Episode 94: Hannah Fry

Hannah Fry is a mathematician, author, and radio and television presenter. She applies maths to pretty much everything in her life. She gave a TEDTalk in 2014 on the maths of dating, and in 2022 she made a documentary called ‘Making Sense of Cancer with Hannah Fry’ about her personal experience of cervical cancer, in which she unpacked the surprising statistics behind cancer diagnosis, treatment and success. It’s a fascinating watch which I have recommended to many friends.

Hannah has two daughters and she shared a tip with me that she heard for when they are teenagers: that a parent should ‘be the sides of the swimming pool’, let them get on with swimming, and just be there when they want to come back to the side.

Hannah lives by a decision-making tool which she calls regret minimisation which is where you assess a decision you have to make based on all the evidence you have before you at that time, very logically. This way, she says, you cannot beat yourself up for that decision further down the line. 

Hannah made me laugh when she described applying that decision-making tool to whether she should have children - and then admitted she is 100% geek! 

Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones

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