Sir David Spiegelhalter
David John Spiegelhalter
16 August 1953
Barnstaple, Devon, England
|Thesis||Adaptive inference using finite mixture models (1978)|
|Doctoral advisor||Adrian Smith|
Sir David John Spiegelhalter(born 16 August 1953) is a British statistician and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. From 2007 to 2018 he was Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Spiegelhalter is an ISI highly cited researcher.
He is currently Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge. On 27 May 2020 he joined the board of the UK Statistics Authority as a non-executive director for a period of three years.
Spiegelhalter was born on 16 August 1953: his name means "Mirror holder" in German. He was educated at Barnstaple Grammar School, a state grammar school in Barnstaple, Devon, from 1963 to 1970. He then studied mathematics at Keble College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1974. He moved to University College London, where he gained his Master of Science (MSc) degree in statistics in 1975 and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in mathematical statistics in 1978. His doctoral thesis was titled "Adaptive Inference Using Finite Mixture Models", and was supervised by Adrian Smith.
Spiegelhalter was research assistant in Brunel University in 1976 and then visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, 1977–78. After his PhD, he was a research assistant for the Royal College of Physicians; he was based at the University of Nottingham, where his PhD supervisor, Adrian Smith, had been appointed a professor.
From 1981 he was at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge. He has been an honorary lecturer at the University of Hong Kong since 1991. He has also been a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and the World Anti-Doping Agency. 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.
Between 2007 and 2012 he divided his work between the Cambridge Statistical Laboratory (three-fifths) and the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit (two-fifths). He left the MRC in March 2012 and worked full-time at the Statistical Laboratory as the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk until his retirement. He remains chair of the Winton Centre. As of 2012 Spiegelhalter has supervised 7 PhD students.
In 2012, Spiegelhalter hosted the BBC Four documentary Tails You Win: The Science of Chance which described the application of probability in everyday life. He also presented a 2013 Cambridge Science Festival talk, How to Spot a Shabby Statistic at the Babbage Lecture Theatre in Cambridge.
He was elected as President of the Royal Statistical Society, and took up the position on 1 January 2017.
In March 2020 Spiegelhalter launched a podcast called Risky Talk where he interviews experts in risk and evidence communication on topics like genetics, nutrition, climate change and immigration. He appeared on BBC Desert Island Discs on 6 February 2022.
Spiegelhalter's research interests are in statistics including
Spiegelhalter was knighted in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to statistics.
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