This talk flips data science on its head and shows the serious consequences that this ignorance about the true nature of data can lead to.

David J Hand, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Senior Research Investigator, Imperial College London

Whereas most explorations of data science focus on its power, this talk points out that your data are almost always incomplete, approximate, inadequate, or misleading. It shows the serious consequences that this ignorance about the true nature of data can lead to, with many real examples, ranging from medical mishaps to space shot disasters and business failures.

Recognising the inadequacy of real data leads to a new perspective, a new way of looking at standard statistical tools, and a new unification of cutting edge machine learning and data mining methods, achieved through the strategic application of ignorance.

Professor Hand is author of the book ‘Dark Data’ - Why what you don’t know matters:

“This insightful book should be required reading for everyone in an age when ‘fake news’ and the explosion of data go hand in hand."


“[A] penetrating study of missing (‘dark’) data and its impacts on decisions . . . Hand offers expert training, from recognizing when facts are being cherry-picked to designing randomized trials. A book illuminating shadowed corners in science, medicine and policy.”


This lecture is currently scheduled as an in-person event at Imperial. However government guidelines will be followed at the time which may include the necessity to change this to a live streamed event.  The supper may also need to be cancelled. We will update Friends on a regular basis.

FREE School group and student lecture places

As part of our mission to share a passion for knowledge, we have an allocation of tickets for school groups, school students and A level students to attend this public lecture FREE.

If you are a school teacher, you can book a FREE ‘School group’ ticket to bring your students to this event.

You’ll be asked to provide your school details and the total number in your group so that we can allocate these tickets.

School and A level students are also very welcome to attend, to book you just have to follow the same instructions as ‘School group’ tickets.

Please email our Administrator here if you need any help with this offer.

Post event supper

After the talk, you are welcome to join other Friends and their guests at a local restaurant to continue the discussion. You can book supper places below.

Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

Public ticket

Decrease Increase £15.00

Member of Friends

Decrease Increase £5.00

Member's guest

Decrease Increase £10.00

Imperial staff

Decrease Increase £5.00

Imperial students

Decrease Increase £3.00

Student - school, college

Decrease Increase £0.00


Item Quantity Price

Post-event supper, set menu, pay £35 at the restaurant

Decrease Increase £0.00