Risk, the possibility of loss or injury, is indeed a fixture in all aspects of our lives, from investing in the stock market to crossing the street. This concept that we now take for granted is in fact relatively novel. Some have argued that the ability to describe, estimate and control risk is a key distinction between past and modern times.1 In early civilization, the future of human beings was largely thought to be at the whim of the gods. The turning point came during the Renaissance when Chevalier de Méré, a French nobleman with an affinity for gambling and mathematics, challenged the famed French mathematician Blaise Pascal to solve an infamous puzzle: How to divide the stakes of an unfinished game of chance between two players when one of them is ahead.1,2 Collaboration between Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, a lawyer and a talented mathematician, resulted in a solution and consequently, the theory of probability was born. And it is this concept that is at the heart of modern cardiovascular medicine and research.

M.L. Simoons (Maarten)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Netherlands Heart Foundation, Simoons, Prof. Dr. M.L. (promotor)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Westerhout, C.M. (2007, October 17). Putting the future in service of the present: Risk assessment in acute coronary syndrome patients. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/10567