Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Statistics of Nessie

Dr. Charles Paxton is giving a talk on the Loch Ness Monster entitled "A Statistical Look at Nessie" as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. A bit short notice this as it is tonight at 8pm, but if you are in the area, check it out.

Details can be found at this link.

Charles gave a similar talk last year at the Edinburgh Fortean Society but that was related to his main interest of Sea Serpents. I am a bit of a graphs and stats man so have always been interested in what patterns may (or may not) emerge from such studies.

POSTSCRIPT: Just back from the talk and have to say that it was very good. Charles takes the line that even though he doesn't think there is an exotic beast in Loch Ness, that does not mean the anecdotal "data" is not amenable to the scientific discipline of statistical analysis.

Charles has probably the biggest database of sea serpent sightings (for which he does think the door is open for exotic species in the wide and deep oceans) and has applied various studies to them. For this talk he outlined his preliminary observations for a study of the Nessie database.

His work is not complete and to this point he has subjected only about 250 sightings to analysis. But what he found turned out to be counter-intuitive and contrary to the studies by such people as Richard Wiseman and their work on eyewitness testimony and reliability. What that actually means he was not sure and the study has yet to be completed with less than half the database being processed.

Once he completes the study, it will go out as a scientific paper which I wait for with interest.

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion, The loch ness monster is an unknown thought that we humans have yet to understand. It might be an unknown animal, or it might be a figment of our immagination.