Statistics, the sweet nectar of the odds.


Batty McBaseball has a batting average of .350 and apparently, this is incredible. Shooty O'Basketball scores 6.9 points per game, and should be fired. Why? 6.9 was higher than .350 last time you checked. Is this just sorcery?

No, this is statistics.

Statistics is taking a bunch of data, then mathing at it until it turns into something useful. Preferably something that helps people predict the future. In the olden days, this was done by reading animal entrails, so statistics is a huge improvement for everyone concerned, especially animals.

What good is it, though? Well, whenever you want to see into the future, the answer is "a whole lot." People like knowing what's going to happen next.

Well, except with movies. We hate spoilers.

Unless they're on the back of a sweet hotrod.

Real life is where your predictive mathematics will really help you out. Everyone wants to be able to see into the future, and they're willing to pay the few oracles who have that ability. They probably won't call you "oracle," but we advise that you insist on it. Have it written into the contract. It's so much more fun that way.

Also fun is the amount of career options on the table. Wall Street, for example, loves statisticians. Also, teams employ statisticians to determine the value of players. Or maybe you're more of a political animal. In that case, polling data is another form of statistics and the world at large is waking up to its value. Chances are, if you like something, there's a place for statistics in there.

Famous People who majored in Statistics

  • R.A. Fisher, English statistician
  • Karl Pearson, key establisher of modern statistics
  • Gertrude Cox, American statistician
  • Frank Yates, another big name in statistics
  • Kirstine Smith, Danish statistician

Percentage of US students who major in Statistics:


Stats obtained from this source.