Emanuele Borgonovo: Mind the Assumptions to Obtain Meaningful Scientific Models


In a recent contribution, Prof Emanuele Borgonovo explored how scientific theories and the reliability of mathematical models intersect. He emphasizes the crucial role of quantifying uncertainty and conducting rigorous sensitivity analysis to enhance the credibility of models in various scientific disciplines.

Prof Borgonovo authored a thought-provoking chapter that delves into the pivotal role of assumptions in research. He aptly highlights a significant concern that plagues scientific inquiry – cherry-picking. According to Borgonovo, the greatest risk in research lies in the temptation to selectively choose hypotheses that align with preconceived notions, potentially skewing the results to support a predetermined thesis. This tendency, he asserts, can compromise the objectivity and integrity of scientific investigations.

Emanuele Borgonovo, “Mind the Assumptions. Quantify Uncertainty and Assess Sensitivity,” in Andrea Saltelli and Monica di Fiore (eds.), The Politics of Modelling. Numbers Between Science and Policy, Oxford University Press, 2023.