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Word for the Wise February 23, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Samuel Pepys

The birth anniversary of Samuel Pepys in 1633 gives us plenty of things to talk about. We could mention how startled some peeps are to discover the preferred pronunciation of that famous diarist's name is not "peppies." We could marvel at Pepys' private library of more than 3,000 volumes, now preserved at Cambridge. We could shake our head at the fact that his diaries were believed to have been written in cipher, and that their first translator labored for years over them. In fact, Pepys wrote a form of shorthand called tachygraphy, and he left its key within easy reach of his bound volumes. (来源:EnglishCN英语问答中心[e问e答])

But today we'll turn to a gambling question that interested Samuel Pepys so much he asked Sir Isaac Newton to investigate.

Indeed, Pepys wrote a series of letters to Newton inquiring about which of the following scenarios is most probable (and why): six dice are thrown and at least one six appears; twelve dice are thrown and at least two sixes appear; or eighteen dice are thrown and at least three sixes appear.

The probability is highest for the first scenario; when Newton reported that to Pepys, that president of the Royal Society decided to use the information to skip out on a bet.

 
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