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Leonard Mlodinow 
Theoretical Physicist,
Author, Writer, and Producer
California Institute of Technology

People often misinterpret and misunderstand information and experiences that motivate their decisions and behavior. This is because most of us have a very poor feeling for the concept of randomness. Even for those who understand probability and statistics, it is often difficult to identify and overcome misleading perceptions that influence one's basic instincts. These miscalculations can affect decisions in finance, business, sports, law, and one's private life. How the concept of randomness plays out in these situations will be discussed, as well as some illusions and subtle psychological tools that are often used (or that you yourself can use) to influence decision making. Some audience-participation is included, so bring a pen and some slips of paper.

Leonard Mlodinow's national bestselling book, "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives," will be available for review and purchase after the lecture.

Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge. For more information, call Kum J. Ham at 301-975-4203.

Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.

Created December 8, 2009, Updated November 15, 2019