## Science in Focus: The paradox of probability

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7 December 2016 24:24

**Tags:** big data, maths, mathematics, applied maths, applied mathematics, data analytics, data analysis, data scientist, data analyst, mathematician, applied mathematician, probability, statistics, odds, chances

Barely a week passes without seeing a headline proclaiming that some common food or behaviour is either associated with an increased or decreased health risk, or often both, in contradictory reports. How can it be that seemingly rigorous scientific studies can produce the exact opposite conclusions?

In this talk, Dr Stephen Woodcock takes us through some ‘probability paradoxes’ explaining how surprising, counterintuitive and often misleading results can arise. With so much data and information around us, understanding statistical models and their correct interpretation is becoming incredibly important.

## About the speaker

Dr Stephen Woodcock is an applied mathematician whose research is motivated by a drive to develop solutions and models for solving real problems in both natural and engineered systems. He is a regular contributor to outreach programs to schools and very passionate about science communication. He frequently writes for The Conversation where he applies his skills to issues as diverse as traffic congestion, game theory to Footy tipping and cricket scoring and negative gearing.

He is currently working on a diverse range of projects including coral health, facial recognition software, fertility outcomes for chlamydia patients and modelling the physical development of elite youth sportsmen.

UTS Science in Focus is a **free** public lecture series showcasing the latest research from prominent UTS scientists and researchers.

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