Florence Nightingale and the politicians’ pigeon holes: using data for the good of society

This lecture is part of the Florence Nightingale Bicentenary celebrations and will be followed by a special panel session with Professor Deborah Ashby, Professor David Spiegelhalter and Professor David Cox about the role of statistics in society. Both events will run as a Zoom Webinar.

Florence Nightingale, best known as the Lady with the Lamp, is recognised as a pioneering and passionate statistician. She was also passionate about education, having argued successfully with her parents to be allowed to study mathematics, and later nursing, herself. More widely, she offered opinions on the education of children, soldiers, army doctors, and nurses, as well as railing against the ‘enforced idleness’ of women. A particular concern was the lack of statistical literacy among politicians. As we celebrate the bicentenary of her birth, the need for education in statistical and data skills shows no signs of abating. What advice would Florence Nightingale offer were she here today?