The Friends of Cam Sight are delighted to present an evening with Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter who will be giving a talk on 'Communicating health risks and scientific uncertainty' on Wednesday 4 March. 

Whilst the title might appear rather technical David comments that it "won’t be technical at all". The talk will be very entertaining if previous occasions are anything to go by and there will be an opportunity to talk to David who is a delightful person.

Booking at a suggested donation of £15 per head, to include wine, soft drink and canapés.


Communicating health risks and scientific uncertainty

It is claimed we live in a ‘post-truth’ society in which emotional responses dominate 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?

Professor David will talk about formats for communicating quantifiable health risks using 'expected frequencies', and demonstrate user-friendly interfaces for predictions of the potential benefits and harms of treatments for breast or prostate cancer.  But can we communicate deeper uncertainty about facts, numbers, or scientific hypotheses without losing trust and credibility? Randomised experiments suggest this may be possible, but there is still a challenge to adequately communicate the limitations in the underlying data.


Biography Brief

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter is Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the University of Cambridge, which aims to improve the way that statistical evidence is used by health professionals, patients, lawyers and judges, media and policy-makers.  He advises organisations and government agencies on risk communication and is a regular media commentator on statistical issues, with a particular focus on communicating uncertainty.

His background is in medical statistics, and he has over 200 refereed publications and is co-author of 6 textbooks, as well as The Norm Chronicles (with Michael Blastland), and Sex by Numbers. He works extensively with the media, and presented the BBC4 documentaries “Tails you Win: the Science of Chance”, the award-winning “Climate Change by Numbers”, and in 2011 came 7th in an episode of BBC1’s Winter Wipeout.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005, and knighted in 2014 for services to medical statistics. He was President of the Royal Statistical Society for 2017-2018.  His bestselling book, The Art of Statistics, was published in March 2019.

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Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter talk

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