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A question of odds

Hello math gurus, here's one for ya. I'm one of the 50 finalists for the Green Science Instructable competition ( yay me - a pleasant surprise to get this far! ) , there are a total of 18 prizes, what are the odds of me winning a prize? If there was just one prize even I could work out that I'd have a one in 50 chance, but I don't know how to figure the complexity of multiple prizes. I'd appreciate an answer, please show your workings :-) Cheers, Bosherston

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westfw8 years ago
Um, not to be pedantic or anything, but since selection of finalists for prizes is NOT a "random chance" occurrence, "odds" doesn't really apply...
bosherston (author)  westfw8 years ago
I beg to differ. Only in the the abstract can you get true, I stress TRUE "random chance" occurrence. Odds can be applied to all else surely? If we approach each model with the aim of setting the odds and appreciate all known data , can we not then start to get a handle on the likely outcomes of an event? Ok it's a given that the foibles of a judging team make it an extremely complex model....
8 years ago
Fine. But in that case, only in the abstract can you use the simplified mathematics people have been talking about to calculate the odds, and you become a bookmaker instead of a mathematician. Mathematical statistics is based on the abstract... (which ought to make you really suspicious of most statistics, of course!)
whatsisface9 years ago
I think it's as simple as 18 in 50, which reduces to 9 in 25 or 36%
9 years ago
Actually, there are 28 prizes, including 10 DISCOVER magazine T-shirts and 10 books.

But yes, if each contestant can only win one prize at a time, 28 out of 50 contestants will win a prize, so your chance of winning something would be 28/50 = 56%
9 years ago
Actually, I count 51 finalists, so 28/51 = 55%.
8 years ago
Wow.
9 years ago
I counted only 49 finalists today! So now the odds (whatever they are) must be greater?
bosherston (author)  Patrik9 years ago
Your right, I could have sworn that wasn't there the other day, good luck to them. I was too late for the early entry prizes so didn't count them.
9 years ago