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What’s the chance?

Oli Usher23 June 2014

Montage of two dreidels and a die. Photo: O. Usher (UCL MAPS)

Montage of two dreidels and a die. Photo: O. Usher (UCL MAPS)

What are the chances of a fair dice landing on each of its faces? One in six of course. But unfair dice are another matter entirely: nobody has ever come up with a complete mathematical explanation of their probabilities.

Two UCL PhD students from UCL Department of Physics & Astronomy, George Pender and Martin Uhrin have taken a step closer to this, coming up with a theory that can explain the behaviour of biased two-dimensional (four sided) dice, and similar objects such as dreidels (a type of spinning top).

This picture shows a fair spinning dreidel (top left), a biased one (top right) and a fair die.

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