Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning 16: Real-Life Statistics: Your Chance for Happiness (or Misery)

EMR 16 slide

The idea for "Real-Life Statistics: Your Chance for Happiness" was first conceived in 2005, and the "Happy Team" was formed. This goal of this team was to create a new innovative course that teaches statistics by applying it to real-life topics that make students happy. In 2008, the course was offered for the first time as STAT 105, a version with a prerequisite. Due to popular demand, the prerequisite was dropped, and the class is now offered as a general education course, EMR 16. Here is the trailer for the current course. Here also is a summary of the history and design of the predecessor course STAT 105.

The catalog description reads, "Discover an appreciation of statistical principles and reasoning via 'Real-Life Modules' that can make you rich or poor (financial investments), loved or lonely (on-line dating), healthy or ill (clinical trials), satisfied or frustrated (chocolate/wine tasting) and more. Designed for those for whom this may be their only statistics course as well as those who want to be inspired to learn more from a subject that intimately affects their chance for happiness (or misery) in life."

Each semester, EMR 16 has a special Grand Finale Lecture to conclude the semester, which are listed below.




November 29, 2012

David Wishart, University of St Andrews

The Flavor of Whisky

November 30, 2011

Erez Lieberman Aiden
& Jean-Baptiste Michel
, Harvard University/Google

Culturomics: Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books

December 7, 2010

David Wishart, University of St Andrews

Constructing a Flavor Chart and Taxonomy of Single Malt Whiskies

April 28, 2010

Dmitri Tymoczko, Princeton University

What Makes Music Sound Good?

April 29, 2009

Robert Bell, AT&T Labs

The Netflix Prize: The Quest for $1,000,000

April 30, 2008

David Leonhardt, The New York Times

It's Another Record High! The Use and Misuse of Statistics in Everyday Life

Additional Notes

as part of its educational column The Answer Sheet: A School Survival Guide for Parents (and Everyone Else).

(No longer offered.)