Lying with numbers

Author: Ionica Smeets – Leiden University, Netherlands

Numbers do not lie, but they are quite good at concealing the truth. In this abridged version of her interactive theatre lecture Ionica Smeets shows the audience how easily they can be fooled by numbers with surprising real life examples, weird mathematical paradoxes, irrefutable logic, counterintuitive experiments and specially made animations. Her goal is to permanently change the way people view numbers.

The theatre lecture ends in a group discussion where we talk about mathematical questions from audience members and the issues they think mathematicians should work on.

Ionica Smeets has given many sold-out theatre lectures on mathematics in The Netherlands. She is a professor of science communication with a PhD in pure mathematics. She writes a weekly column on mathematics for national newspaper De Volkskrant since 2009, has presented various tv-shows and published several popular-scientific bestsellers.

Reviews described her theatre lecture as both very funny and very insightful. Many audience members keep sending in great examples of lying numbers years after they saw this theatre lecture.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Perfomance
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice