The International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013)

IMS President Hans Künsch writes:

2013 is a special year for IMS since we celebrate not only the International Year of Statistics, but also the special year for Mathematics of Planet Earth. This gives us unique opportunities to promote the importance of our fields to other scientific communities, to decision makers in politics, business and industry, to students, and to the general public.

We all have experienced the fascination and joy that the analysis of chance, data and uncertainty brings. We are aware of the astonishing achievements that have been made in our field and of the impact and importance it has on our society. We are also convinced that our field can contribute much to solve the challenges that we currently face. However, not all of this is recognized in other scientific areas and among the general public. In particular, statistics is still too often viewed as a dull, marginal or dubious activity with a potential for manipulation and distortion. Hence the International Year of Statistics gives us a platform to reach out and present a more accurate view of our field. The year of Mathematics of Planet Earth allows us in addition to present the contributions of probability and statistics to modeling earthquakes, weather and climate, evolution, epidemics, agriculture, water and other processes.

This is best done at the grassroots level. It would be great if many IMS members could contribute, for example by writing articles for the press, or giving lectures to wider audiences. But even if you don’t have the capacity or ideas for special activities, it will already make a difference if you mention the celebration of the International Year of Statistics and the year of Mathematics of Planet Earth whenever you have a chance to do so. In particular you can link your webpage to the webpages for these events: http://www.statistics2013.org and http://mpe2013.org

IMS will put all of its ongoing activities under the umbrella of the International Year of Statistics—and, where appropriate, Mathematics of Planet Earth. In addition, we will have a number of special lectures and co-sponsored meetings and special issues of our journals dedicated to this special year. Stay tuned for more announcements!

I look forward to a unique and exciting year for probability and statistics.