Probability is a crucial concept in mathematics, and it’s essential to understand the difference between two types of probabilities: theoretical and experimental probability. Many individuals tend to confuse these concepts, but they are significantly different. In this article, we’ll be discussing the difference between theoretical and experimental probability.

Theoretical Probability

Theoretical probability is also referred to as classical or a priori probability. It is calculated based on mathematical reasoning and logical deductions. In simple terms, it is the probability of an event that can be predicted based on a theoretical model. For instance, the probability of flipping a coin and getting heads is 1/2. This is because there are only two possible outcomes when you flip a coin – heads or tails; thus, the probability of getting heads is 1/2.

Theoretical probability is commonly used in mathematical calculations, especially in theoretical scenarios where it is impossible or impractical to collect data. Theoretical probabilities can be used to make predictions about future events based on a mathematical model. They are usually expressed as ratios, fractions, decimals, or percentages.

Experimental Probability

Experimental probability is also referred to as empirical or a posteriori probability. It is an estimate of the probability of an event based on the actual observations made through experimentation. Experimental probabilities are calculated by conducting experiments repeatedly and counting the number of times an event occurs.

For example, if you roll a dice 100 times, and the number 4 occurs 23 times, then the experimental probability of getting 4 is 23/100, which is equal to 0.23 or 23%.

Experimental probability is commonly used in scientific research, gambling, and statistical analysis. It is preferred in situations where theoretical probabilities cannot be easily determined or where there is a need to validate theoretical predictions. Experimental probabilities are usually expressed as fractions or percentages.

Key Differences

The key difference between theoretical and experimental probability is the method used to calculate them. Theoretical probability is calculated based on mathematical reasoning and logical deductions, while experimental probability is estimated through actual observations made during experimentation. Theoretical probabilities are exact and can be predicted with certainty, whereas experimental probabilities are estimates and may vary from one experiment to another.

Another significant difference between the two is the way they are expressed. Theoretical probabilities are commonly expressed as ratios, fractions, decimals, or percentages, while experimental probabilities are usually expressed as fractions or percentages.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the difference between theoretical and experimental probability is essential in mathematics, science, and gambling. Both types of probabilities have their unique applications and uses. Theoretical probability is used in theoretical scenarios where it is impossible or impractical to collect data, while experimental probability is used in situations where actual observations are required to estimate the probability of an event. Knowing the difference between these two types of probabilities will help you make more informed decisions and predictions in your daily life.