Synopses & Reviews
Statistical ideas and methods underlie just about every aspect of modern life. From randomized clinical trials in medical research, to statistical models of risk in banking and hedge fund industries, to the statistical tools used to probe vast astronomical databases, the field of statistics has become centrally important to how we understand our world. But the discipline underlying all these is not the dull statistics of the popular imagination. Long gone are the days of manual arithmetic manipulation. Nowadays statistics is a dynamic discipline, revolutionized by the computer, which uses advanced software tools to probe numerical data, seeking structures, patterns, and relationships. This Very Short Introduction sets the study of statistics in context, describing its history and giving examples of its impact, summarizes methods of gathering and evaluating data, and explains the role played by the science of chance, of probability, in statistical methods. The book also explores deep philosophical issues of induction--how we use statistics to discern the true nature of reality from the limited observations we necessarily must make.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
About the Author
David Hand is Professor of Statistics at Imperial College, London, where he is head of the Statistics Section in the Mathematics Department and head of the Mathematics in Banking and Finance Programme of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences. His most recent book is Information Generation: How
Data Rule Our World. He launched the journal Statistics and Computing, and has been elected President of the Royal Statistical Society for 2008 and 2009. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1999 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003. He has received
various awards and prizes for his research, and acts as a consultant to a wide range of organisations, including governments, banks, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing industry, and health service providers.