Famous Statisticians from History
W. Edwards Deming—Deming was a pioneer of quality control and best known for his work in post-World War II Japan. He was a professor of statistics at several universities and gave seminars on quality control, sampling, and productivity to top industrial executives around the world.
Florence Nightingale—Nightingale was a member of the Royal Statistical Society and one of the first people to collect statistics on health policy. She also was a pioneer for women statisticians. Her work led to health policy reforms in 19th-century Britain and saved the lives of countless British soldiers. See below for more information about Nightingale.
Janet Norwood—Norwood was the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. She has made major contributions to government statistics, especially the Consumer Price Index and unemployment statistics. She also served as president of the American Statistical Association in 1989, was a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, and a counselor and senior fellow at the New York Conference Board.
John Tukey—Tukey applied mathematical and theoretical statistics to a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. He also is credited with coining the term “bit,” a contraction of “binary digit,” which refers to a unit of information processed by a computer.
ASA STATISTICIANS IN HISTORY
The American Statistical Association maintains a website with biographies of prominent statisticians from around the world and the United States. Go to Statisticians in History to learn more about the men and women who shaped today’s statistical sciences.
SIGNIFICANCE MAGAZINE PROFILES GERTRUDE COX
Gertrude Cox, The First Lady Of Statistics
Gertrude Cox didn’t intend to become a statistician. After graduating from high school in 1918, she decided she wanted to be a deaconess in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Thinking that some knowledge of psychology and craft could be useful in her chosen career, she enrolled at Iowa State University to study these subjects. However, she chose to major in mathematics as that subject had come naturally to her in high school. In order to pay her college expenses, she landed a job in the computing lab of her calculus professor, George Snedecor. Encouraged by this experience, she went on to study statistics, receiving Iowa State’s first Master’s degree in statistics a couple of years later. Read more.
SAS CELEBRATING STATISTICIANS SERIES
Celebrating Statisticians: Ronald A. Fisher
Provided by SAS
JMP users have spoken! On LinkedIn and Facebook, they overwhelmingly chose Ronald A. Fisher as the influential statistician to be profiled first in the JMP Blog as part of our celebration of the International Year of Statistics.
Here’s what some voters had to say about Fisher:
- “Fisher laid the foundations for most of experimental design, analysis of variance and much of statistical inference,” said Richard De Veaux, Professor at Williams College.
- “I think he was a genius who created the foundations for modern statistical science,” wrote Fiona Sun, Senior Marketing Analytics Manager at VMware.
- “Fisher is the true visionary and in my opinion deserves a Nobel Prize,” said Manny Uy, Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Read more.
Celebrating statisticians: Florence Nightingale
Provided by SAS
This month we have chosen Florence Nightingale as an influential statistician to celebrate for the International Year of Statistics. While Florence Nightingale is most well-known as the founder of modern nursing and worldwide healthcare reform, she was also a passionate statistician and a pioneer in statistical graphics.
Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, to a wealthy, upper-class British family. Her parents provided her with a well-rounded education that included mathematics, in which she excelled. As a young adult, she rejected the expected role of a woman of her status and entered nursing in 1844 despite the opposition of her family. Read more.
Celebrating Statisticians: J. Stuart Hunter
Provided by SAS
J. Stuart (“Stu”) Hunter is the statistician we are celebrating in the month of March in this International Year of Statistics. He is considered by many people to be one of the most important and influential statisticians of the last half century, especially with regard to applying statistics to problems in industry.
Hunter was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1923. He turned south for his higher education. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1947, a master’s degree in engineering mathematics in 1949, and a doctorate in experimental statistics in 1954 — all from North Carolina State University, the birthplace of SAS. His doctoral thesis supported the emerging response surface methodology and the properties of the central composite design, in particular. Read More.
Celebrating Statisticians: Gertrude Cox
Provided by SAS
This month, we celebrate Gertrude Mary Cox, one of the pioneers of academic statistics departments in the United States and one of the first female statisticians. She has been dubbed the “First Lady of Statistics.” Her efforts were fundamental to the development of the vibrant statistics community in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. She was the founder of the first independent statistics department in the nation, established at North Carolina State University in 1940. Read More.
Celebrating Statisticians: George E.P. Box
Provided by SAS
In this International Year of Statistics, we at JMP are celebrating famous statisticians on a monthly basis. This month is my turn, and early this year I chose Professor George E.P. Box as the subject of my celebration. I was looking forward to writing this piece because I knew George personally and have been an admirer of his since the beginning of my career. Sadly, George passed away in late March, and I wrote a remembrance of him for the JMP Blog at that time. That blog post expresses what I would have written in a post celebrating him. So, instead of speaking in general about his life and accomplishments, in this post I will focus on one of his many great papers. Read more.
Celebrating Statisticians: Thomas Bayes
Provided by SAS
JMP is celebrating the International Year of Statistics by honoring an influential statistician each month. This month we take a look at Thomas Bayes, a minister and mathematician whose name is literally attached to statistical inference. Very few details are known about Bayes, but his impact on statistics and science in general is remarkable considering that he published only two papers in his lifetime. His primary contribution was Bayes Rule, a law of conditional probability that bears his name. Bayes Rule led to the field of Bayesian Inference, a very powerful approach to data analysis that continues to gain momentum. Now there is an International Society for Bayesian Analysis devoted to promoting and developing Bayesian methods. We don’t have much to say about the life of Thomas Bayes, but we can focus on his impact on the field of statistics. Read more.
SAS’s RICK WICKLIN PROFILES JEROME CORNFIELD
The Statistician Who Established Risk Factors For Lung Cancer And Heart Disease
Rick Wicklin, SAS senior researcher in computational statistics, profiles statistician Jerome Cornfield, who not only served as a president of the American Statistical Association, but also made fundamental contributions to the fields of statistics, medical research, and epidemiology. Read more.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE’S MEMBERCENTRAL PROFILES DANIEL BERNOULLI
Bernoulli Succeeded Despite Paternal Rivalry
Imagine having your father ban you from his house when he couldn’t bear being compared as your equal, and then plagiarizing your work. Such was the life of Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), the Swiss mathematician and physicist.
Coming from a notable family of mathematicians, Bernoulli distinguished himself at a young age as being one of the brightest. His father, Johann, was head of mathematics at Groningen University in the Netherlands (before they moved to Basel, Switzerland) and made important contributions to calculus. His uncle Jacob Bernoulli did early work in probability theory. Read more.
Provided compliments of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and AAAS MemberCentral.