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Letisha Smith, of New York University, was last night announced as the winner of the 2018 Award for Statistical Excellence in Early Career Writing.

Her winning article, “Cooking up statistics: The science and the art”, focuses on a topical and important issue – that of food waste and squeezed household budgets – and uses statistical clustering methods to group together recipes of similar ingredients to help people to shop smarter.

Letisha succeeds in taking readers through the process of data collection, cleaning and analysis in a way that is clear, concise and relatable. She uses the structure of food preparation to draw parallels with data preparation and – most importantly – takes the time to explain what she is doing and why.

Her article will be published in our October 2018 issue.

Congratulations to Letisha, and congratulations also to our runners-up, Mats Julius Stensrud and Morten Valberg, of the University of Oslo, for “Curing cancer: Mere rhetoric or a promising plan?”, and Thomai Tsiftsi, of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, for “The trillion-dollar storm (or, how much can we trust out sun?)”. Their articles will be published online later this year.

The Award for Statistical Excellence in Early Career Writing is part of the Royal Statistical Society’s (RSS) Statistical Excellence Awards. The writing competition is organised by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the RSS. Details of next year’s contest will be announced in February 2019.

Thank you to all this year’s entrants, and a special thank you to our panel of judges: Mario Cortina Borja, Allan Reese, Kelly Zou, Katie Arundell, Gareth McCray, Altea Lorenzo-Arribas and Maria Dunbar.


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