For further information visit the NCETM website

Visit the NCETM website for further maths news

another sum exlusive

Issue 1 - July 2000

risky business

A retired statistician has invented a new scale for assessing the risks involved in various activities and has arrived at some interesting conclusions.

Dr Frank Duckworth, who already has a method for scoring in cricket named after him (the Duckworth/Lewis method), and devised the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), presented a paper entitled "A Simple Scale of Risk to the Public" to the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) recently.

The scale which is logarithmic, like the Richter scale for earthquakes, grades one's risk of death from activities ranging from washing up to playing Russian Roulette. It starts at zero for living on planet earth for a year, to a maximum of eight for certain death (by playing Russian Roulette with six bullets or jumping off the Eiffel Tower).

The scale has produced some surprising statistics - smoking 40 cigarettes a day for a 35 year old male (7.1 on the scale) is almost as dangerous as playing Russian Roulette with one bullet (7.2).

The Duckworth Scale

gun8.0 Suicide Russian roulette (six bullets)

Jumping off Eiffel Tower

Lying in front of Flying Scotsman

7.2 Russian Roulette (one game)

cigarettes7.1 Continuing smoking cigarettes
(male aged 35 - 40 a day)

6.9 Continuing smoking cigarettes
(male aged 35 - 20 a day)

6.7 Continuing smoking cigarettes (male aged 35 - 10 a day)

6.4 Deep sea fishing (40 year career)

plane6.3 Rock climbing over 20 years

5.5 Accidental falls (new born male)

5.5 Lifetime car travel (new born male)
Dying while vacuuming, washing up, walking down the street

4.6 Murder (new born male)

racing car4.2 Rock climbing (one session)

1.9 100 mile car journey (sober middle aged driver)

1.7 100 mile flight

1.6 Destructive asteroid impact (in the life-time of a new born male)

train0.3 100 mile rail journey

Source: The Guardian Newspaper


current issue header

sum pages icon
NASA Fails Maths

Risky Business

2000 Digit Millennium Prime

Maths Crossword

David Seaman Needs To Be Mathsman

back issues icon

01 02 03
04 05 06
07 08 09
10 11 12
13 14 15

count on logo