Marvin Zelen Online Symposium: Data Science 2020

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Online Event

Event description
This event is now virtual on a different platform; please use the link below to register.

About this Event

Registration is still open. Click here to register for the symposium.

In December of 2019, we planned the next Marvin Zelen Symposium for March of 2020. At that point, the year ahead seemed to be a data spectacle waiting to happen. Think about all the events planned for 2020! Here’s what we wrote.

"The topic of this year's Marvin Zelen Symposium has to do with the year itself — 2020. This first year of a new decade brings with it statistical spectacles on a massive scale. From the Decennial Census and the Presidential Election in the US, to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. These big events are bristling with data and its analyses — shaping how they are experienced, discussed, debated, and even litigated. Their time scales range from fractions of a second (the difference between gold and silver) to millions of years (the length of the geological record needed to understand our changing climate). They can be influenced by the actions of one person or the cumulative behaviors of hundreds of millions (as voters, as competitors, as spectators, as consumers). The Marvin Zelen Symposium will look at the major data spectacles of 2020, each one having synergy with the others, but also adding something new in our understanding of how data establish and reinforce systems of power on our planet."

Well, since we organized the 2020 Symposium, the entire world has changed. The original Zelen event was replaced with a “Zoomposium” on Covid-19, attracting nearly 500 attendees, and we moved the program covering everything from the Olympics to Earth Day to September, 2020 — this month.

But now that the date of the rescheduled event is upon us, think about what Covid-19 has done to many of the events mentioned in our abstract — we have seen everything from complications to cancellations. Still, we have decided to go forward with the 2020 Zelen Symposium as we had originally planned it.

We expect the difficulties of this year will inflect each of the talks on the program. Marvin Zelen embraced the complexity of data and its relationship to lived experience — the same is true for this edition of the Symposium bearing his name.


  • Ben Hansen, University of Michigan
  • Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College
  • Regina Nuzzo, Gallaudet University
  • Amy O’Hara, Georgetown University
  • Andrew Revkin, Columbia University
  • Charles Stewart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Daniel Webb, United States Olympic Committee
  • Jeremy White, New York Times

Organizing Committee:

  • Rafael Irizarry, PhD, Chair, Department of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Paul Catalano, ScD, Associate Chair, Department of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Mark Hansen, PhD, David and Helen Gurley Brown Professor of Journalism and Innovation; Director, David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute of Media Innovation
  • Erica Feick, Program Manager, Department of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Follow us on Twitter @dfcidatascience

Share with friends

Date and Time


Online Event

Save This Event

Event Saved