Best Jobs 2015

Mathematics and statistics are essential skills for most of the best six jobs in 2015, according to the latest rankings by Here are the top six jobs: 1. Actuary 2. Audiologist 3. Mathematician 4. Statistician 5. Biomedical Engineer 6. Data Scientist For more information see also the… Continue reading »

The James Function

Like many mathematicians, I’m happy when I can combine my work with my other passions. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I didn’t realize that all those games I watched when I was young was preparing me for a very productive career in sabermetrics, the science of applying math and… Continue reading »

Sweet treats and probability

I love baking. More importantly, I love sweet things. However, I can’t and/or shouldn’t eat a full batch of cookies, bars, or brownies.  I bake for my students instead. I use homemade sweet treats as prizes for going above and beyond the course work. This semester in my Stat 101 class,… Continue reading »

Best Jobs 2014

According to the latest ranking by, the best four jobs of 2014 are: 1. Mathematician. 2. Tenured professor. 3. Statistician. 4. Actuary. (The worst was lumberjack.)… Continue reading »

Statistics Major Approved

The Faculty voted to approve a Major in Statistics. See the report and the editorial in the Williams Record. Description of the Major in Statistics: The major in Statistics is designed to meet three goals: to introduce some of the central ideas of information and data science,… Continue reading »

De Veaux Interviewed on WAMC

  Professor Richard De Veaux was interviewed on the public radio WAMC Speakers Corner by Alan Chartock. What Chartock called the data mining crisis De Veaux called the long-term data mining evolution. Can one use the vast amount of available data to figure out whatever you… Continue reading »

2013 International Year of Statistics

2013 is the International Year of Statistics! What, you didn’t know??? It’s actually pretty cool: there are nearly 2000 organizations – universities, government agencies, schools, societies and research institutions – from over 120 countries participating in the activities. Here’s a map (from Smith College students Sarah Alper and Brittany… Continue reading »

Measuring the Immeasurable?

In statistics, we draw conclusions from data. But to get data, we need to be able to measure the variable(s) that we are interested in. Measuring can be very crude (say, a trait is absent or present) or rather sophisticated (the expression levels of large numbers of genes). In the… Continue reading »

The Hot Hand

The hot hand is a term used in basketball to describe a player making a series of successful throws at the basket, i.e., getting “hot”. But it seems that we, as humans, are too fast at jumping at the conclusion that someone is “hot” just because we saw… Continue reading »

Like Risk? Be an Actuary!

Do you like risk? Or, more precisely, do you like to assess and quantify risk and put a price on it (the premium that insurance collects)? If yes, consider becoming an actuary. This profession almost always makes the top 10 in the various best jobs lists (like this… Continue reading »