Minerva 58 (2):315-317 (2020)

Joseph D. Martin
Durham University
In 1934, Edward Uhler Condon, amid supervising graduate students and crafting a research program on atomic spectra, found time to publish an article in the United States Naval Institute Proceedings. “Food and the Theory of Probability” explained, from the standpoint of probability theory, something naval commissarymen had long known: to feed double the number of people, you need not quite double the recipe. “We interpret the effect as due to the statistical fluctuation in the amount of food desired by a particular man from day to day,” Condon wrote, leading into a detailed and technical treatment of the probability calculations that substantiated the folk wisdom encoded in the Navy Cook Book (Condon 1934).
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DOI 10.1007/s11024-020-09406-5
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