The Fate of the Franklin Expedition: Statistical Insights

Wednesday 9th December, 2015 17:30-18:30 Room 203, Mathematics Building


Speakers: Prof Keith Millar (Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Health & Wellbeing, University of Glasgow), Prof Adrian Bowman (School of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Glasgow) & William Battersby (archaeologist and author)

Time: 17:30-18:30. Preceded briefly by RSS Glasgow Group AGM, and followed by drinks and mince pies.

Place: Room 203, Maths Building, University of Glasgow, G12 8QW

Summary: In 1845, with Queen Victoria on the throne and the British Empire in full flight, Sir John Franklin led an expedition to find a 'North-West Passage' from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic seas off northern Canada.  All communication with the expedition was lost and one of the largest ever search-and-rescue operations was launched.  This spanned a period of 11 years, after which it became clear that all 129 crew of the Franklin expedition had lost their lives in the grimmest of circumstances.  This is a story which has captured the imaginations of subsequent generations, with interest recently heightened through the discovery of the remains of one of the ships, the HMS Erebus, in shallow waters near King William Island.  This talk will examine data from the sick lists of the ships which went in search of the Franklin expedition to provide insight into life aboard a Victorian vessel.  It will also discuss the analysis of recent data from the crew's remains to examine the popular theory that lead poisoning played a significant role in the failure of the expedition.

Twitter: Join the discussion and post questions using the hashtag #RSSGlaFranklin.

Registration: For catering purposes, it would be very helpful if you could register for the event at


We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible,

RSS Glasgow Local Group committee


Further information about Royal Statistical Society Glasgow Local Group:

Twitter: @RSSGlasgow1

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