Jordan Ellenberg’s parents were both statisticians. In his interview with Strongly Connected Components Jordan explains why he went into mathematics rather than statistics.
I tried. I tried to learn some statistics actually when I was younger and it’s a beautiful subject. But at the time I think I found the shakiness of the philosophical underpinnings were too scary for me. I felt a little nauseated all the time. Math is much more comfortable. You know where you stand. You know what’s proved and what’s not. It doesn’t have the quite same ethical and moral dimension that statistics has. I was never able to get comfortable with it the way my parents were.
4 thoughts on “Why not statistics”
It’s funny, this is almost the same exact reason why I want to leave economics and go into statistics…
Mathematicians seek answers — statisticians seek explanations — which is why I am a statistician…
@William: I would claim that Mathematicians seek “proofs”, which in that very specific discipline is a synonym for “undeniable explanations”.
Mathematics provides more security in times compared with the statistics which really often face problems that need to solve. I like statistics, but it definitely is not for everyone and will appeal units, while mathematics is … one of the sciences. :)