Statistician, author and blogger Nate Silver – who has earned a national spotlight with his innovative analyses of political polling – will deliver the next Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture of 2015. Silver gives the Jones Day Lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 in McFarlin Auditorium.
Before his work in politics, Silver established his credentials as an analyst of baseball statistics. He developed the acclaimed sabermetric system PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), which predicts player performance, career development, and seasonal winners and losers.
He first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In 2012, he called 50 of 50 states. The accuracy of Silver’s analyses and predictions, and the innovative ways in which he arrived at them, led TIME Magazine to name him one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People in April 2009. In 2013, he was listed at #1 on Fast Company magazine’s list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business.
In 2010, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed for publication by The New York Times. The site won Webby Awards for Best Political Blog from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2012 and 2013.
Today, Silver is pioneering the new field of data journalism with the new FiveThirtyEight, recently relaunched in partnership with ESPN. The new format allows Silver to cover a wider range of topics, including politics, sports, science and travel. He also appears as an ESPN on-air commentator.
Silver’s first book, The Signal and the Noise, reached the New York Times best-seller list and was named the #1 best nonfiction book of 2012 by Amazon.com, as well as winning the 2013 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. Silver has also contributed chapters to several books in the Baseball Prospectus series, including Mind Game, Baseball Between the Numbers, and It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over.
Silver earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 2000. Since then, he has received four honorary doctorates.
Tuesday’s evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available. They may meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.
Silver will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.
To ask Silver a question via Twitter, send a tweet to @SMUtate with the hashtag #SMUtate.