by Barry Brownstein
The American Institute for Economic Research
Austrian mathematician Abraham Wald was a World War II hero. He worked out of a nondescript apartment building in Harlem for the Applied Mathematics Panel. Wald’s ability to see the unseen was a significant factor in the Allied victory in World War II.
Allied bomber planes were being shot down at such an alarming rate that bomber airmen were called “ghosts already.” The Air Force concluded that more armor was needed on the planes but adding armor would add weight. David McRaney, the author of several books on cognitive biases, tells the story of how Wald saved the military from a major blunder: