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Award-winning statistician and author Howard Wainer to speak at KU

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Renowned statistician and author Howard Wainer will present next week at the University of Kansas, discussing the power of effective written and visual communication.

The Achievement and Assessment Institute (AAI) at KU, one of the university’s 12 designated research institutes, is relaunching its AAI Speaker Series. The series features “noted individuals in the fields of assessment, statistics, education, and more,” according to a news release.

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Wainer, who has contributed to the fields of statistics, psychometrics and statistical graphics, is set to contribute to the returning series.

“We hope the series creates dialogues and inspires students, researchers, and educators of all kinds,” Neal Kingston, AAI director and university distinguished professor, said in the release. “As with much of our outreach work, through this series we seek to build bridges across different sciences and arts.”

Wainer has received numerous academic awards and honors, including being named an American Statistical Association fellow in 1985 and an American Educational Research Association fellow in 2008. He has written nearly 25 books and authored hundreds of articles and book chapters, according to the release.

Wainer’s most recent book, “A History of Data Visualization and Graphic Communication,” co-authored with Michael Friendly and published by the Harvard University Press in 2021, provides “a comprehensive history of data visualization — its origins, rise, and effects on the ways we think about and solve problems,” according to the news release. 

His previous book published by the Cambridge University Press in 2016, “Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist,” was listed in the top six books “for data geeks” by the Financial Times in London.

As part of the AAI Speaker Series, Wainer is scheduled to give two talks on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at KU’s Joseph R. Pearson Hall, 1122 West Campus Road in Lawrence. Both talks pull on Wainer’s recent work. 

The first talk, “Civis, Smartphones, and Score Report: How Effective Communication Requires the Same Qualities of Being an Effective Citizen,” will be at 1 p.m. in Room 201 at JRP. The second, “Graphs as Poetry: C.J. Minard, W.E.B. Du Bois and Visualizing the Great Migration,” will be at 3 p.m. in Room 150 at JRP.

A small reception will follow the latter talk, according to the release.

Both in-person events are free and will also be livestreamed. Those interested in tuning in online can register for either or both livestreams at this link. For more information about these events, visit this link.

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