The field of statistics is concerned with ways of understanding variability in measurements. It is the science and art of making informed decisions in the face of uncertainty. There is a close connection with probability, since probability provides the mathematical language to describe uncertainty.
The statistician today is a partner in most scientific and technologic endeavors. There are medical issues: to decide whether a new vaccine will be effective; to appraise the cost of life insurance for middle age smokers; to resolve and sharpen images obtained by ultrasonography. There are also technological applications: to gauge the uniformity of an optical fiber; to assess the reliability of a jet engine; to guide the exploration of ore deposits. The influence of the statistician extends to many other areas, from public policy to fundamental science.
Identifying and understanding important applications requires interaction with other disciplines that acquire and analyze data. The Department of Mathematics is thus cooperating with an university-wide Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Statistics to provide support for statistics at the University of Arizona. Recent activities include a well-attended statistics colloquium series.