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School of Mathematics

School of Mathematics

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Statistics at the Fringe 2024

Dr Isabella Deutsch stands onstage with a sign reading 'Bayesian'

My name is Isabella Deutsch and I have just finished my PhD in Statistics at the School of Mathematics. One of my favourite aspects about my degree was talking to a whole host of different people about my research: to fellow students and academics in seminars at the University of Edinburgh, to experts at international conferences, and even to the wider public.

One such event was a particular highlight for me. I got to take part in the Mathematics Showdown at the Edinburgh Science Festival, where five mathematics PhD students were tasked to turn their research into engaging, humorous presentations for a general audience to enjoy. I absolutely loved the experience (not just because I was crowned the winner of the event) and knew that I wanted to do more of that. And what better place to continue my adventures on stage than at the largest performance art festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

If you don’t know the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, or “Fringe” for short, it is the biggest of the many festivals that take over Edinburgh in the summer. Throughout August, over 3,000 shows fill every stage, function room, and storage cupboard in the city. You get to see acrobatics, concerts, performances, and a whole lot of spoken word and stand-up comedy. Many now-famous comedians, from Phoebe Waller-Bridge to Tevor Noah, had a show at the Fringe at some point in their career.

I am proud that I get to be a part of this in 2024. Through the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CoDI), I get to host my very own Fringe show! CoDI had the bold idea to let researchers out of their labs and offices and put them on stage at the Fringe. A 12-year long success streak with many, many sell-out shows proves them right.

At the CoDI-shows researchers get to talk about their dangerous idea, i.e. their research that has the power to change the world. On stage, they are supported by comedian and CoDI institution Susan Morrison. With over 30 shows covering everything from paracetamol to gay love in ancient Jerusalem this year, you are bound to find something that excites you.

The dangerous idea that I will be talking about is that All Statistics Are Wrong. I will take you for a whirlwind tour through the wonderful world of statistics. You’ll get to discover the fundamentals of statistics and why even Bill Gates doesn’t have a 100% chance of getting a mortgage. Why do we statisticians insist on trying to answer questions that don’t have an answer? And why am I convinced that you need statistics if you want to fall in love?

To find the answers to these questions, come to one of my shows on the 11th of August (for a solo show) or on the 3rd of August (for a double feature together with Dr Katharina Addington-Lefringhausen)!

I can’t wait to see you there!



Sunday 11th of August (solo show):

Saturday 3rd of August (joint show):

All Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas shows:



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