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Prakash Gorroochurn, Ph.D.

Columbia University, Department of Biostatistics

722 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032

email :

phone: 212-342-1263

fax: 212-305-9408

CV (pdf)



Book Chapter

Book under Preparation








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                                        Amazon link to book

                                          Wiley link to book



I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University. I am also a statistical consultant in the School of Social Work. I obtained my Ph.D. in Mathematical Population Genetics from Monash University, Australia, in 1999. I am Associate Editor of the journals The American Statistician and BMC Genetics. My main areas of research interest include mathematical population genetics, genetic epidemiology, and the history of probability and statistics.

I am also the author of the book “Classic Problems of Probability” which won the 2012 PROSE Award for Mathematics from The American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence





“Classic Problems of Probability” is the winner of the 2012 PROSE Award for Mathematics from The American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence.


From the Back Cover

"A great book, one that I will certainly add to my personal library."

—Paul J. Nahin, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, University of New Hampshire


Classic Problems of Probability presents a lively account of the most intriguing aspects of statistics. The book features a large collection of more than thirty classic probability problems which have been carefully selected for their interesting history, the way they have shaped the field, and their counterintuitive nature.


From Cardano's 1564 Games of Chance to Jacob Bernoulli's 1713 Golden Theorem to Parrondo's 1996 Perplexing Paradox, the book clearly outlines the puzzles and problems of probability, interweaving the discussion with rich historical detail and the story of how the mathematicians involved arrived at their solutions. Each problem is given an in-depth treatment, including detailed and rigorous mathematical proofs as needed. Some of the fascinating topics discussed by the author include:

·         Buffon's Needle problem and its ingenious treatment by Joseph Barbier, culminating into a discussion of invariance

·         Various paradoxes raised by Joseph Bertrand

·         Classic problems in decision theory, including Pascal's Wager, Kraitchik's Neckties, and Newcomb's problem

·         The Bayesian paradigm and various philosophies of probability

·         Coverage of both elementary and more complex problems, including the Chevalier de Méré problems, Fisher and the lady tasting tea, the birthday problem and its various extensions, and the Borel-Kolmogorov paradox

Classic Problems of Probability is an eye-opening, one-of-a-kind reference for researchers and professionals interested in the history of probability and the varied problem-solving strategies employed throughout the ages. The book also serves as an insightful supplement for courses on mathematical probability and introductory probability and statistics at the undergraduate level.


Book Reviewed by Andrew Dale

Book Reviewed by Uwe Küchler



Errata(pdf): Many of the corrections in the attached have already been made in the second printing of the book. Please email me at if you notice further errors.





Errors of Probability in Historical Context. In ‘The Best Writings on Mathematics 2013,’ edited by M. Pitici, Princeton University Press (2014). (pdf)



The sequel to “Classic Problems of Probability” will be called “Classic Topics on the History of Modern Mathematical Statistics: From Laplace to More Recent Times” and is almost done. Here is the Table of Contents so far.(TOC) 




1.Gorroochurn, P (2001) Post-Data Inference of Coalescence Times and Segregating-Site Distribution in a Two-Island Model with Symmetric Migration. Advances in Applied Probability 33(3): 600-616. (pdf)

2. Gorroochurn, P (2001) Genetic Differentiation and Mean Coalescence Times in Two Colonies with Asymmetric Migration. University of Mauritius Research Journal 8: 103-118.

3. Gorroochurn, P (2003) A Note on the Stationary Distribution of an Infinitesimal Matrix. The Journal of nature 15(1): 39-45.

4. Komenaka IK, Ditkoff BA, Joseph KA, Russo D, Gorroochurn P, Ward M, Horowitz E, El-Tamer MB, Schnabel FR (2004) The Development of Interval Breast Malignancies in Patients with BRCA Mutations. Cancer 100(10): 2079-83.

