Tennessee Tech News


Stonecipher Lecture to feature 'Weapons of Math Destruction' author


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Data scientist, mathematician and New York Times bestselling author Cathy O’Neil will discuss the ways data shapes society and the consequences in the annual Stonecipher Lecture.

Published Tuesday Mar 13, 2018

People interact with the results of data science every day. It plays a role in which results are shown by online search engines, which schools students attend, loan approvals, health insurance costs and, as more data is collected, its influence can be found at every turn.

Monday, March 19, data scientist, mathematician and New York Times bestselling author Cathy O’Neil will discuss the ways data shapes society and the consequences as explored in her book “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy” at 7 p.m. in Tennessee Tech’s Bell Hall Auditorium for the university’s annual Stonecipher Lecture. A book signing with O’Neil will follow at 8 p.m.

O’Neil has a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoctoral fellow in the MIT math department and published a number of research papers on arithmetic algebraic geometry in her time as a professor at Barnard College. She has also worked in the private sector, using her knowledge of data science in work with hedge fund management and risk assessment. After leaving finance in 2011, she started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks.

In addition to “Weapons of Math Destruction,” O’Neil wrote “Doing Data Science” in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in data journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is also a columnist for “Bloomberg View.”

The Stonecipher Lecture was created to invite leading scholars and thinkers to address the relationship between science and contemporary society. Harry Stonecipher, a 1960 Tech graduate, is the former president and chief operating officer of The Boeing Co. and worked for major industrial firms including General Motors, General Electric and McDonnell Douglas.

Bell Hall is located at 10 W. 7th St. in Cookeville. The event and book signing are free and open to the public.

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