Saturday, September 12, 2009

TV illusionist Derren Brown tells how he picked correct numbers - 13th September 2009

TV illusionist "predicts" lotto numbers

Viewers amazed, experts says it's rubbish

Lotto owner bans him from buying tickets

Illusionist Derren Brown stunned the world after apparently predicting the winning lottery numbers on live television, but he claimed it all came down to mathematics.

An audience of 2.7 million viewers tuned into Britain's Channel 4 on Wednesday to see if Brown could pull off the trick.

After watching the National Lottery draw live on BBC One, Brown revealed he had correctly written down the numbers of the six winning balls.

Chatrooms and websites were instantly abuzz with how the famous illusionist had managed the feat, with guesses ranging from TV special effects to bribery and weighted balls.

In a follow-up show last night, watched by 3 million people, Brown said he used "a powerful, beautiful secret that can only be achieved when we all put our heads together".

He went on to say that he had gathered a panel of 24 people who wrote down their predictions after studying the last year's worth of numbers.

The guesses for each ball were then added up and divided by 24 to get the average guess.

Brown said it took a while to perfect the "deep maths" technique.

According to him, the predictions were correct because of the "wisdom of the crowd" theory which suggests that a large group of people making average guesses will come up with the correct figure as an average of all their attempts.

But judging by the reactions on Internet discussion boards, many remained unconvinced by the explanation.

One viewer wrote on Derren Brown's Channel 4 website: "It must have been a camera trick."

Another sceptic, writing on Yahoo, said: "Split screen without doubt."

Many also subscribed to the theory that there could have been a time delay in the live broadcast of the BBC draw, giving Brown a chance to get hold of the numbers beforehand.

And Roger Heath-Brown, professor of pure mathematics at Oxford University, told The Guardian newspaper: "Mathematically it is complete rubbish. It is a bluff on his part, he is doing it in some other way."

The chance of winning the jackpot by matching all six numbers is one in 14 million. Credit: Wires

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