UK organisation Sense About Science has just published a guide to uncertainty in science. Aimed at igniting public debate as well as informing policy makers and journalists, the guide looks at how scientists use uncertainty to express confidence in results, how uncertainty can be used to undermine evidence and why uncertainty should not be barrier to action.
The death of Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister from 1979 – 1990) last week has taken over the UK media. Margaret Thatcher was unusual in many respects, including being both a politician and a scientist. Mrs Thatcher possessed a chemistry degree from Oxford and worked in the chemical industry before becoming an MP.
At 8:30pm on March 23rd it will be Earth Hour, when people across the world will be turning out the lights. Earth Hour is a symbolic gesture to highlight the environmental challenges facing the world with actions springing from the international campaign.
Statistics does perhaps have an image problem. Ask people what they think of statistics, and you are likely to get some negative responses. The public does not (very broadly speaking) understand statistics and probability. Neither do many politicians. The media can manipulate statistics and misrepresent data. As a science, statistics is seen as complicated, dull, geeky and even irrelevant.