Founders of statistics

Statistics is the theory and application of mathematics to the scientific method including hypothesis generation, experimental design, sampling, data collection, data summarization, estimation, prediction and inference from those results to the population from which the experimental sample was drawn. This article lists statisticians who have been instrumental in the development of theoretical and applied statistics.

Name Nationality Birth Death Contribution References
Al-Kindi Abassid Caliphate 801 873 Developed the first code breaking algorithm based on frequency analysis. He wrote a book entitled "Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages", containing detailed discussions on statistics [1]
Graunt, John English 1620 1674 Pioneer of demography who produced the first life table [2]
Bayes, Thomas English 1702 1761 Developed the interpretation of probability now known as Bayesian probability [3]
Laplace, Pierre-Simon French 1749 1827 Co-invented Bayesian statistics. Invented exponential families (Laplace transform), conjugate prior distributions, asymptotic analysis of estimators (including negligibility of regular priors). Used maximum-likelihood and posterior-mode estimation and considered (robust) loss functions
Playfair, William Scottish 1759 1823 Pioneer of statistical graphics
Gauss, Carl Friedrich German 1777 1855 Invented least squares estimation methods (with Legendre). Used loss functions and maximum-likelihood estimation
Quetelet, Adolphe Belgian 1796 1874 Pioneered the use of probability and statistics in the social sciences
Nightingale, Florence English 1820 1910 Applied statistical analysis to health problems, contributing to the establishment of epidemiology and public health practice. Developed statistical graphics especially for mobilizing public opinion. First female member of the Royal Statistical Society.
Galton, Francis English 1822 1911 Invented the concepts of standard deviation, correlation, regression [4][5]
Thiele, Thorvald N. Danish 1838 1910 Introduced cumulants and the term "likelihood". Introduced a Kalman filter in time-series
Peirce, Charles Sanders American 1839 1914 Formulated modern statistics in "Illustrations of the Logic of Science" (1877–1878) and "A Theory of Probable Inference" (1883). With a repeated measures design, introduced blinded, controlled randomized experiments (before Fisher). Invented optimal design for experiments on gravity, in which he "corrected the means". He used correlation, smoothing, and improved the treatment of outliers. Introduced terms "confidence" and "likelihood" (before Neyman and Fisher). While largely a frequentist, Peirce's possible world semantics introduced the "propensity" theory of probability. See the historical books of Stephen Stigler
Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro Irish 1845 1926 Revived exponential families (Laplace transforms) in statistics. Extended Laplace's (asymptotic) theory of maximum-likelihood estimation. Introduced basic results on information, which were extended and popularized by R. A. Fisher
Pearson, Karl English 1857 1936 Numerous innovations, including the development of the Pearson chi-squared test and the Pearson correlation. Founded the Biometrical Society and Biometrika, the first journal of mathematical statistics and biometry [6][7][8][9]
Spearman, Charles English 1863 1945 Extended the Pearson correlation coefficient to the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient [10]
Gosset, William Sealy (known as "Student") English 1876 1937 Discovered the Student t distribution and invented the Student's t-test [11]
Fisher, Ronald English 1890 1962 Wrote the textbooks and articles that defined the academic discipline of statistics, inspiring the creation of statistics departments at universities throughout the world. Systematized previous results with informative terminology, substantially improving previous results with mathematical analysis (and claims). Developed the analysis of variance, clarified the method of maximum likelihood (without the uniform priors appearing in some previous versions), invented the concept of sufficient statistics, developed Edgeworth's use of exponential families and information, introducing observed Fisher information, and many theoretical concepts and practical methods, particularly for the design of experiments [12][13][14]
Bonferroni, Carlo Emilio Italian 1892 1960 Invented the Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons
Wilcoxon, Frank Irish-American 1892 1965 Invented two statistical tests: Wilcoxon rank-sum test and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test
Neyman, Jerzy Polish-American 1894 1981 Discovered the confidence interval and co-developed the Neyman–Pearson lemma [15]
Deming, W. Edwards American 1900 1993 Developed methods for statistical quality control [16]
Pearson, Egon English 1895 1980 Co-developed the Neyman–Pearson lemma of statistical hypothesis testing [17]
Finetti, Bruno de Italian 1906 1985 Pioneer of the "operational subjective" conception of probability. Used this as the basis for exposition of the Bayesian method of statistical analysis. Developed the representation theorem for exchangeable random variables showing that they are the basis of the IID model in statistics.
Kendall, Maurice English 1907 1983 Co-developed methods for assessing statistical randomness; invented Kendall tau rank correlation coefficient
Tukey, John American 1915 2000 Jointly popularized Fast Fourier transformation, pioneer of exploratory data analysis and graphical presentation of data, developed the jackknife for variance estimation, invented the box plot. [18]
Blackwell, David American 1919 2010 Co-developed Rao-Blackwell theorem and wrote one of the first Bayesian textbooks, Basic Statistics. [19]
Rao, Calyampudi Radhakrishna Indian 1920 Co-developed Cramér–Rao bound and Rao–Blackwell theorem, invented MINQUE method of variance component estimation. [20][21]
Cox, David English 1924 Developed the proportional hazards model for the analysis of survival data [22]
Efron, Bradley American 1938 Invented the bootstrap resampling technique for deriving an empirical distribution of an estimate of a model parameter [23]

