Elementary Probability with Applications: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Elementary Probability with Applications

2nd Edition

By Larry Rabinowitz

Chapman and Hall/CRC

208 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-12-13
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Elementary Probability with Applications, Second Edition shows students how probability has practical uses in many different fields, such as business, politics, and sports. In the book, students learn about probability concepts from real-world examples rather than theory.

The text explains how probability models with underlying assumptions are used to model actual situations. It contains examples of probability models as they relate to:

  • Bloc voting
  • Population genetics
  • Doubling strategies in casinos
  • Machine reliability
  • Airline management
  • Cryptology
  • Blood testing
  • Dogs resembling owners
  • Drug detection
  • Jury verdicts
  • Coincidences
  • Number of concert hall aisles
  • 2000 U.S. presidential election
  • Points after deuce in tennis
  • Tests regarding intelligent dogs
  • Music composition

Based on the author’s course at The College of William and Mary, the text can be used in a one-semester or one-quarter course in discrete probability with a strong emphasis on applications. By studying the book, students will appreciate the subject of probability and its applications and develop their problem-solving and reasoning skills.


Praise for the First Edition:

"It is desirable that all citizens have an elementary understanding of probability [so] that they better appreciate the uncertainty that surrounds them. Anyone teaching such citizens should consider using this book because, through its applications, it conveys something of the power of probability."

—D.V. Lindley, Mathematical Gazette, November 2006

"This book was surprisingly refreshing and did a great job using real situations to motivate techniques for calculating discrete probabilities."

Technometrics, August 2006

"The problems are graded from fairly straightforward to very challenging and the book is, for this reason at least, a welcome addition to the literature."

MAA Reviews, October 2005

"This book would be excellent for a minicourse at a higher level of high school as well as a semester course at the college level."

—Larry White, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), October 2005

"The chosen approach is practical and entertaining. The book is a useful tool for teachers and anybody interested in basic ideas and applications of classical probability theory."

EMS Newsletter, June 2005

Table of Contents

Basic Concepts in Probability

Sample Spaces, Events, and Probabilities


Complementary Events and Mutually Exclusive Events

Some Probability Rules

Problem Solving


Conditional Probability and the Multiplication Rule

Conditional Probability

Multiplication Rule




A Technique for Finding P(A or B or C or …)


Combining the Addition and Multiplication Rules

Combining the Addition and Multiplication Rules

Bayes' Formula



Combining the Addition and Multiplication Rules—Applications

Simpson’s Paradox

Randomized Response Designs

Applications in Cryptology

Hardy–Weinberg Principle


Random Variables, Distributions, and Expected Values

Random Variables, Distributions, and Expected Values


Joint Distributions and Conditional Expectations

Joint Distributions

Independent Random Variables

Conditional Distributions

Conditional Expectations


Sampling without Replacement

Counting Formula

Probabilities for Sampling without Replacement


Sampling with Replacement

Binomial Model


Sampling with Replacement (Continued)

Binomial Model (Continued)


Binomial Tests


Binomial Tests



Short Answers to Selected Exercises



About the Author

Larry Rabinowitz taught mathematics and probability in the mathematics department at The College of William and Mary for over 30 years.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MATHEMATICS / Probability & Statistics / Bayesian Analysis