5. Heiman GA, Hodge SE, Gorroochurn P, J Zhang, Greenberg DA (2004) Effect of population stratification on case-control association studies. I: Elevation in the false positive rates and comparisons to confounding risk ratios (a simulation study). Hum Hered 58: 30-39.(pdf)

6. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA, Greenberg DA (2004) Effect of population stratification on case-control association studies. II: False-positive rates and their limiting behavior as number of subpopulations increases. Hum Hered 58:  40-48. (pdf)

7. Heiman, GA, Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Greenberg DA (2005) Robustness of case-controls studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 14(6).(pdf)

8. Gorroochurn P , Hodge SE (2006) Estimating allele frequencies and inbreeding coefficients in k-allele models. Math Pop Studies, 13: 83-103.(pdf)

9. Gorroochurn P, Heiman GA, Hodge SE, Greenberg DA (2006) Centralizing the non-central chi-square: A new method to correct for population stratification in genetic case-control association studies. Genet Epidemiol, 30: 277-289.(pdf)

10. Bemis DL, Capodice JL, Gorroochurn P, Katz AE, and Buttyan R (2006) Anti-prostate cancer activity of a beta-carboline alkaloid enriched extract from Rauwolfia vomitoria. Int. J Oncol. 29 (5):1065-1073.

11. Durner M, Gorroochurn P, Marini C, and Guerrini R (2006) Editorial Commentary: Can We Increase the Likelihood of Success for Future Association Studies in Epilepsy? Epilepsia 47 (10):1617-1621.(pdf)

12. Fine R L, Shah S S, Moulton TA, Yu IR, Fogelman DR, Richardson M, Burris HA, Samuels BL, Assanasen C, Gorroochurn P, Hibshoosh H, Orjuela M, Garvin J, Goldman FD, Dubovsky D, Walterhouse D, Halligan G (2007) Androgen and c-Kit receptors in desmoplastic small round cell tumors resistant to chemotherapy: novel targets for therapy. Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. 59 (4):429-437.

13. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA and Greenberg DA (2007) Invited Article: A unified approach for quantifying, testing and correcting population stratification in case-control association studies. Hum Hered 64: 149-159.(pdf)

14. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA, Durner M, Greenberg DA (2007). Commentary: Non-replication in association studies: 'pseudo-failures' to replicate? Genetics in Medicine 9(6): 325-331.(pdf)

15. Heiman GA, Ogburn E, Gorroochurn P, Keyes KM, and Hasin D (2008) Evidence for a two-stage model of dependence using the NESARC and its implications for genetic association studies. Drug Alcohol Depend. 92 (1-3):258-266.

16. Zweben A, Pettinati HM, Weiss RD,Youngblood M, Cox CE, Mattson ME, Gorroochurn P, Ciraulo D. (2008) Relationship between Medication Adherence and Treatment Outcomes: THE COMBINE STUDY. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 32(9):1661-9.

17. Yaeger R, vila-Bront A, Abdul K, Nolan PC, Grann VR, Birchette MG, Choudhry S, Burchard EG, Beckman KB, Gorroochurn P, Ziv E, Consedine NS, Joe AK (2008) Comparing genetic ancestry and self-described race in african americans born in the United States and in Africa. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 17:1329-1338.


18. Gorroochurn P (2008) Perils in the Use of Linkage Disequilibrium for Fine Gene Mapping: Simple Insights from Population Genetics. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 17: 3292-3297.(pdf)

19. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA and Greenberg DA (2009) Comments on: Review and Evaluation of Methods Correcting for Population Stratification with a Focus on Underlying Statistical Principles Hum Hered. 67:145–146.

20. Petukhova L, Shimomura Y, Wajid M, Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE,  Christiano AM (2009) The effect of inbreeding on the distribution of compound heterozygotes: a lesson from lipase H mutations in autosomal recessive woolly hair. Hum Hered. 68: 117-130.

21. Capodice JL, Gorroochurn P, Cammack AS, Eric G, McKiernan JM, Benson MC, Stone BA, Katz AE (2009) Zyflamend in men with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia: results of a phase I clinical trial. J Soc Integr Oncol. 7(2):43-51.

22. Pinto RM, Yu G, Spector AY, Gorroochurn P, McCarthy D (2010). Substance abuse treatment providers’ involvement in research is associated with willingness to use findings in practice. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 39: 188–194.

23. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA and Greenberg DA (2010). Comments on ‘Delta-Centralization Fails to Control for Population Stratification in Genetic Association Studies. Hum Hered. 69:295.

24. Alam ML, Van der Schueren BJ, Ahren B, Wang GC, Swerdlow NJ, Arias S, Bose M, Gorroochurn P, Teixeira J, McGinty J, Laferrère B (2011) Gastric bypass surgery, but not caloric restriction, decreases dipeptidyl peptidase-4 activity in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Obes Metab.13(4): 378-381.

