David Spiegelhalter

Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge

David Spiegelhalter believes that if you can calculate risk you can make better judgments and he has made it his life?s work to understand and communicate uncertainty better. He is a first class speaker who turns statistics into information you can use. When you have heard him speak you will understand the world better.

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Speaker Profile

About David Spiegelhalter

  • Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk - Cambridge University
  • Author of The Norm Chronicles - a highly readable book about risk
  • Awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to medical statistics

David Spiegelhalter is an enthusiastic communicator who takes statistics and turns them into fascinating stories about calculating risk in order to live our lives better.

David began his career studying maths and went on to make a name for himself in medical statistics - particularly the use of Bayesian methods in clinical trials, health technology assessment and drug safety. He was Senior Scientist in the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit and gave evidence to the Shipman Inquiry as well as leading the statistics team in the enquiry into activities at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

As the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk he has been given the freedom to expand his studies to learn more about public and personal risk and to communicate his findings in wider society. He is dedicated to improving the way risk and uncertainty are understood and works closely with the Millennium Mathematics Project to spread understanding of statistics in schools.

He advises organisations on risk communication, and is a regular newspaper columnist on current risk issues.

He is the author of The Norm Chronicles with Michael Blastland, a brilliantly mad and highly readable book packed with numbers and stories from the masters of risk. He also writes a blog called understanding uncertainty.

He was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to medical statistics and is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge and the Royal Society.

Speaking Topics

  • Communicating risk
  • Using probability in society
  • The role of chance
  • Living with uncertainty


Testimonial for The Norm Chronicles: "Helping people make sense of the barrage of confusing (and often misrepresented) statistics that riddle every day is a noble goal. Making the process enjoyable is a real achievement." - The Economist

Testimonial for The Norm Chronicles: "Witty and illuminating, The Norm Chronicles is essential reading for anyone wanting to know whether they should try skydiving, or accept that third glass of wine." - Orlando Bird, Financial Times

Books By David Spiegelhalter

  • Bayesian Approaches to Clinical Trials and Health-care Evaluation with Keith R. Abrams and Jonathan P. Myles 2003
  • The Norm Chronicles - Stories and numbers about danger with Michael Blastland 2013
  • The BUGS Book: A Practical Introduction to Bayesian Analysis 2012

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