More or Less was an idea born of the sense that numbers were the principal language of public argument. And yet there were few places where it was thought necessary to step back and think - in the way we often step back to think about language - about the way we use figures: what they really measure, what kind of truth, if any, they capture. Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life.
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Copyright: The BBC
18th February 2018 at 8:00PM
More or Less
Tim Harford presents BBC Radio 4's surprising and refreshing guide to statistics in the news.
Available on BBC iPlayerBBC Radio 4 on Sunday
18th February 2018 at 8:00PM
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Grenfell Tower's Death Toll
Grenfell Tower's death toll
In the early hours of June 14th a fire engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in West London. A large number of people died and in the aftermath residents, the wider public, politicians and celebrities all expressed frustration that a tragedy like this one was able to happen in 21st Century Britain.
Some people were also sceptical at the numbers of fatalities being reported by the police - and then the media. Were the police being too conservative in their estimates?
A local resident emailed the programme asking us to look into the numbers. Tim Harford talks to Commander Stuart Cundy, who oversaw the Met police operation following the fire; to ask him why it is has been so hard to establish the death toll.
Houston - we have a problem
Hurricane Harvey has caused devastation in Texas and neighbouring states. Commentators have speculated that this will be one of the costliest storms in history. We explore why this might be - could the US Government's flood insurance programme be inadvertently contributing to the problem by supporting the buildings in flood plains?
How many sexual partners do we have?
Recently on the Today programme John Humphreys said: "Thirty years ago a man would have had eight sexual partners and women three, now those averages are 12 for men and eight for women" This sparked a discussion on Twitter among our listeners. How can the number of average partners of men and women be so different? We speak to Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of Risk at the University of Cambridge.
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Study with the OU
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Dr Katie Chicot, Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Mathematics & Statistics
Katie Chicot researches infinite combinatorial structures.
Katie completed her PhD in mathematics at the University of Leeds. Desiring to bring the beauty and clarity of mathematics to a broader audience Katie became the Clothworkers’ Fellow in Mathematics at the Royal Institution. Soon after she became an Associate Lecturer with the Open University and then a Staff Tutor.
Katie is involved in many projects which bring maths to the public and schools. She is a Holgate Lecturer with the London Mathematical Society and serves on the council of the UK Mathematics Trust.
Katie has an interest in gender in STEM and has been made resources that help women to return to STEM employment such as the short course Return to STEM.
Tackling mathematical problems and encouraging others to engage with mathematical investigations are the cornerstones of Katie’s work.