Open Access
May, 1993 Lewis Carroll's "Pillow Problems": On the 1993 Centenary
Eugene Seneta
Statist. Sci. 8(2): 180-186 (May, 1993). DOI: 10.1214/ss/1177011011


We examine a few key problems and their solutions from the 13 probability problems. Some are badly posed with imaginative but incorrect solutions; other are difficult, interesting and with correct solution. The work of Carroll (C. L. Dodgson) is used to illustrate the nature, standing and understanding of probability within the wider English mathematical community of his time. Additionally, a probabilistic controversy in which he was involved is discussed, and an Appendix presents a Markov chain formulation of published and unpublished problems and discussion of a further unpublished problem. One focus of the paper is the intuitive difficulty in distinguishing between events of probability zero and impossible events, and the teaching of such probability-based difficulties.


Download Citation

Eugene Seneta. "Lewis Carroll's "Pillow Problems": On the 1993 Centenary." Statist. Sci. 8 (2) 180 - 186, May, 1993.


Published: May, 1993
First available in Project Euclid: 19 April 2007

zbMATH: 0955.60501
MathSciNet: MR1225085
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/ss/1177011011

Keywords: Bayes' theorem , English probability , impossible event , Kolmogorov's axioms , Markov chains , prior distribution , sample space , uncountability , urn models

Rights: Copyright © 1993 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.8 • No. 2 • May, 1993
Back to Top