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
Gender pay gaps and how to learn a language
Gender Pay Gap
This week the Office for National Statistics has published analysis trying to find out why it is that on average women are paid less than men in specific industries and occupations. We examine their findings, as well as taking a look at the current discussion about equal pay at the BBC.
Alcohol reaction times
We take a look at a study that suggests that people's reaction speeds are affected over time by regular drinking. It recommends that official guidelines for the amount of alcohol consumed a week should be lowered. But what does the evidence show?
Bus announcements - when is too many?
Transport for London has introduced a new announcement on its buses to warn travellers that the bus is about to move. We discuss the benefit of such messages.
How many words do you need to speak a language?
Ein bier bitte? Loyal listener David made a new year's resolution to learn German. Three years later, that's about as far as he's got. Keen to have something to aim for, he asked More or Less how many words you really need to know in order to speak a language. We find out with help from Professor Stuart Webb, and put Tim through his paces to find out how big his own English vocabulary is.
- 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
Uncertainty within the Realm of Statistics
Mathematician and tutor, Katie Chicot, questions the role of "certainty" within the realm of statistical data. She interviews Carol Calvert on the issue, following her talk entitled 'Data – love the uncertainty'.Read now ❯Uncertainty within the Realm of Statistics
Tony Hirst and Hans Rosling introduce us to visualising development data and explore bar charts, line charts and scatter graphs.Watch now ❯An introduction to visualising development data
Is there anything sinister in the statistics which appears to show left-handed people die before their time?Read now ❯Diary of a data sleuth: When the data you don't collect affects the data you do
Study with the OU
From economic policy to scientific advancement, mathematics is indispensable to modern life. This degree course will give you a good understanding of pure and applied mathematics at an advanced level, and enhance your career prospects in a huge array of fields. You’ll cover a wide range of topics, from the abstract to how mathematics is used in the real world, and develop a secure understanding of mathematical concepts and approaches. Through your study of the BSc (Honours) Mathematics you’ll gain:Learn more ❯BSc (Honours) Mathematics
Mathematics and statistics play an important role in almost every area of life, and are at the heart of advances in science and technology. They’re also indispensable problem-solving and decision-making tools in many areas of life. The BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics will equip you for a wide range of careers, from engineering to accountancy. You’ll gain a good knowledge of probability and statistics alongside choices in modern pure mathematics or mathematical methods and modelling, together with experience of using relevant software packages. This degree course will also help you:Learn more ❯BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Statistics
This degree covers an equal amount of topics in mathematics and science, specialising in applied mathematics and physics at Level 2 and Level 3. You’ll obtain a secure understanding of physical concepts together with a sound understanding of the mathematics that underlies the physics.Learn more ❯BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
You might not realise it, but maths is an essential component of healthcare. In fact, sloppy calculations can have fatal consequences. This free course, Using numbers and handling data, is designed for those contemplating a future in the health services industry.Learn more ❯Using numbers and handling data
Modern society is often referred to as 'the information society' - but how can we make sense of all the information we are bombarded with? In this free course, Visualisation: Visual representations of data and information, you will learn how to interpret, and in some cases create, visual representations of data and information that help us to see things in a different way.Learn more ❯Visualisation: Visual representations of data and information
This free course, Exploring data: graphs and numerical summaries, will introduce you to a number of ways of representing data graphically and of summarising data numerically. You will learn the uses for pie charts, bar charts, histograms and scatterplots. You will also be introduced to various ways of summarising data and methods for assessing location and dispersion.Learn more ❯Exploring data: Graphs and numerical summaries
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.