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Statisticians at War and Peace

I remember when few years ago visiting an exhibition and seeing Florence Nightingale’s shoes the excitement on my face was poorly understood by most of the visitors when passing by the two little objects. For me, she is portraying the woman statistician, a raw model that fascinated me with her Rose diagram, even today a beautiful example of data visualisation.


Stella Cunliffe MBE is another figure that I cherish: she set up other milestones for women in Statistics— the first female Director of Statistics at the Home Office and the first female president of the Royal Statistical Society.


You will wonder why I would mentioned them. They are both women as I, both contributed to the Statistics and both were involved in wars: Nightingale in the Crimean War and Cunliffe in the WWII.

As a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, I thought that the conference “The impact of statisticians during the Second World War” held on the 21st April would be very interesting to attend. I am very eager to hear from Eileen Magnello (University College London), John Aldrich (University of Southampton), Helen Joyce (The Economist), Jose Harris (Oxford University) and Jean-Guy Prèvost (Université du Québec à Montréal) about the statisticians, actuaries and economists and their work during the WWII.

In 2008, a friend of mine asked me if I will find work during the financial crisis. I replied to him: “Statisticians will always find work, no matter of the circumstances. Even at war, we will count the corpses and how much ammunition its needed”. I hope that I will never be caught in a war, but I strongly believe that we can learn a lot from history and apply those innovations during peaceful times.

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