Pickard Award Lecture and Reception: Nicholas Horton


Thursday, September 29, 2016, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


Science Center Hall A

Click here to watch the 2016 Pickard Award Lecture, featuring Professor Nicholas Horton.

We are pleased to announce that Professor Nicholas Horton of Amherst College has been chosen as the 2016 Pickard Lecturer. Congratulations! For those who may not know about the award, you can learn more about it at http://www.stat.harvard.edu/Academics/PickardAwards/. The event poster for Professor Horton's talk is available here.

Congratulations also to Professor Brian Healy, who will be awarded the Pickard Award for Teaching and Mentoring, and to PhD Students Robin Gong and Iavor Bojinov and Concentrator Matt DiSorbo, who will be honored as Pickard Teaching Fellows.

Professor Horton will present his talk, "Big Ideas to Help Statistics Students Learn to 'Think with Data.'"

Abstract: This is an exciting time to be a statistician. The contribution of the discipline of statistics (the science of learning from data) to scientific knowledge is widely recognized.  But there are challenges as well as opportunities in this new world of data.  In this talk, I will discuss a number of questions and big ideas with major implications for how we teach statistics and data science.  All too often we teach two-sample comparisons when the true relationship depends on other factors. In a world of found data, what issues of design and confounding are needed to disentangle complex relationships?  What theoretical foundations are needed for statisticians?  Can the long list of mathematical prerequisites for this course be reconsidered?  Statistics is increasingly a 'team sport.'  How do we teach students to work effectively in groups and communicate their results?  In an era of increasingly big data, it is imperative that students develop data-related capacities, beginning with the introductory course. How do we integrate these precursors to data science into our curricula—early and often?  By fostering more multi-variable thinking, teaching about confounding, developing simulation-based problem solving, and building data-related skills, we can help to ensure that statisticians are fully engaged in data science and the analysis of the abundance of data now available to us.

Nicholas Horton received his doctorate in Biostatistics from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in 1999. He is a Professor of Statistics at Amherst College, with methodologic research interests in longitudinal regression models and missing data methods. He received the ASA Waller Education Ward in 2009, the William Warde Mu Sigma Rho Education Award in 2014, and the MAA Hogg Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. He has published more than 150 papers, co-authored a series of three books on statistical computing, and was co-PI on the NSF funded Project MOSAIC. Nick is a Fellow of the ASA, served as a member of the ASA Board, and chairs the ASA Section on Statistical Education and the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. You can read more here: https://www.amherst.edu/people/facstaff/nhorton.