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Robert Sivinski - Numbers Help Keep America Safe




Meet Robert Sivinski

Senior Statistician in the Executive Office of the President



His Work:

Analyzes science and numbers to our government






Our country’s government is kind of like the teachers, principals, custodians, and nurses at your school. They work to keep all their students safe and healthy. People who work for the government try to keep everyone in America safe and healthy. Just like your teachers, one of the ways they keep people safe is by making rules. A good example of a government rule is the speed limits on roads. This rule keeps people from driving too fast, because that’s very dangerous. Speed limits keep us safe.

Our goverment 's rules make buildings safe.

Some roads have faster speed limits than others, but how was that decided? To set a speed limit, you need to know about the road. How many lanes does it have? Is it curvy or straight? Do people walk across it often to get to a park or shopping mall?


You can see that our government needs good information to make good rules. Robert Sivinski works to make sure that the government gets

Our government's rules keep our water clean.

the numbers and information it needs. He helps the government make fair rules and decisions.


Robert is part of a team of 40 experts. He loves working with all the brilliant people on his team. Each person works in a different field. Some are engineers. Some study how money is spent. Some study health and disease. They have to work together to understand the math and science of many different problems.


Our government's rules make sure vaccines work.

Robert says, “Making good rules isn’t just about the math and science of a problem. It’s also about the people.” Think about the speed limit example. Science and math tell us that cars driving fast are more likely to crash. There would never be any car crashes if cars could only go as fast as we can walk! But then it would take a very long time to get where we’re going. The people who make the rules need to think about how those rules affect all different kinds of people. They try to come up with the best solution for everyone.


You probably thought mathematicians had boring jobs. But Robert Sivinski’s mathematical job is exciting. He works on many projects every day. It is important work. He helps our government make smart rules that make our country stronger.


Photo Credits

Profile Photo permission of Robert Sivinski

Construction Site: This Photo is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

Water Faucet: This Photo is licensed under CC BY

Vaccine Research: This Photo is licensed under CC BY-ND




Read these books to learn

more about statistics . . .




By the Numbers 2.0: 110.01 Cool Infographics Packed With Stats and Figures

National Geographic Kids

Did you know that for every human being on earth there are 1.4 billion insects? Or that one bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitos every hour? Discover the amazing world of numbers and the real-world wonders they represent through creative, easy-to-understand infographics on popular subjects from science and technology to nature and wildlife, as well as everyday activities like sports and TV. Colorful illustrated graphs, word clouds, pie charts, maps, photography, comparative images, and more illuminate the math behind statistics, trends and measurements we encounter every day.


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The Cartoon Guide to Statistics

by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith


The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summary and display of data, probability in gambling and medicine, random variables, Bernoulli Trials, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing, confidence interval estimation, and much more--all explained in simple, clear, and yes, funny illustrations. Never again will you order the Poisson Distribution in a French restaurant!

You can visit Larry Gonick's webpage to see other books he has written with Woollcott Smith.





. . . and visit these fun websites.




PBS Kids Game: Beat the Odds


PBS Probability Rap



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