Bookmakers cut odds on scientific breakthroughs

September 3, 2004

Brussels, 02 Sep 2004

Bookmakers in the UK are cutting the odds on scientific breakthroughs, believing that the chances of remarkable discoveries being made before 2010 are increasing.

The first potential breakthrough to have its odds cut is the detection of gravitational waves. UK bookmakers Ladbrokes have recently cut the odds on this taking place from 500 to 1 to 10 to 1 following a rush of bets.

Ladbrokes spokesperson Warren Lush told the BBC: 'We had to shorten odds to 10 to 1 but when I was asking physicists about this they were very, very divided; and 80 per cent of those I spoke to thought it had no chance of being discovered by 2010.'

The odds for breakthroughs in other fields of science currently stand as follows:
- possibility of life on Titan - 10,000 to 1;
- building a fusion power plant - 50 to 1;
- finding the Higgs boson - 6 to 1;
- understanding cosmic rays - 4 to 1.

Ladbrokes sets its odds for scientific discoveries after consulting experts, but the company has been overwhelmed by the interest from gamblers.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: EN_RCN_ID:22559

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