SSA Victoria – Belz Lecture and Dinner

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You are invited to attend the Victorian Belz Lecture and Dinner for 2014.

SSA Victoria – Belz Lecture and Dinner 2014

Tuesday 28th October 2014

The Maurice H. Belz Lecture is an annual lecture established by the Statistical Society to honour the work of Professor Belz in establishing and advancing the science of statistics in Australia. Maurice Belz was the Foundation Professor of Statistics at the University of Melbourne (1955 to 1963).

The 2014 Belz Lecture will be given by the current President of the Statistical Society, Professor John Henstridge, on Tuesday 28th October.  Further details of the lecture are included below.


The Statistician as an Expert: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Statistics

Statisticians regard themselves as experts in various aspects of data – collections, perhaps management, definitely analysis and sometimes presentation. This was reasonably clear to earlier statisticians who had a focus on solving real life problems. Figures like Fisher and Box were classic examples of such generalist statisticians. Today there is greater specialisation in the profession, so there are individuals and indeed institutions that specialise in one area and can be weak on others. This is often described as focusing on a particular expertise.

It is appropriate to ask whether, in focusing on specialist expertise, statisticians have lost their strength as experts in solving problems. John Henstridge argues that, as a profession, they have to some extent lost the excitement that comes from solving significant real world problems, and this has been to the detriment in attracting younger members.

In this talk he will draw from several examples of his own work as a legal expert witness to illustrate that statisticians are indeed well equipped to be valuable experts. The legal context has very clear expectations of what an expert is and how they are expected to work. They have a far less clear view of what a statistician is. While it is not reasonable for much of their work to be of this nature (“professional expert witnesses” are somewhat suspect), it does provide a vision of how statisticians might see themselves.


About Professor Henstridge

Dr John Henstridge, Principal Consultant Statistician and Managing Director of Data Analysis Australia, has over thirty years’ experience as a consultant in both industry and academia. His original work was in statistical signal processing methods but he currently also contributes in a number of other areas of statistics. John founded Data Analysis Australia in 1988 and has managed its growth into the largest commercial group of mathematicians and statisticians in Australia, with clients in both industry and government. John is a Fellow and Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society, a member of the International Association for Statistical Computing, a member of the Australian Mathematical Society, an Accredited Statistician of the Statistical Society of Australia and a past President of the Geostatistical Association of Australasia. John is an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at the University of Western Australia and is currently President of the Statistical Society of Australia and a board member of Science and Technology Australia.


The Belz Dinner

The Belz Dinner follows the lecture.  This year’s three-course meal with wine will be at University House, Professors Walk, The University of Melbourne.  The all-inclusive cost is $50 per head or $25 per head for student members.  The cost of an SSA student membership is $20.

For your convenience, the booking form is available here.

Please make your booking for the dinner as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Sandy Clarke
SSA Victorian Branch

SSA Victoria - Belz Lecture and Dinner
When: 28/10/2014
Time: 5:45 pm - 7:15 pm
Cost: Free
Location: JH Michell Theatre, Richard Berry Building,
University of Melbourne,

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