Prof. Ian Spence
100 St George St
University of Toronto
Canada M5S 3G3
Sidney Smith Room 630
Ian Spence is Professor
in the Department of Psychology
at the University of Toronto.
Born in Scotland, his undergraduate
education was in mathematics, physics, and psychology at the University
of Glasgow and he did his graduate work at the University of Toronto.
His research interests include engineering psychology, graphical perception,
psychophysics, psychometric methods with an emphasis on measurement
and scaling, and statistics. Current research projects include the effective
use of colour in scientific visualization, the role of colour in visual
memory, individual differences in spatial cognition, and the navigation
of dynamic information displays such as web sites.
Ian also has an
interest in the history of statistical graphics and is working on a
biography of William Playfair (1759-1823), a fellow Scot, engineer,
entrepreneur, scoundrel, and inventor of most of the fundamental forms
of statistical graph. Ian was recently invited by Oxford University
Press to rewrite the Playfair entry in the Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, one of the major publishing
events of 2004. This is the first major revision of this standard work
since the original 33 Victorian volumes were published between 1885
and 1901. Curiously, the old DNB entry made no mention of Playfair's
invention of statistical graphs.
That's me in the
white hat flying my old Schleicher ASW 24 Standard Class sailplane (now
sold; I have been flying my new 18m Class Ventus
2cxT for the past three years. It's fabulous!).
I have been gliding
for 30 years and have flown at soaring sites all over the world. My
favourite areas are the deserts and mountains of Nevada
and California in the USA, and the Columbia
Valley in British Columbia, Canada. In Ontario, I fly at the SOSA
Gliding Club. I have won the Canadian National Standard Class Championships
twice (1984 and 1997)
and I hold the Canadian multiplace record for
speed over a 300 km triangular course at 128.6 kph (you will need Adobe
Acrobat Reader if you want to read the articles in the Soaring Association
of Canada magazine, free flight / vol libre, for
the last two links. Acrobat Reader is free and it's so useful that you
should have it anyway!) This year (2007) I am in 4th place in the Online
Contest in Canada.
My other obsession
is opera. We have an excellent opera company here in Toronto (Canadian
Opera Company) and a fabulous Opera
in Concert series. The Opera
Division in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto also
puts on some amazing productions and recitals. Elsa and I try to go
to the Met in New York for a few days each December.
At lunch time I
work out with some old friends at the university; we usually jog about
8 km on the streets west of the campus and then do some gossiping, stretching,
and weights in the gym afterwards. In the winter, I ski at Blue
Mountain in Ontario, and often at Panorama
in British Columbia.
Our much loved Sealyham
[Research] [Lab] [Teaching]