April 2012

Two E&R planned sessions for the 2012 Annual Meeting

By Tom Herzog

At the 2011 SOA Annual Meeting, we featured a talk by Professor Steven Ziliak of Roosevelt University in Chicago based on his book "The Cult of Statistical Significance." In 2012, we will have another author give a talk based on her book. The author is journalist Sharon McGrayne and the book is "The Formula that Would Not Die..." Sharon has already given numerous talks on her book including two at Google—one in Mountain View and the other in New York City. Her book was given a full-page review in The New York Times last August.

Sharon's book is essentially devoid of formulas, so this will not be a highly technical talk. However, since some of the attendees at the 2011 meeting wanted to see how Professor Ziliak's work tied to actuarial practice, I thought I would lead a follow-up session to do that. The follow-up session will go into some of the basic formulas in depth. While the level of mathematical sophistication at the session will be low, many references to the literature will be provided for those who want to delve more deeply into such applications.

For those readers who want to get a better idea about Sharon's book, I have written a (not so) brief review for this issue of Expanding Horizons.

Thomas N Herzog, PhD, ASA, MAAA, is a retired actuary in Reston, Va. He can be reached at ResBayes@aol.com.