RSS William Guy Lecture

The RSS William Guy Lecturer is a prestigious volunteer role intended to recognise fellows with a successful track record in undertaking school outreach activities.

Dr Laura Bonnett is our William Guy lecturer for 2020. Over the year, Laura delivered lectures to school students across the UK on the topic of ‘Driving is a risky business!’, which covers various aspects of road safety where statistics can illuminate people’s decisions. The lecture will include a discussion regarding conditional probabilities relevant for secondary school mathematics and statistics students, together with ethical considerations, which will appeal across the curricula.

Laura is a medical statistician at the University of Liverpool. She is a Chartered Statistician (CStat), a member of the RSS Teaching Statistics Special Interest Group and was actively involved in the development of the RSS Hands-on Stats materials.

If you are interested in organising a William Guy Lecture, email Priority booking is given to e-teacher members and RSS local groups, especially for lectures open to multiple schools in a given location.


William Guy lecturer speaker pool

Several past lecturers are willing to deliver their lecture on request, by mutual arrangement – download a list of abstracts with full details. To contact any of the speakers, we will relay your request if you e-mail our education team:

History of the lecture

William Augustus Guy (1810-1885) was one of the early medical statisticians and was extremely eminent in the field. He was closely associated with the Society for many years, including having been president 1873-1875. The Guy medals, awarded to distinguished statisticians for important work, testify to his memory. A more recent innovation is the William Guy Lecture.

One of our former honorary secretaries, Sidney Rosenbaum, discovered that Guy was a pupil at his old school, Christ’s Hospital. Sidney arranged discussions that led to the introduction of the Guy Lecture. The first Guy Lecture was given by Adrian Smith on 29 April 1999 – ‘Statistics and statisticians: the good guy’s answer to lying figures and figuring liars.’ Adrian Bowman gave the second lecture on 19 May 2000 – ‘A world of difference: a rough guide to why statisticians count’.

Adrian Bowman’s lecture was given to many other sixth form audiences. This encouraged us to widen the scope of the Guy Lecture to be available to any school or college. We tended to refer to the lecture as the RSS Schools Lecture with the title Guy Lecturer retained for each year’s lecturer.

In 2016, following a review of the programme by our former Education Committee, the name was revised to the William Guy Lecturer, delivering the William Guy Lecture.