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Mathematical Models for Society and Biology, 2nd Edition by Edward Beltrami

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Chapter 7

It’s Normal Not to Be Normal

7.1 Background

In this chapter I introduce a class of probability distributions known as power laws, because they have become modeling tools of considerable scope in a plethora of fields, the social and biological sciences among them, and because the literature regarding these distributions is scattered over many different books and journals representing myriad interests and is a little hard to pin down to one reference. A review of some of the salient features belongs in a book devoted to models in the social and biological sciences, as I hope to show, especially since the topic is surprisingly little known to people whose training in probability and statistics is based on the traditional core topics.

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