School of Mathematics

Public lecture: How To Gamble If You Must

The university is hosting a public lecture today to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of The Reverend Thomas Bayes, an eminent statistician and former student of The University of Edinburgh.

When the Reverend Thomas Bayes died in 1761 he left behind two revolutionary ideas: expressing our uncertainty about current or future states of the world as a probability distribution, and how to revise our probabilities in the light of experience. The talk will include some selected modern applications of these concepts, such as catching doping athletes, predicting volcanic eruptions, gambling and weather forecasting. The speaker, Professor David Spiegelhalter, will also be checking whether the audience knows how ignorant they are.

The lecture is part of a 3-day workshop in Bayesian Statistics, jointly organised by the Schools of Mathematics and Informatics.

It is wonderful to see that the local media are as excited about this event as we are, with articles in the BBC, Scottish Television, the Edinburgh Evening News, the Metro, the Daily Record and the Courier.