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Feb. 18, 2003 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
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‘Casanova’s Lottery’ to be topic of 2003 Ryerson Lecture at University of Chicago

The legendary lover Giacomo Casanova, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and several thieving scoundrels will be among the characters who will figure into the 29th Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture March 6 at the University of Chicago. Delivering the lecture will be Stephen Stigler, the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in Statistics at the University of Chicago. Stigler’s remarks will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Max Palevsky Cinema of Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Casanova must be well-known to the university community, judging from the worn covers on the library’s copies of his memoirs. But I would guess that his lottery is not,” Stigler said.

The lecture will discuss the social history of gambling from 1750 to 1840, particularly in France, and the idea of risk and how people and governments approach it. “I will briefly try to impart two subtle statistical lessons, but the lecture will be non-technical,” he said.

Stigler is beginning a two-year term as president of the International Statistical Institute. An expert on the history of statistics, he is the author of numerous articles and books on the topic, including The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900, and Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods.

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees established the Ryerson Lecture in 1972 to give distinguished members of the faculty an opportunity to speak to the university community about their research and study. A presidentially appointed faculty committee nominates the Ryerson Lecturer.
Last modified at 03:32 PM CST on Tuesday, February 18, 2003.

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