Ehrhard Behrends is
professor of mathematics at the Free University of Berlin. His areas
of research are Functional Analysis and Probability.
Since a long time he tries to bridge the gap between the professional mathematicians and the nonspecialists. He has given numerous talks and published books and articles in journals for a general public. Since May 2003 he has a weekly column – the first mathematical column in Germany -- (,,Fünf Minuten Mathematik’’) in the journal DIE WELT.
Professor Behrends works since 1998 as the Secretary of the ,,Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung’’. There he also is the responsible for the internet domain www.mathematik.de which addresses to all people who are interested in mathematics.
The talk will present and explain Parrondo’s paradox: this paradox refers to the fact that there are loosing gambling games which, when being combined stochastically or in a suitable deterministic way, give rise to winning games.
First the paradox will be visualized by a computer simulation. Then the mathematical background is explained, nothing more than very elementary probability theory will come into play. And finally a solution is given: One can understand why and how the paradox ,,works’’ by means of a translation to a simple geometrical question.
No special mathematical background is needed to follow this talk.