Alberto CairoThe Department of Mathematics and Statistics will be hosting Alberto Cairo as part of their Distinguished Speaker series, February 24-25, 2019. Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication of the University of Miami and author of two books: “The Functional Art: an Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization” (2012), and “The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication” (2016). Cairo has two decades of experience as an infographics and data visualization journalist and designer and has worked as a consultant for companies, media organizations and educational institutions in more than twenty countries.

The department of mathematics and statistics strives to bring real world industry experts to campus to provide further insight into the field.  “The editing and revision cycle is a crucial part of communicating data insights visually,” says Silas Bergen, assistant professor of statistics and data science.  “No matter how passionately or emphatically I insist in the classroom that ‘this matters!’, students often need an outside voice to be fully convinced.  With someone as experienced and sought-after as Cairo talking about the design process, the importance of editing, and the consequences of settling, classroom ideas are reframed and reinforced.  The chance to learn first-hand from an expert of Cairo’s stature invigorates and provides a chance for learning to spill outside the confines of a classroom.”


Cairo is giving three presentations, all of which are free and open to the public.

Talk #1: Visualization for Effective Communication

Feb 24; 3pm; Stark 103

Scientists usually believe that good and clear design consists just of “beautifying” their charts, graphs, and maps. This should be an afterthought, as what truly matters is to “show the data”. This session explains why reasoning about design decisions is as important as reasoning about the data we present to audiences.

Talk #2: How charts lie: getting smarter about visual information

Feb 24; 7pm; Stark 103

Graphic designers, data analysts, and journalists are taught that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, that we should “show don’t tell”, and that charts are “intuitive” and useful to “simplify” information. This talk explains why these myths, if taken at face value, are wrong and dangerous, and what we can do to become better readers and designers of graphics.

Talk #3: Engagement and future trends in data communication

Feb 12, 12pm, Gildemeister 155

Visualization is a language in constant evolution. This session will focus on how designers of visualization can make their graphics more attractive and engaging, and on several potential futures of data communication.