Prof Nicholas P. Jewell’s Biography

Nicholas P. Jewell is Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has held various academic and administrative positions at Berkeley since his arrival in 1981, most notably serving as Vice Provost from 1994 to 2000. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh where he received a first class Honours degree in Applied Mathematics in 1973, and a PhD in Mathematics in 1976. Immediately following his graduate program, he was appointed to a Harkness Fellowship from 1976-1978 which he held at the University of California, Berkeley and at Stanford University. From 1979-1981 he was an Assistant Professor of Statistics at Princeton University. He has also held academic appointments at the University of Edinburgh, Oxford University, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and at the University of Kyoto. In 2007, he was a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center in Italy.

He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the 2005 winner of the Snedecor Award from COPSS, and won the Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health in 2004. In 2000, he was awarded the Director's Award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for "extraordinary leadership and vision in implementing strategies that enhance the disaster resistance of the University of California, Berkeley, and universities throughout America". In 2012, he was awarded the Marvin Zelen Leadership Award in Statistical Science by Harvard University. He is currently the Editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association -- Theory & Methods, and Chair of the Statistics Section of AAAS.

Professor Jewell has authored more than 170 scientific publications including two books, Statistics for Epidemiology, and Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer, with Jude Pearl and Madelyn Glymour.

Title: Counting Civilian Casualties--Statistics and Human Rights

Abstract: Civilian casualties are increasingly in the news as conflicts erupt at various regions of the globe. There is often confusion around the numbers of civilians who have been killed, particularly during the earliest stages of conflicts. Sometimes the range of estimates can cover several order of magnitudes, even decades after conflicts have ended, and thus estimates and claims can be hard to interpret especially when they are provided by advocacy groups on either side of a conflict. A related, but quite different human rights problem arises from the need to assess data on the number and patterns of child abductions and disappearances that occurred during El Salvador's civil war (approximately from 1978-1992). The need for accurate counts of civilian casualties (and other human rights events), particularly deaths, turns out to be a relatively modern phenomenon that has nevertheless attracted considerable scientific and political attention. I will discuss some historical background for casualty counts and include three current techniques that have been typically employed. These methods range from traditional demographic and epidemiological survey techniques, to multiple systems estimation that uses capture-recapture models, to attempts to provide full documentation including the modern technological approaches through crowdsourcing. I will also discuss trying to make casualty estimates in almost real time.