Centre for Statistics

The 4th David Finney Lecture (2020)

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter presented the 4th David Finney Lecture:

Communicating statistics, risk and uncertainty in the age of Covid

It is claimed we live in a ‘post-truth’ society in which emotional responses dominate balanced consideration of evidence.  This presents a strong challenge to those who value quantitative and scientific evidence: How can we communicate statistics, risks and unavoidable scientific uncertainty in a transparent and trustworthy way?

Prof Spiegelhalter discussed the challenges of communicating during the epidemic.  Can we communicate deeper uncertainty about facts, numbers, or scientific hypotheses without losing trust and credibility? 


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Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter (University of Cambridge)

David Spiegelhalter
​​​​​​Prof. David Spiegelhalter is a statistician, communicator, and Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication (University of Cambridge). He works to improve the way in which risk and statistical evidence are taught and discussed in society: he has given many presentations to schools and others, advises organisations on risk communication, and is a regular commentator on risk issues. He presented the BBC4 documentaries Tails you Win: the Science of Chance and the award-winning Climate Change by Numbers. He was elected FRS in 2005, awarded an OBE in 2006, and was knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics. In 2011 he came 7th in an episode of Winter Wipeout. Prof Spiegelhalter was awarded a Gold Royal Statistical Society Guy Medal in 2020.

The Centre for Statistics is very grateful to the International Biometric Society, who sponsored this year's lecture and to ICMS, who hosted.

Jul 09 2020 -

The 4th David Finney Lecture (2020)

Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter presented the 4th David Finney Lecture on 'Communicating statistics, risk and uncertainty in the age of Covid'.