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Kettering, UM, MSU, Others Celebrate International Year of Statistics in 2013

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Part of the Kettering University campus in Flint.

Part of the Kettering University campus in Flint.

FLINT — 2013 is the International Year of Statistics, and students at Kettering University will be involved in numerous projects tied to their courses and addressing industrial history and demographic development of Flint.

The activities will culminate in 2014 in an international conference on recent achievements in statistical methods and tool for applications in urban analysis for educational purposes.
The title of the conference is “One City, 100 Years Under Variability.” The best student projects will be posted on Kettering’s Web site and made available for the public. The public will be invited to register and attend the conference.

Kettering will join more than 1,400 organizations in 111 countries to promote the International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013), a worldwide initiative that will highlight the contributions of the statistics field to finding solutions to global challenges.
 
The goals of this awareness campaign are to increase public understanding of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society, and to nurture statistics as a profession, especially among high-school and college students.

Statistics — the science of learning from data and of measuring, controlling and communicating uncertainty — is much more than numbers on sports pages. Statistical science has powerful and far-reaching effects on everyone, yet most people are unaware of how it improves their lives, according to Kettering mathematics professor Boyan Dimitrov. 

“For most people, statistics is an invisible science,” Dimitrov said. “Through this yearlong, worldwide awareness campaign, we will remove the veil that cloaks statistics from the public consciousness.”

Other Michigan universities supporting the International Year of Statistics include Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Nationally, the long supporter list includes Cornell, Duke, Harvard and Princeton. See the entire list at: www.statistics2013.org/iyos/participants.cfm.

Examples of the impact of statistics abound in our society. For instance, statistics predicts weather and other natural hazards, powers Internet search engines and marketing campaigns, discovers and develops new drugs and makes the world secure and sustainable.

Throughout the last two centuries, statistics was indispensable in confirming many of humankind’s greatest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs, such as the Higgs-Boson particle (often referred to as the “God particle,” an elementary particle predicted almost 50 years ago to exist) and the agricultural Green Revolution.

Today, statistics is improving the quality of human life on the world’s major continents:
Africa – Statistical analysis is reversing the cycle of poverty by improving literacy.
Asia – Transportation infrastructure is being improved based on statistical models of people flow.
Australia – Statistics was key in catching drug cheats during the 27th Olympic Games in 2000.
Europe – Statistical science is a critical tool in planning efficient recycling systems.
North America – Statistics is synthesizing evidence that improves treatments for heart
conditions.
South America – Statistical methods are helping to feed the world by identifying new crop varieties in breeding experiments.

A new academic research by J. T. Brophy from University of Windsor, Canada, on female workers in in Ontario’s Essex and Kent counties suggests elevated risk of breast cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals associated with the plastic industry.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that “In the United States, an estimated 150,000 female workers in the plastics and synthetic rubber industries are likely exposed to many of the same chemicals as the women in Windsor, including polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, plastic; acrylonitrile; formaldehyde and styrene.”

Said Dimitrov: “Our world is increasingly data-rich and data-dependent. Statistical analysis extracts information from this voluminous data to form the basis for decision-making in all types of organizations. Without statistics, life would be very different. Lots of human and society experience would have been lost.”

Central features of the Statistics 2013 awareness campaign are its Web site, www.statistics2013.org, and an informative two-and-a-half-minute video — Why Statistics Is Important to You — that explains how statistics improves the lives of the world’s seven billion people.

More at www.kettering.edu.

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