RSS writes to Ofqual about its maths skills report

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The Royal Statistical Society welcomes the recent publication of the Ofqual Mathematical Skills Working Group report: The assessment of mathematical skills in AS/A level business and AS/A level psychology and has responded to Ofqual offering expertise on continuously improving standards of qualifications and assessments of statistical and data skills across the curriculum.

Sharon Witherspoon, RSS vice president for education and statistical literacy, wrote:

Prominent statisticians elected FRS and appointed to key RAE role

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Many congratulations to Professor Sarah Darby, who is now an elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). A professor of medical statistics at Oxford University and RSS fellow since 1976, Sarah is one of 51 eminent scientists to become FRS this year in recognition of their exceptional contributions to science.

Much of Sarah’s work is focused around the impact of ionising radiation on human health, such as demonstrating the impact of radiotherapy for breast cancer treatment on the risk of heart disease. This work has helped doctors to assess which patients should receive radiotherapy and who should avoid it altogether.

RSS outlines priorities regarding new National Data Guardian role

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The RSS, with significant input from members of our Medical Statistics Section, has contributed to a consultation into the priorities of the new statutory National Data Guardian (NDG) carried out by the inaugural holder of the post, Dame Fiona Caldicott. 

The NDG role was set up to help ensure that the public can trust health and care information is securely safeguarded and used appropriately by those working in healthcare, such as GPs, hospitals, care homes and any other organisations working with those services. The position was first established in November 2014 and legislation was passed in December 2018 to place the role on a statutory footing.

Edward H Simpson 1922-2019

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We are very sad to hear the news that, Edward Simpson, Bletchley Park code-breaker and the mathematician behind Simpson’s Paradox, has died aged 96. Edward was an RSS fellow since 1946.

From 1942 to 1945 he was a code breaker at Bletchley Park, where he and others broke enemy ciphers and where the world's first modern computer was developed, as he describes in this Signficance article from 2010.

New RSS special interest group on teaching statistics

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The RSS formally launched its Teaching Statistics special interest group (SIG) with an event on 3 April 2019. An all-day conference on teaching statistics in higher education was also held at the RSS on the same day, prior to the launch.  The new SIG has been formed to provide a platform to collate and disseminate ideas and best practice in the teaching of statistics. 

The group is for those teaching statistics in higher education (including postgraduate teaching assistants), post-16 education and professional training.

Tony Greenfield 1931-2019

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We are very saddened to hear of the death of former RSS vice president Tony Greenfield, the industrial statistician whose name is given to our Greenfield medal, which recognises contributions of statistical science to the manufacturing industry.

Tony started his working life as a science journalist but joined a large stainless steel company's Operations Research (OR) section at their request, because: 'The OR section is full of very clever people who write reports that we (the board) don’t understand. I want you to write interpretations for us.' While there he tackled the ‘job shop problem’, a topic covered by many academic papers at the time. 

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