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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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 Friday
16th February 2018 at 4:30PM
- A-levels, drowning, dress sizes
- Grenfell Tower's Death Toll
- Electric cars, school-ready and feedback
- Are natural disasters on the rise?
- Statistics abuse, Tuition fees, Beer in 1887
- Uber, EU Passports,Counting domestic violence
Missed appointments, Graduate pay, Cocaine on banknotes
Did missed appointments cost the NHS £1 billion last year?
New figures published recently suggest that the financial cost to the NHS for missed appointments was £1 billion last year. But our listenersare curious. How has this figure been worked out? And don't missed appointments actually ease the pressure on an overcrowded system?
Graduate pay - is it always higher than non-graduates' pay?
It is often claimed that if you go to university and get a degree, you will earn more than those who do not. But is that always true? We take a look to see if there are occasions when having a degree makes little difference or whether the benefit of a degree has changed over time.
How much cocaine is on a bank note?
Tim Harford speaks to Richard Sleeman who works for a firm, Mass Spec Analytical, that specialises in working out how much cocaine can be found on bank notes across the country. Do some parts of the country have more cocaine on their notes than others? Is it true that 99% of bank notes in London have cocaine on them?
Is it true that one in five can't name an author of literature?
Last year the Royal Society of Literature made this claim - but what was it based on? It turns out a polling company found that 20 percent questioned failed to name a single author. Should we be surprised? We took a look at the data.
Diet Coke Habit
The New York Times claims that Donald Trump drinks 'a dozen' Diet Cokes a day. With each can of 330ml containing 42mg of caffeine - what impact, if any, could this have on the President's health?
- Gender pay gaps and how to learn a language
- A girl's first time, shark's stomachs, prime numbers
- UN rape claims, Stalin, Mr Darcy
Copyright free: The image is a drawn diagram from an academic at the OU
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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.