RSS William Guy Lecturers


The RSS William Guy Lecturers are prestigious volunteer roles intended to celebrate the importance of engaging with schools and inspiring children about statistics from an early age. They are named in honour of William Augustus Guy, an early medical statistician and past RSS president. 

Three William Guy Lecturers are appointed for every academic year. Each lecturer prepares and records a talk for a particular age range. Every year we ask for talks on a particular theme.  

We encourage schools to use these talks (~20-25 minutes in length) as part of their learning resources. Schools are also welcome to contact the lecturers to request in-person visits or live sessions online. We also encourage schools to contact the lecturers with questions that students may have about the talks, to enable interactive dialogue and stimulate engagement. 

We hope that the William Guy Lecturer talks will be a useful and engaging resource for a broad and diverse range of schools, and will inspire students to discover the interesting and relevant applications of statistics and data science in the real world.  

The current Royal Statistical Society William Guy Lecturers 2023-24 

This academic year (1 August 2023– 31 July 2024), the theme is Climate change and environmental statistics. Find out more about our current William Guy Lecturers, how to contact them, and watch their talks. 


  • Katherine Whyte, environmental statistician at Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS), Edinburgh/Fife, William Guy Lecturer for ages 5–11 – When we build wind farms, what happens to the wildlife? 
  • Craig Anderson, senior lecturer in statistics, University of Glasgow, Scotland, William Guy Lecturer for ages 11–16 – Using statistics to monitor air pollution 
  • ​Eleanor D’Arcy, PhD student in statistics, Lancaster University, William Guy Lecturer for age 16+ – How can statistics protect us against extreme sea levels resulting from climate change? 

William Guy Lectureship application and appointment process  

The William Guy Lecturers are appointed following an open call and competitive selection process. Further information on the application process and volunteer commitments is available on our website. 

The three lecturers for 2024-25 have now been appointed – find out more about the lecturers and their talks. 

The theme for the next academic year is Statistics in plain sight. The lecturers will be aiming to inspire the next generation about the importance of statistics and data to the world around us – where the role of statistics is crucial but may not be immediately apparent.  

History of the lecture

William Augustus Guy (1810-1885) was an early medical statistician 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 then 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. 

In the past, the RSS appointed one William Guy Lecturer per year to deliver in-person talks in schools. Online engagement now offers the opportunity to reach more schools than ever before.