A word of the Youngest Statistician of the Young Statisticians
February 22, 2012, Nijmegen
by: Corine Baayen, member Young Statisticians division of the VvS+OR
Next week I celebrate my birthday, my real birthday, something which happens only once in four years, since as a baby I had the silly idea to enter this world on leap day. I think I can safely say that with merely 5 proper birthdays behind me, I am one of the youngest members of the VvS+OR. Perhaps it was therefore not entirely inappropriate that last April I set out to the first meeting of a group of people who would soon be calling themselves the "Young Statisticians". The meeting was an initiative by Maarten Kampert, who was eager to see whether people were interested in setting up a division within the VvS+OR which aimed at bringing together young people who like statistics. The young people attending were mainly master and PhD students, but we have also post-docs and consultants in our group. There was quite a large turn-out at this meeting and we had a great evening with many wild ideas for the future. Soon a second meeting was organized in which somewhat more concrete plans were drawn up. This resulted in a Pub Meeting for ourselves last October, a Science Cafe meeting last November and a Workshop organized at Shell last January on Chemometrics. Sadly I was not able to attend the workshop, but from what I heard it was a great success. Just having had a year of orientation on whether there is interest in a group called the Young Statisticians, we were offered to be sponsored already.
As one of the organizers of the Science Cafe I was present in November. The idea was to have an informal evening in a pub with lots of statisticians. To start the evening off we had asked Harry van Zanten and Herbert Hoijtink to each defend a side of the Bayesian versus Frequentists debate in a short talk. After this, Richard Gill moderated a brief discussion on the topic. Prior to that evening I did not have a strong preference for either Bayesianism or Frequentism and I hoped that the discussion during the pub meeting would finally settle my doubts on the matter. However, during the evening I found myself shift from a convinced Bayesian during the first talk, to an enthusiastic Frequentist during the second talk, to again a completely undecided person during the discussion. Still, it was great to have my memory refreshed on the issues of the Bayesian versus Frequentist debate, especially because I could do it while enjoying a beer in a very informal atmosphere. The evening gave me a great opportunity to meet new people who had at least one interest in common and who did not shrink back when I confessed a liking to statistics. Moreover it was good to see what other statisticians are working on.
Now almost a year has passed since that first get-together in April. Another meeting of the Young Statisticians has taken place and new ideas are sprouting for further activities to be organized. If you want to know more about the Young Statisticians, feel free to e-mail us via , or follow us on: