Statistical relics

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates. was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

The bunting was out on Tuesday for the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the first statistics department in the world at University College London! UCL was home to the great developments in statistics both before and after the department opened in 1911, with Karl Pearson as Professor of Applied Statistics, endowed by Francis Galton who had just died.

Correlation, regression, t-tests, hypothesis testing: all were developed at UCL. The whole collection of methods that some of us think are wonderful, but have also been the cause of boundless exasperation in unwilling students.

At the celebrations they handed out official photos of past students: below are two of the Understanding Uncertainty bloggers as they appeared in 1974. Spot the change.

David Spiegelhalter and Kevin McConway in their prime in 1974

Free tags: 


I think you'll find the guy on the left is Georgie Best.

Weren't you both lovely in your prime!! Jenny

Interesting that J J Sylvester studied maths (under DeMorgan) at UCL about 80 years before the stats dept was established. JJ Sylvester contributed important ideas on matrix theory and combinatorics; both of which are important today in statistics. Furthermore he taught Florence Nightingale maths (and presumably statistics) when he served at Woolwich Academy. Peter Jackson