Events Calendar
Nov 1
18:00 - 20:00
Professor David Spiegelhalter - President of the Royal Statistical Society
Statistics Seminar
East Kent Royal Statistical Society Seminar

Professor Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He is the current president of the Royal Statistical Society.

Title: Communicating uncertainty without losing trust 


We are faced with claims of both a reproducibility crisis in scientific publication, and of a ‘post-truth’ society in which emotional responses trump balanced consideration of evidence. This presents a strong challenge to those who value quantitative and scientific evidence: how can we communicate risks and unavoidable scientific uncertainty in a transparent and trustworthy way, keeping in mind Onora O’Neill’s requirements that this evidence is accessible, understandable, useable and assessable?

Appropriate communication of established risks has been well-studied, but deeper uncertainty about facts, numbers, or scientific hypotheses needs to be communicated without losing trust and credibility. This is an empirically researchable issue, and we are conducting randomised experiments concerning the impact on audiences of alternative verbal, numerical and graphical means of communicating uncertainty. 

Available evidence may often not permit a quantitative assessment of uncertainty, and I will also examine scales being used by ‘What Works’ centres and other agencies to summarise degrees of ‘confidence’ in conclusions, in terms of the quality of the research underlying the whole assessment.

Here are the slides for Professor Spiegelhalter's talk

Visit the event web page


Lecture Theatre 3,
Sibson Building,

United Kingdom


Contact: Maria Kalli
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012