Applied Mathematics

Probability Theory

What are the definitions of chance?

Chance is defined in many ways. For example, chance means opportunity to some, or the chance to do something. Chance can also mean luck or fortune, such as running into someone one has not seen in years by “pure chance.” Chance also involves taking a risk, which may include some type of danger.

Mathematically speaking, chance is a measure of how likely it is that an event will occur—in other words, a probability. For example, if a meteorologist says that a hurricane on a certain path has struck the coast of Florida, say, about 4 times out of 10, then the ratio becomes 4 to 10, with the chance of striking under the very same conditions being 40 percent. (In reality, this probability example is too simple; that’s because there are so many variables that affect the movement of the hurricane, including the atmosphere and landmasses.)


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