series event

Communicating statistics in the time of COVID

The current epidemic is notable for the vast traffic in official and unofficial information and claims.  Sir David Spiegelhalter will assess the trustworthiness of the way authorities have talked about statistics and risks, focussing attention on the regular releases of cases and deaths.  In particular, he will look at how background actuarial risk can be used to get a perspective on the risks facing us all.       


About the speaker

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter FRS OBE is Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, which aims to improve the way that statistical evidence is used by health professionals, patients, lawyers and judges, media and policy-makers. He retired from being Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk in 2019, but still advises organisations and government agencies on risk communication, and is a regular media commentator on statistical issues, with a particular focus on communicating uncertainty.  He has been very busy over the COVID-19 crisis.

His background is in medical statistics, and he has over 200 refereed publications and is co-author of 6 textbooks, as well as The Norm Chronicles (with Michael Blastland), and Sex by Numbers. He presented the BBC4 documentaries “Tails you Win: the Science of Chance”, the award-winning “Climate Change by Numbers”, and in 2011 came 7th in an episode of BBC1’s Winter Wipeout. His bestselling book, The Art of Statistics, was published in March 2019.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005, awarded an OBE in 2006, and knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics. He is a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, was President of the Royal Statistical Society for 2017-2018, and became a Non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority in 2020. 

Twitter: @d_spiegel


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Please note that the time listed is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)


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