5. Statistics

Scatterplot of the eruption interval for Old F...

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The word statistics has more than one meaning. On the one hand it represents a complete branch of mathematics that seems so strange and so difficult that it strikes fear in the hearts of most of us. If any person plans to enter into the field of research as a career, this branch of mathematics must be studied, understood and become an integral part of that person. On the other hand, a simple number that represents the size of a class is by itself a statistic. If someone asks you “How many people will be at the picnic?”…that’s a statistic too. This point is being made so that we do not always think of those strange symbols and impossible formulas every time we hear that feared word.

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