Limitations of batsmen rankings revealed

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Current systems for ranking the best batsmen in test cricket have been bowled out by a new study. In a paper which could give sleepless night to cricket statisticians all over the world, researchers from Newcastle and Northumbria universities delivered their ‘out’ verdict to current methods after analysing the two most…

The weird world of one-sided objects

A Mobius strip. Credit: cosma/shutterstock.com You have most likely encountered one-sided objects hundreds of times in your daily life – like the universal symbol for recycling, found printed on the backs of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. This mathematical object is called a Mobius strip. It has fascinated environmentalists, artists, engineers, mathematicians and many others…

Sir James Mirrlees obituary

Probably the finest moment in the working life of Sir James Mirrlees came in 1968 when, he recalled, “I finally cracked the optimal tax problem … it came in a flash and was very satisfactory.” Mirrlees, who has died aged 82, arrived at his conclusions about taxation in the middle of Harold Wilson’s government, when…

Solving real-world problems

The INLA approach developed by Rue and colleagues has been used in the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), which disseminates free, accurate, up-to-date information on malaria, aims to limit the spread of the disease. Credit: MALARIA ATLAS PROJECT Tools developed by Håvard Rue have transformed data analysis, interpretation and communication, and are applied broadly: from modeling…

Statistician examines Beatles mystery

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Mark Glickman is Fixing a Hole in Beatles lore. A senior lecturer in statistics, Glickman worked with Ryan Song, a former statistics student at Harvard, and Jason Brown, a professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, to tackle an enduring Beatles mystery—who wrote “In My Life”? As most Beatles fans…