Each year at its conference the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) awards prizes to distinguished individuals for their service to statistics. The prizes include several named medals, each dedicated to a particular aspect of statistics: the Guy medals in gold (first awarded in 1892), silver (1893) and bronze (1936); and the Chambers (1977), Greenfield (1991), Bradford Hill (1994), West (2002) and Howard medals (2015). This year a new name joins the list: the Wood medal, awarded for excellent contributions to economic or social statistics.
Plastic waste is found in ocean waters, on beaches and in the marine food chain. Counting it all would be impossible, but the approximate scale of the problem can be estimated. In the October 2017 print edition of Significance, I highlight the many roles of statistics in describing and tackling this global issue.
This is the first of a series of articles on the design of simple graphs – graphs you could draw with pencil and ruler but are now more likely to be produced using software. You can find examples in the book Plain Figures1 covering the presentation of statistics by graphs and tables. Despite that and other sources of advice, simple two-dimensional graph forms often fail to communicate as their maker intended – or so one assumes.
Tuesday 9 May was a busy news day. In the space of a few hours, journalists had two major stories to contend with: the firing of FBI director James Comey, and the retirement of US Census Bureau director John Thompson.
No matter the field, if a researcher is collecting data of any kind, at some point he is going to have to analyze it. And odds are he’ll turn to statistics to figure out what the data can tell him.