Video: The danger of mixing up causality and correlation by Ionica Smeets

written by Rob Speekenbrink, 5 November 2012, filed as article

Ionica Smeets (@ionicasmeets) at TEDxDelft: A mathematician and science journalist with plenty of media experience. Using her vast knowledge and enthusiasm, she can explain everything about her favorite topics in science and statistics. She does it well on paper and face-to-face: She writes blogs, columns and books and is also asked to appear as a speaker, live, on television and on radio shows.

Since 2006, Ionica has taken on the Internet with interesting and fun mathematics together with PhD Partner in Crime Jeanine Daems on the website wiskundemeisjes.nl. She and Jeanine now write a bi-weekly column in the Volkskrant about mathematics and the website also resulted in a book titled ‘I Was Never Good At Math’ (Ik was altijd heel slecht in wiskunde) in 2011.
Ionica appears on De Wereld Draait Door to talk about mathematics; trying to explain the most complicated things and developments in the field of mathematics to the host Matthijs van Nieuwkerk and the audience. Even for the most mathematically challenged, it’s educative and entertaining to listen to. In 2012 she became a reporter for KRO in a series called ‘De Rekenkamer’ investigating the financial aspects of giving blood and illegal minor immigrants.

Together with Bas Haring she wrote ‘Vallende Kwartjes’ which are essays in which scientific processes and concepts are explained with straight-forward, easy-to-get examples and stories. The science journalist has an eye for this sort of thing; defying and destroying the idea that science is boring and/or cannot be explained well.
In collaboration with Govert Schilling (amongst others) she also makes YouTube videos for the channel Science 101 (Wetenschap 101) where scientific and mathematic concepts are explained clearly in under 101 seconds!

She’s charming, adds good natured comments and jokes to her writing and her live appearances (when Matthijs van Nieuwkerk asked her how she celebrated Pi Day, she answered ‘by drinking Pina Colada’s). What more could be asked for in a TEDxDelft performer?

1 comment

One Response to Video: The danger of mixing up causality and correlation by Ionica Smeets

  1. gold account says:

    As wiskundemeisjes (`math girls’) Jeanine Daems and I write the popular blog http://www.wiskundemeisjes.nl about mathematics. Since january 2009 we have a fortnightly column in De Volkskrant. In 2011 Uitgeverij Nieuwezijds published our book “Ik was altijd heel slecht in wiskunde”. We co-hosted the `Nationale rekentoets’ with Joost Prinsen and presented columns in a series about math for school tv. We also organised live math shows at festivals like Discovery 07 and Lowlands. Currently I am working on Wisebits: 200 very short movies about science, philosophy and art. The project is a collaboration of the RVU, the University of Leiden and Bas Haring.

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