Category Archives: Importance of Statistics


“In our case in Rwanda, we are determined to engender a statistics culture…. We are not only talking of professional statisticians in central statistics bureaus; rather, a whole range of policy makers, business operators, civil society, and indeed, engendering a culture of statistics across the board.”

(From a 2007 speech made by His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda)


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Worthy Point-of-View

The following passage appeared in a recent article in The New York Times.

“The rising stature of statisticians [comes as] a byproduct of the recent explosion of digital data. In field after field, computing and the Web are creating new realms of data to explore…. It is the size of the data sets on the Web that opens new worlds of discovery. Traditionally, social sciences tracked people’s behavior by interviewing or surveying them. ‘But the Web provides this amazing resource for observing how millions of people interact,’ said Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist and social networking researcher at Cornell.”

To read the full NYT article (entitled “For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics”), go to

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In many educational settings, there’s a big emphasis these days on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Because none of STEM’s 4 letters refers directly to statistics, you might think that stats is unimportant.

Bad thought!

Statistics is a branch of mathematics. An important branch! In fact, some believe that it’s the most useful part of applied mathematics. Here’s what Sardar & Ravetz say (p. 152) in their recent book, AN INTRO TO MATHEMATICS:

The most common point where mathematics impinges on the lives of ordinary citizens is in statistics.”

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In this 3-minute video, Arthur Benjamin gives an engaging “Ted-talk” on educational reform.

Although Benjamin is a famous magician, he uses no tricks, deception, or slight-of-hand maneuvers while sharing his opinion that a critical component of education needs a different goal.

Is Benjamin qualified to offer an opinion on the STEM-related element of education he discusses? If you wish, check out his credentials at  Arthur Benjamin bio. You’ll likely be quite impressed

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