The World of Statistics

What is Statistics?

When many people hear the word "statistics," they think of either sports-related numbers or the college class they took and barely passed. While statistics can be thought about in these terms, there is more to the relationship between you and statistics than you probably imagine.

So, what is statistics? Several informal definitions are offered in the book A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers by Gerald Hahn and Necip Doganaksoy:

  • The science of learning from (or making sense out of) data
  • The theory and methods of extracting information from observational data for solving real-world problems
  • The science of uncertainty
  • The quintessential interdisciplinary science
  • The art of telling a story with [numerical] data

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Stats LifeThumbnail image for It’s Time for the Private Sector to Release Open Data Too

I’ve written before about the UK National Information Infrastructure (UKNII), a Cabinet Office project to identify the more important and useful public data assets and perhaps nudge some of them towards open data release. I’ve been critical of progress so far, but the basic idea is sound. This is potentially an important initiative for open data and public sector information in general.

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StatsLife is the news, opinion and resource website of the Royal Statistical Society.

World Population Clock

Below are The World of Statistics participating organization events and activities around the world that will be conducted in September. To see the complete list of activities for 2014, please click here.

World of Statistics BlogThumbnail image for Terry Speed Awarded Australia’s Eureka Prize

Professor Terry Speed accepts he’s never going to see the headline “Statistician Cures Cancer.”

However, it’s a sure bet that every significant triumph we see in the long fight against the Big C has been won on the back of some serious, high-quality number crunching. And there’s a good chance the Melbourne native Speed helped.

For his superb leadership of the bioinformatics team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and his contributions to the science of bioinformatics, Speed was awarded the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation-sponsored (CSIRO) Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science at a ceremony on September 10.

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Significance MagazineThumbnail image for Tim Harford and the Perils of Big Data

Welcome to the big data future. Correlation is in, causation is out. Old statistical sampling techniques are obsolete, now that n=all; and statistical models aren’t needed because, with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves. But that’s not the case, warned economist and author Tim Harford.

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Significance is a publication of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Census at School

Challenge Yourself Today!

We are proud to introduce Stats2013AtSchool—a Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education and American Statistical Association special project expressly designed for schools and students worldwide in support of the International Year of Statistics.

Stats2013AtSchool features an international statistics quiz for school-aged learners. This fun, online quiz is based on WinAtSchool, a competition which comprises multiple choice questions in

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Census at School is a free, web-based classroom project that engages primary and secondary school students in statistical problemsolving using their own data. This international educational initiative, launched in 2000 in the United Kingdom by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education, has programs operating in several countries.

Click here to view the Census at School program in your country or others around the world.

Statistician Job of the WeekThumbnail image for I Solve Problems in Clinical Research

By Karen Kesler, Ph.D.

The thing I love most about statistics is that it helps solve problems. And working in clinical research, there are always problems to solve. In order to improve people’s health, we push the boundaries of questions we can answer, using fewer patients and more powerful analyses.

Biostatisticians in clinical research work with a team of other experts to design and analyze studies. Initially, biostatisticians help choose a design for the study, formalize the outcomes and hypotheses, and decide what analysis should be done. During the study, there are reports and unexpected problems (e.g., “I gave the patient a different therapy than the randomization indicated; how should we handle this?”).

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