January 17, 2013

Up-Goer Five biostatistics edition

Inspired by the XKCD cartoon describing the Saturn V rocket (US Space Team’s Up Goer Five) using only the 1000 most common words in English, people are now writing descriptions of their jobs.   Here’s mine:

I work with doctors who study how to avoid people being sick, especially in their hearts. It is easy to confuse different reasons for being sick, and I use numbers to help the doctors understand if the real cause is what they guess. I also study how to decide what numbers to get and from how many people, so that we can be sure, but not use too much money or time. I need to use a computer because there are lots of numbers to study, and I write stuff so the computer can help other people plan and use numbers to find things out. 

Also, there are lots of cool jobs for people who use numbers to help people find things out, so lots of students want to learn how. At my school, we (try to) help them learn.

This description has been brought to you by “the year for people all over the world to talk about using numbers to find things out”.

[Update: there’s a Storify list of these taken from Twitter. We’re on it thanks to Brendon’s tweet]


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »