Actuarial science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries and professions. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified in this field through intense education and experience. In many countries, actuaries must demonstrate their competence by passing a series of rigorous professional examinations.
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most critical elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
Sir Ernest Rutherford from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996), 26.
The men in the laboratory... cannot be said to observe the actual objects of their curiosity at all. ...The sense data on which the propositions of modern science rest are, for the most part, little photographic spots and blurs, or inky curved lines on paper. ... What is directly observable is only a sign of the "physical fact"; it requires interpretation to yield scientific propositions.