July 2013

Statistics in Society

Venue: A54, Postgraduate Statistics Centre, Lancaster University LA1 4YF

Date: 04-07-2013

This afternoon meeting is aimed at A - level students and their teachers. Talks will focus on the application of statistics in different areas of society and approaches to visualising complex datasets. We are pleased to welcome three speakers to this event: James Nicholson (SMART Centre, Durham University), Toby Johnson (GlaxoSmithKline) and Mark Latham (Decision Technology). 

We look forward to seeing you here in Lancaster. There is no need to register but if you have any queries please contact the meeting organiser, Lisa Hampson.


14:00 - 14:45: James Nicholson: Making sense of a multivariate world

Social sciences deal routinely with contexts in which the population under consideration is not homogenous, and yet the data used is often presented in aggregated form which disguises the characteristics of the subgroups – whether these are by ethnicity, age, social and economic status, region or some other categorisation. Physical and medical sciences deal routinely with contexts in which there are multiple risk factors or variables influencing the behaviour of a quantity of interest.Tables of data relating to such contexts are not easy to make sense of, but data visualisation offer students the opportunity to understand the main stories in the data when they are able to interact with the data via an interface which allows them to manipulate the display and explore different combinations of variables.This session will explore a number of these visualisations.  

14:45 - 15:30: Toby Johnson: The use of statistics in the pharmaceutical industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, the most well-known use of statistics is for the analysis of randomized clinical trials, which are used to provide evidence about the relative benefits and side-effects of newly discovered medicines, in patients who volunteer to participate in the trials.  Statistics is also widely used outside of clinical trials, for example with applications in pre-clinical stages of medicine discovery, and in testing for quality and consistency in the manufacturing of medicines. An area of particular interest to me is “personalised medicine”. This involves analysing information from patients’ DNA, to determine whether genetic information can predict in advance which patients will respond well to, or will experience bad side effects from, a particular medicine.

15:30 - 16:00: Tea 

16:00 - 16:45: Mark Latham: Using (Useful) Statistics in Football

Traditionally within the world of football statistics have been seen as unimportant and human judgement has been the weapon of choice.  This has been changing and people in powerful positions have started to accept that statistics can play a useful role in the football business.  I will discuss some of the ways that statistics have already been applied to help in rating players and teams, and in predicting the outcomes of matches, and I'll also present some thoughts on what the future may hold.