Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez
Math on Trial
How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Court Room
Basic Books 2013
You may well have seen “Numb3rs,” a TV show in which mathematicians help solve crimes. It’s fiction. But, as Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez show in their eye-opening new book Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Court Room (Basic Books, 2013) math does play a role in criminal prosecution. Alas, it’s often bad math and, as such, often leads to bad outcomes: people get off who shouldn’t and others get convicted who shouldn’t. Schneps and Colmez show how math has been misused in ten interesting (and disturbing) cases. In some instances the errors are trivial; in others rather complex. But they all add up (excuse the pun) to injustice. Listen in and find out how and why.