Statistics has played a leading role in our scientific understanding of the world for centuries, yet we are all familiar with the way numbers can be used to support sensationalised claims, whether political or scientific. As data becomes more influential in our society, data literacy becomes an increasingly essential skill. This means a new approach to statistics education is necessary, in which real problems provide motivation for ideas, and technicalities are delayed as long as possible.
In his new book, David Spiegelhalter uses this approach to reveal the true power of statistics, with questions such as: could Harold Shipman have been caught earlier, should he take a statin, who was the luckiest passenger on the Titanic, and why do old men have big ears.
David Spiegelhalter is Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the University of Cambridge, which aims to improve the way that statistical evidence is used by health professionals, patients, lawyers, media and policy-makers. Apart from academic publications, he has written The Norm Chronicles (with Michael Blastland), Sex by Numbers, and the recently-published The Art of Statistics.
David has presented the BBC4 documentaries Tails you Win: the Science of Chance and the award-winning Climate Change by Numbers. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005, knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics and was President of the Royal Statistical Society for 2017-2018. His greatest achievement came in 2011, when he was seventh in an episode of Winter Wipeout.
Wills Memorial Building
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