For anybody wanting to find out more about the impact statisticians have had and continue to have, you could start with this week’s Guardian editorial in praise of Lord Claus Moser KCB CBE FBA who will be 91 this year.
This past president of the Royal Statistical Society has made major contributions in academia, the civil service (he was head of the Central Statistical Office from 1967 to 1978 when Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and Jim Callaghan were in office) and in other fields too - he was, of course, Chairman of the Royal Opera House for many years.
In an earlier interview with Significance magazine, Lord Moser explained how he sees the world through numbers, or what he terms ”statistical spectacles” “…to most people, statistics is a sort of mysterious way of looking at society and at issues. To me, what it is really is a way of looking at life“.
He also described his internment during the early part of WW2, his service in the RAF, his years at the LSE and as an adviser on higher education policy. He worked with the Robbins Committee on Higher Education from 1961 to 1964, a committee which looked at whether universities should expand and if so, by how much “the whole Robbins report was based on statistics” and so, his role here, was key to shaping the university system we have today.