Social Sciences

Numbers & the News: The 4th Edition

Now in its fourth year, and brought back by popular
demand, we are expanding the course to 10 sessions,
which will allow us to cover more topics in greater
depth. As in past years, we will explore data-centric
topics including political polls and surveys, economics,
demographics, health-care research, environmental science
and perhaps some others. This is NOT a college
statistics course, and no background in data science
is needed. Rather, we discuss how journalists explain
quantitative measures and how complex data sets are
now used in new forms of data visualization. We also
discuss the challenges of explaining risk, uncertainty
and variability. And for the first time, the course will
begin to explore some types of cognitive bias (often
called behavioral economics but actually more like psychology).
We will look at some of the ubiquitous stories
in the media that contain the phrase “a recent study
shows ....” A layman’s explanation of how the statisticians
conducting the studies come to their conclusions
will be covered along with the role of uncertainty that is
present in all such studies.

Steve Shapiro retired from Fairfax County Public
Schools, where he taught mathematics and served as
department co-chair at Falls Church High School. Prior
to his teaching career, he spent 25 years in management
positions with several leading technology companies.
He is a graduate of Tufts University and MIT’s
Sloan School of Management.

Charlie Hallahan recently retired after 41 years
with the Federal government working with economic
researchers in the Department of Agriculture and
Securities and Exchange Commission. After receiving
his PhD in mathematics from Rutgers University, he
taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and at
American University.

Additional Information

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Multiple Instructors 9/24 - 12/3 Th 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM $55.00 View