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Introduction: To Begin With

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Part of the Astronomers’ Universe Series book series (ASTRONOM)

Abstract

Forecasting the future—if only we could! What happened in the past is interesting, but the really fascinating thing is what may happen in the future. The problem, of course, is that we know a fair amount about the past, but little about the future. Yet we plan our lives on the basis of guesses about what will happen next. Shall we have a walk tomorrow? It depends on the weather forecast—that is, the best guess that meteorologists can make about tomorrow’s weather. Such guesses can be more or less likely. Will the Sun rise tomorrow? How many people will answer ″no″ to that question? Will my local football team win on Saturday? Well, it all depends: they may have a reasonable chance. The more complicated the event, the less easy it is to guess what will happen. But also, the more far away the event in time, the more difficult it is to guess what will happen. Suppose I ask: will the Sun rise on a morning a hundred million years from now? Are you as confident in your reply as you are for a sunrise tomorrow?

Keywords

Solar System Football Club Local Football Team Elastic Sheet Early Classic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

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