School of Mathematics

Ruth King gives an ICMS Public Lecture: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Bayesian Statistics

Ruth King presented a public lecture at the ICMS on the 5th February. Ruth talked about "The Rise and Fall and Rise of Bayesian Statistics" describing the basic underlying principle on which Bayesian statistics relies (Bayes Theorem) which can be expressed intuitively as "current beliefs/knowledge = past beliefs/knowledge x new information". In other words our current understanding can be regarded as an update of our previous understanding when we receive new information. For example, this is very much how our own brains understand new information - we interpret this new information in light of our experiences to date. In this talk we discussed some of the underlying principles of Bayesian statistics and its associated history - from its "birth" relating to a simple statement of the Reverend Thomas Bayes published (post-humously) in 1763, to its subsequent fall in popularity with statisticians between the 1920-1980s before its big resurgence in the 1980's onwards in to the modern day.