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Pile of golden lottery balls

Statistics seminar on probability and the Oregon Lottery

The Department of Statistics talk on the probability of winning the lottery

>>Watch the video of Ron Wasserstein's talk.

The Department of Statistics will be hosting a unique and interesting talk on understanding the probability of one's chances of winning the big jackpot and the purposes of lotteries. The seminar will feature Ron Wasserstein, who will deliver a talk titled, "Probability and the Oregon Lottery" on April 24 at 3 pm in Owen Hall in room 102. Wasserstein is the Executive Director of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is considered an expert on state lotteries, having spoken and written on the subject for nearly 30 years.

Wasserstein's non-technical and highly interactive talk will engage listeners in a lottery simulation and ensure that audience members will walk away richer for having invested in this enlightening talk. In a Huffington Post article, Wasserstein points out that there have been recent winners of big jackpots and explains what that may mean for the rest of us from the perspective of probability science.

"The certainty of something happening doesn't increase the chances that it will happen to you," writes Wasserstein.

“Lotteries may be educational or not--the Carolinas claim an ‘educational lottery’ and Oregon claims the lottery 'does good things.' Ron's talk is guaranteed to be very educational about your real odds,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science at Oregon State. “He is a wonderful speaker who promotes the practice and the profession of statistics as the Executive Director ASA, one of the largest professional societies, and also as a steering committee member of the World of Statistics.”

Wasserstein earned his PhD in statistics from Kansas State University. He was a professor and administrator at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., for 23 years, the last seven serving as the university’s chief academic officer. He joined the staff of the ASA in 2007 and is a fellow of the ASA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was presented the John Ritchie Alumni Award and Muriel Clarke Student Life Award from Washburn University and the Manning Distinguished Service Award from the North American Association of Summer Schools.

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