statistical quotes

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In honor of Pi day, here are some famous statistical quotes to add some levity or, perhaps, gravitas to your quantitative presentations.

Oldest Statistical Quote

“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.”  Isaiah 30:8

What We Thought Was the Oldest Statistical Quote

“By a small sample, we may judge of the whole piece.”  Miguel de Cervantes, from his novel, Don Quixote, written from 1605-1615.

Statistical Quotes from Famous Politicians

“There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies and statistics.”  Benjamin Disraeli, 19th Century British Prime Minister (also attributed to Mark Twain.)

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”  Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953 and estimated by historians to be responsible for killing 20 million of his citizens.

Statistical Quotes from Great Authors

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” Mark Twain, 1835-1910.

“All statistics have outliers.” Nenia Campbell, prolific, contemporary, American author.

“Regression analysis is the hydrogen bomb of the statistics arsenal.” Charles Wheelan, Journalist

“Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary a qualification for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.” H. G. Wells, British author in the early 1900’s.

Statistical Quotes from Business People

“Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it well, the Samurai.”  Jonathan Rosenberg, former Google SVP.

“I could prove God statistically.  Take the human body alone – the chances that all the functions of an individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity.”  George Gallup, 1901-1984,  American pioneer of survey sampling techniques.

Statistical Quotes from Deceased Famous Statisticians

“Errors using inadequate date are much less than those using no data at all.”  Charles Babbage (1791-1871), credited with originating the concept of a digital programmable computer.

“While nothing is more uncertain than a single life, nothing is more certain than the average duration of a thousand lives.”  Elizur Wright (1804-1885), considered the father of life insurance for his pioneering work with actuarial tables.

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanation of complex facts.  Seek simplicity and distrust it.” Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), along with Betrand Russell co-authored the landmark Principia Mathematica in 1913.

“The science of statistics is the chief instrumentality through which the progress of civilization is now measured, and by which its development hereafter will be largely controlled.”  S.N.D. North, past president of the American Statistical Association in 1910 and one of the inaugural Fellows of the ASA.

Statistical Quotes from Famous Living Statisticians

“Those who ignore statistics are condemned to reinvent it.” Bradley Efron (1938 – ), past president of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of mathematical Statistics.

“Randomization is too important to be left to chance.”  J. D. Petruccelli, Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The Very Best Statistical Quotes

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

“Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models.”

Both by George Box, (1919 – 2013), British statistician who has been called, “one of the great statistical minds of the 20th century.”

“I’m not interested in doing research and I never have been.  I’m interested in understanding which is quite a different thing.” David Blackwell (1919-2010) first black member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Interested in working or hiring in this very interesting and very important statistical world?  Contact the Data Science and Analytics Recruiters at Smith Hanley AssociatesNancy Darian, [email protected] and Paul Chatlos, [email protected].

 

 

 


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