RSNZ Wellington Branch Talk: Statistics isn’t the Problem. 10 April, 6.00 pm – 7.30pm

The Royal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch presents its first public lecture for 2019.
Title:  Statistics isn’t the Problem
Speaker:  Dr. Richard Arnold (Programme Director – Data Science at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, Victoria University of Wellington)
Date:  Wednesday 10 April, 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm
Venue:  The Laby Lecture Theatre (LB118) at Victoria University Kelburn Campus.  A map of VUW can be found here.
Abstract
Statistics is seen both as a saviour and a villain in our modern world.  It underlies the understanding we have of our health, of complex systems such as the weather, and the risk of earthquakes. But it is also apparently undermining our confidence in our own judgment, our privacy, and is even implicated in the integrity of our electoral systems.
To understand the true role of statistics, and how it apparently underlies so much of what we know about our modern world, requires an appreciation of how this discipline works, how it contributes to knowledge – and in particular how it assists in the establishment of genuine evidence as opposed to anecdote and confusion.
In this lecture, Richard will talk about the way statisticians see the world, what they do – and what they don’t do.  He’ll talk about his work as an applied statistician in fields such as health, seismology and linguistics, the rise of the new discipline of Data Science, and the power and limitations of statistics in our data-rich world.