Lecture Will Explore Roles of Science and Statistics in Government

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The Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office is to deliver a special lecture in Worcester next week.

Professor Bernard Silverman’s lecture, titled ‘Science and Statistics in Government and beyond’, will describe some of his work and demonstrate how science influences and informs Government policy. Professor Silverman will also consider what should be the right approach to using evidence in areas where there are strong values and convictions.

The lecture is the seventh in the annual Worcester Lecture series, which is a partnership between the University of Worcester and Worcester Cathedral aimed at celebrating and contributing to Worcester’s rich cultural heritage.

Taking place at Worcester Cathedral, on Tuesday, May 10 at 6pm, the lecture will offer an interesting insight into the use of science and statistics within Government, from tackling crime, managing migration and the boarder, to preventing and countering terrorism and extremism.

Professor Silverman will also reflect on the positive contribution that statistics have made to human welfare and to good government, but also on the anxieties that people have always had about being the subjects of large scale statistical surveys, particularly as “big data” has become so important recently. Finally, he will reflect briefly on his position as an Anglican priest in a particularly secular employment as the Home Office’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

Professor Silverman is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Social Sciences. In his present role Professor Silverman provides impartial advice to the Home Secretary, ministers and officials across the whole range of scientific (including social scientific) disciplines relevant to Home Office business. He has also headed the Home Office Science organisation and brings his personal expertise on scientific issues across government, externally and internationally.

Professor Silverman has held a number of senior academic appointments and is a past President of the Royal Statistical Society and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (USA). He was Master of St Peter’s College, Oxford, from 2003 to 2009. He has won leading awards and honorary degrees for his scientific work.

Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester, said: “Professor Silverman is a distinguished government advisor. This promises to be a most interesting and enlightening lecture. We are delighted that the annual Worcester Lecture series has grown to be such a successful an integral part of Worcester’s heritage.”

The Dean of Worcester Cathedral, the Very Rvd Dr Peter Atkinson, added: “I warmly welcome Professor Silverman to Worcester Cathedral. As priest, statistician and senior public figure, his lecture will cover a fascinating range.”