
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Mathematics
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > At Right Angles
Full Text Status: Public
Publisher URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item