Being a Professional Mathematician

What do jokes tell us about mathematicians?

Back to Jokes main page

xkcd Null Hypothesis comic

Transcript and Explanation

[A student works at a desk.]
Bystander: I can't believe schools are still teaching kids about the null hypothesis.
Bystander: I remember reading a big study that conclusively disproved it YEARS ago.

The point is that statistical studies which seek to demonstrate an effect do so by showing that the data are inconsistent with the "null hypothesis" that no such effect exists. But the Null Hypothesis is different with every study, so the Null Hypothesis disproved years ago is quite different from the Null Hypothesis the stuident is now testing. The name does not always refer to the same hypothesis.

This is xkcd Comic number 892 and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Back to Jokes main page





This project was supported by the MSOR Network, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the Universities of Greenwich and Birmingham as part of the National HE STEM Programme and was completed in May 2012. 

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

University of Greenwich logo
University of Birmingham logo
National HE STEM Programme Logo
MSOR Network logo