He was chosen from a list of nominees put forward by RSS fellows to the President Nominating Committee and recommended to Council, which endorsed the nomination at the end of April.
One of Britain's best known statisticians, David is Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory (StatsLab) at the University of Cambridge since 2007. He works tirelessly to promote greater understanding of statistics in the media. He presented the BBC TV programme, Tails you win: the science of chance and has authored a number of books on statistics and probability, including the recently published 'Sex by Numbers' and The Norm Chronicles (with Michael Blastland).
He has been a guest columnist in the Times on subjects as diverse as the risks of ecstasy and horse-riding, swine flu and other topics; the Guardian on uncertainty in forecasting; and the New Scientist on over-reaction to risk. He heads up the team that runs the website Understanding Uncertainty and his YouTube video, Professor Risk, has been watched more than 90,000 times.
It's not just media work that David is known for: his research in Bayesian analysis and clinical trials has led to him being an ISI highly cited researcher; in the 1990s he led the Medical Research Council team that developed the statistical modelling software WinBUGS. He played a leading role in the public inquiries into children's heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the murders by Harold Shipman. More recently, he has worked with the government chief scientific advisor, Sir Mark Walport, on his first annual report, on Innovation and Risk. He is also active in education, having worked with the Millennium Mathematics Project in Cambridge, to get more inspired teaching material into schools.
David became an RSS fellow in 1975 and was awarded a Guy Medal in Bronze by the Society in 1985 and a Guy Medal in Silver in 1994. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2005 and was knighted in the 2014 birthday honours list for services to statistics.