Bentley University Mathematical Sciences Chair Richard Cleary Explores Math and Sports for Math Awareness Month, April 2010
In recognition of Mathematics Awareness Month in April, an essay from Bentley Professor and Chair of Mathematical Sciences Richard Cleary is featured on the web site for Math Awareness Month (www.mathaware.org), which this year focuses on the theme "Mathematics and Sports."
In "Surprising Streaks and Playoff Parity: Probability Problems in a Sports Context," Cleary explores probability questions generated by sporting events. In particular, he examines two sports applications with surprising answers to probability questions: the chances of rare events in sporting contests; and the merits of longer playoff series in sports such as major league baseball and professional basketball. Cleary's essay is featured along with those from fellow mathematicians and statisticians. Targeted for use in classes, the pieces are expected to be compiled into a book form.
Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM). Held each year in April, it was created to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics. It began in 1986, when President Reagan issued a proclamation establishing National Mathematics Awareness Week.