Name: Sir David Speigelhalter, PhD
Location: University of Cambridge, England.
Specialty: Statistician and researcher.
Today it’s our privilege to have distinguished researcher and statistician, Sir David Speigelhalter. “Sir David” in addition to being knighted by the Queen, is also a fellow of the Royal Society. That calls for a quick digression. Founded all the way back in 1660, The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy. They published Newton’s “Principia Mathmatica” and Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment. They even backed James Cook’s journey to Tahiti to track the transit of Venus. Giants such as Newton, Darwin, Eisenstein and Hawking are all all past members. Their motto, “Nullius in verba” means “take nobody’s word for it.” What a great theme for today’s episode.
David is currently Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge. An ISI highly cited researcher, David has also dedicated much of his time and energy to public education through numerous news appearances, Ted Talks, books such as the one we are discussing today and documentaries such as his recent BBC series geared towards children.
David’s recently published book, “The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data,” is a wonderful refresher aimed at fixing the common mistakes and statistical knowledge blind spots many of us have…even highly educated physicians and researchers. He also covers cutting edge subjects such as artificial intelligence, biostatistics, bias and fraud detection, risk, statistical significance, and even black box algorithms. We’ll explore the realistic potential and limits of what can be learned from large multivariate data sets, a.k.a. big data.
As you’ll see, David is a gifted teacher and a real joy to talk with. With that said, let’s get started.
Links and Resources:
- David’s Web-page: http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~david/
- “The Art of Statistics. How to Learn from Data.” https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/david-spiegelhalter/the-art-of-statistics/9781541618527/
- “Medicine’s Uncomfortable Relationship With Math: Calculating Positive Predictive Value.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4955674/
- “Netflix Never Used Its $1 Million Algorithm Due To Engineering Costs” https://www.wired.com/2012/04/netflix-prize-costs/
- Weapons of Math Destruction: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/review-weapons-of-math-destruction/
- Recent BBC Series: https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/are-you-a-hedgehog-or-a-fox/p07f9xl9
- “Scientists rise up against statistical significance.” https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00857-9
- Royal Society: https://royalsociety.org/people/david-spiegelhalter-12329/