25. Drake RE, Caton C, Xie H, Hsu E, Gorroochurn P, Samet S, Hasin D (2011). A Prospective 2-year Study of Emergency Department Patients with Early-phase Primary Psychoses or Substance-induced Psychoses. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 168(2): 742-748.

26. Herman D, Conover S, Gorroochurn P, Hinterland K, Hoepner L, Susser E (2011) A Randomized Trial of Critical Time Intervention to Prevent Homelessness in Persons with Severe Mental Illness following Institutional Discharge. Psychiatr Serv. 62(7):713-9.

27. Pinto RM, Campbell ANC, Hien D, Yu G, Gorroochurn P (2011). Retention in the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Women and Trauma Study: Implications for Post-trial Implementation. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 81(2): 210-216.

28. Gorroochurn P, Hodge SE, Heiman GA, Greenberg DA (2011). An Improved Delta-Centralization Method for Population Stratification. Human Heredity. 71(3): 180-185.(pdf)

29. Gorroochurn, P (2011) Use the Correlation Coefficient to Summarize Regression Performance?" Teaching Statistics. 33: 81-82.

30. Laferrère B, Reilly D, Arias S, Swerdlow N, Gorroochurn P, Bose M, Bawa B, Tiexeira J, Stevens RD ,Wenner BR, Bain JR, et al. (2011). Differential Metabolic Impact of Gastric Bypass Surgery Versus Dietary Intervention in Obese Diabetic Subjects Despite Identical Weight Loss. Sci. Transl. Med. 3(80), 80re2.

31. Van der Schueren B, Green N, Gorroochurn P, Teixeira J, Altiner S, Laferrère B (2011) Low Vitamin D in Candidates for Bariatric Surgery: Are the Americans Better Off than the French? Obesity Surgery. 21(7): 948-949.

32. Gorroochurn P (2011). Errors of Probability in Historical Context. American Statistician. 65(4): 246-254. (Also in ‘The Best Writings on Mathematics 2013,’ edited by M. Pitici, Princeton University Press 2014)(pdf)

33. Shah SH, Crosslin DR, Haynes CS, Nelson S, Turer CB, Stevens RD, Muehlbauer MJ, Wenner BR, Bain JR, Laferrère B, Gorroochurn P, Teixeira J, Brantley PJ, Stevens VJ, Hollis JF, Appel LJ, Lien LF, Batch B, Newgard CB, Svetkey LP. (2012). Branched-chain amino acid levels are associated with improvement in insulin resistance with weight loss. Diabetologia. 55(2):321-30.

34. Gorroochurn, P (2012) Some Laws and Problems of Classical Probability and How Cardano Anticipated Them. Chance 25.4: 13-20.(pdf)

35. Smolak A, Gorroochurn P, Kamarulzaman A, Janjua N (2012) Asian public concern over the ethics of scientists: Predictors and implications for research ethics. Accountability in Research 19: 370-382.

36. Edge MD, Gorroochurn P, Rosenberg NA (2013) Windfalls and pitfalls: Applications of population genetics to the search for disease genes (2013) Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health 2013 (1): 254-272. (pdf)

37. Gorroochurn P, Levin B (2013) On Two Historical Aspects of Buffon's Needle Problem. Electronic Journal for History of Probability and Statistics 9, pp. 40. (pdf)

38. McQuistion HL, Gorroochurn P, Hsu E, Caton CLM (2014) Risk Factors Associated with Recurrent Homelessness After a First Homeless Episode. Community Mental Health Journal 50 (5): 505-513.

39. Yin B, Levy D, Meadows M, Moen T, Gorroochurn P, Cadet ER, Levine WN, Ahmad CS (2014) How Does External Rotation Bracing Influence Motion and Functional Scores After Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization? Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 472(8): 2389-96.

 40. Gorroochurn P (2014) Thirteen Correct Solutions to the "Problem of Points" and their Histories. The Mathematical Intelligencer 36(3): 56-64. (pdf)

41. Makhni EC, Lee RW, Morrow ZS, Gualtieri AP, Gorroochurn P, Ahmad CS (2014) Performance, Return to Competition, and Reinjury After Tommy John Surgery in Major League Baseball Pitchers: A Review of 147 Cases. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 42(6): 1323-1332.