Having fun with statistics at Cambridge Science Festival 2016

IMG_4554The MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU) was very excited to be taking part once again in one of the UK's largest science festivals, demonstrating just how fun statistics can be!

The annual Cambridge Science Festival is incredibly popular and attracts a broad range of audiences each year, with some travelling thousands of miles to see what the event has to offer. The 22nd festival did not disappoint and BSU were privileged to be part of its huge success.

This year, we took part on Saturday 12th and Sunday 20th March. We orgIMG_4540anised three interactive activities that appealed to all audiences and had simple statistical messages. Firstly, a game looking at your chances of becoming an Olympian, determined by a combination of your genes, lifestyle and randomness. This was the most popular of the activities (see image to the right). We also presented an adaptive randomisation trial testing reaction times and a biased sampling game estimating the weight of a bowl of sweets by selecting only five at random (see image at top).

Approximately 1000 adults and children visited the BSU stand over the two days. All three activities were very well received, with queues lining up to take part. Comments from visitors were very positive and there were some who had visited the stand last year and returned to see more.

IMG_4567Taking part in public engagement events like Cambridge Science Festival is an important aspect of the work BSU does. They provide a unique opportunity for the Unit's staff and students to engage with the public and communicate their research to a non-technical audience. All of the staff and students who gave up their time on a weekend to volunteer at the BSU stand thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were excited to see so many adults and children having fun with statistics.

Following the great success at Cambridge Science Festival, BSU will also be taking part in STEM Fair 2016 on Wednesday15th June and we will also be holding an open day on Wednesday 22nd June (3 - 7pm) as part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research.  For further information on both, please click on the links below.

Find out more about:

STEM Fair 2016

MRC Biostatistics Unit Open Day 2016