Three Professors Explain How Statistical Science is More Than Numbers
October 23, 2014
Terry Speed, professor of bioinformatics at U.C. Berkeley, makes a strong case along with two other professors about why students should learn statistics.
Speed points out that statistical science is applied to just about every sector—from agriculture and healthcare to manufacturing and technology. “It seems evident that statistics pervades every field of human endeavor, either through the use of statistical facts, some form of sample-population inference, or other informal or formal methods of addressing questions of interest,” writes Speed.
This is a big draw for students who are curious about a lot of fields and don’t want to be limited to just one. David Wharton, associate professor in ecological statistics at the University of New South Wales in Australia, writes he started out studying ecology, but was soon drawn to statistics because it allowed him to pursue many different interests. He explains that as an ecologist, he’d be limited to focusing on just one area of study, such as plants, frogs or microbes. But as a statistician, he can delve into all of these areas and many more.
John Henstridge, adjunct professor in mathematics and statistics at the University of Western Australia, shares a similar sentiment, calling statistical science a “mathematical Swiss Army penknife.” He writes, “…even though I have spent decades working as a statistician, I remain surprised at just how useful this set of tools is and how widely it can be applied.”
Read the full article, “Statistics Is More Than a Numbers Game – It Underpins All Sciences.”
This fall in the Public Health Data Challenge, 91 teams made up of 303 students submitted their recommendations on how local officials should fight the national opioid epidemic after analyzing the CDC’s Multiple Cause of Death (Detailed Mortality) data set. Students recommended creative and thoughtful solutions for local officials including increasing the availability of naloxone…
Irineo Cabreros is an AAAS Mass Media Fellow with the sponsorship of the American Statistical Association. He spent 10 weeks this summer training as a science journalist with Slate in its New York City offices. This summer I had the opportunity to write for the science desk at Slate magazine as an AAAS Mass Media Fellow sponsored…