cientific conferences present success stories: the case studies that worked out well, and the research that produced positive results. But for every hour of
success, there are usually many hours of failure ... clever ideas that did not work out as hoped, theory that ran aground on the rocky shores of practical reality, buggy code, bad data, lack of time and lack of money. There is a lot to be learned by looking back on something that did not work out as planned, or that never reached the expected conclusion.
The invited speakers for the conference have all been asked to do a "20/20 Hindsight Talk" ... the thematic title was a lot more clever last year, but we're being stubborn and sticking with it, even though 2020 passed us by.
Although Melanie probably prefers to think of herself as a researcher and teacher in Brain Sciences at the Edinburgh Medical School and the University of Edinburgh, the Internet prefers to think of her as the Sage of Failure, a side-career that began with her Nature article “A CV of Failures”, in which she advanced the notion that we should all compile a visible record of our many failures. She is a frequent speaker on how failure should not be regarded as a shameful roadblock but rather as an important and necessary part of the process of maturing as a researcher. Her recognition that scientific conferences focus almost exclusively on the things that worked out well, and not on the many more things that did not work out well, makes her the ideal keynote speaker to launch the 20/20 Hindsight Talks of this conference.
Her Erdös-Bacon number is (at most) 8.
Peter is a professor of Spatial Data Science at Lancaster University, and an interdisciplinary scientist. His research involves the application of space-time statistics and geostatistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and dynamic numerical modeling, to Earth observation (EO) and other spatio-temporal data, to answer a wide range of science and social science questions, including: change of scale and change-of-support-problems; disease transmission systems, especially vector-borne diseases; global vegetation and land cover changes in response to anthropogenic and climate changes; natural hazard impacts and risks, including floods, landslides and near-Earth object impacts.
Peter was the Distinguished Lecturer for the International Association of Mathematical Geosciences in 2020, the perfect year to have a Distinguished Lecturer who understands the science and witchcraft of epidemiological statistics.
Colin did a degree in mathematics at Trinity College Dublin during which he took a semester of Geostatistics with John Haslett. That small misfortune led to a visit to the Ecole des Mines in Fontainebleau, and the whole thing spiraled out of control with him eventually ending up in Georges Matheron’s group with Dominique Jeulin and Christian Lajaunie.
On graduating from Fontainebleau with his PhD, Colin decided to take a very short break from academia, a break which has now lasted over 30 years. He joined BP Research, moved to Roxar and eventually on to Schlumberger where he led the reservoir modelling effort for the Petrel software suite. In recent years, with a renewed interest in technical problems, he has started to look at how machine learning can help deliver better geostatistical models for software users.
Colin is co-owner of a jazz club.
Jaime graduated as a civil engineer from the Technical University of Valencia, then moved to Stanford University, where he received graduate degrees in Applied Hydrogeology and Geostatistics. After his return to Spain, he joined the faculty of the Technical University of Valencia and became full professor in 2000. His research has revolved around subsurface characterization for groundwater modeling with a focus on deep underground nuclear waste disposal, contaminant source identification and quantification of prediction uncertainty. He won the 1999 Valencia Government Prize for Waste Research and Technology, and the 2020 Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Groundwater. In 2020, he was awarded the Krumbein Medal by the International Association of Mathematical Geosciences, and is serving as their Distinguished Lecturer for 2021. His talk at Geostats2021 is the first of his lecture tour for the IAMG.
Jaime is an opera-singer, a magician and, sometimes, a politician.