Founders of departments of statistics

The role of a department of statistics is discussed in a 1949 article by Harold Hotelling, which helped to spur the creation of many departments of statistics.[24]

Year Country University Founder References
1911 England University College London Pearson, Karl [7]
1918 United States Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Pearl, Raymond [25]
~1931 India Indian Statistical Institute Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis [26]
~1931 United States Columbia University Hotelling, Harold [27]
1933 USA Iowa State University Snedecor, George W. [28][29]
1941 USA North Carolina State University Cox, Gertrude [30]
1942 Sweden Uppsala University Wold, Herman [31]
1947 England University of Manchester Bartlett, M. S. [32][33]
1947 USA Department of Biometry and Statistics, Cornell University Federer, Walter T. [34][35][36]
1948 USA Stanford University  — [37]
1948 India University of Mumbai M. C. Chakrabarti [38]
1949 USA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  — [39]
1949 USA University of Chicago  — [40]
1953 England Cambridge University, Statistics Lab Wishart, John [41]
1953 India University of Pune V. S. Huzurbazar [42]
1955 USA University of California, Berkeley Neyman, Jerzy [43]
1957 USA Harvard University Cochran, W. G.
Mosteller, Frederick
1957 Australia University of Sydney Lancaster, H.O. [46]
1962 USA Texas A&M University Hartley, Herman Otto [47]
1963 USA Yale University Anscombe, Francis [48][49]
1964 Bangladesh Institute of Statistical Research and Training Hussain, Q.M. [50]
1965 USA Princeton University Tukey, John W [51][52]
1965 USA University of Iowa Hogg, Robert V. [53]
1966 Scotland University of Glasgow Aitchison, John
Silvey, David
1973 USA The Ohio State University Whitney, D. Ransom [55]
1979 Canada University of Toronto  — [56]
1981 India Vidyasagar University Anil Kumar Gain [57]
1982 Hong Kong Chinese University of Hong Kong Howell Tong [58]
1984 India Banaras Hindu University Singh, S.N.
1988 England University of Oxford Hinkley, D. V. [59]
1996 USA University of Virginia School of Medicine Harrell, Frank E. [60]

See also


  1. ^ Singh, Simon (2000). The code book : the science of secrecy from ancient Egypt to quantum cryptography (1st Anchor Books ed.). New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-49532-3.
  2. ^ Willcox, Walter (1938) The Founder of Statistics. Review of the International Statistical Institute 5(4):321–328.
  3. ^ "Thomas Bayes". Figures from the History of Probability and Statistics. University of Southampton.
  4. ^ "Francis Galton". Figures from the History of Probability and Statistics. University of Southampton.
  5. ^ "Sir Francis Galton F.R.S: 1822–1911".
  6. ^ "Pearson, Karl". Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  7. ^ a b "Karl Pearson (1857 - 1936)". Department of Statistical Science – University College London. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Karl Pearson". School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews. 2003.
  9. ^ John Aldrich (2008). "Karl Pearson: A Reader's Guide". University of Southampton.
  10. ^ Williams, RH, Zimmerman, DW, Zumbo, BD & Ross, D (2003). "Charles Spearman: British Behavioral Scientist". Human Nature Review. 3: 114–118.
  11. ^ "William Sealy Gosset". Figures from the History of Probability and Statistics. University of Southampton.
  12. ^ "Fisher, R.A." Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  13. ^ "R.A. Fisher". Figures from the History of Probability and Statistics. University of Southampton.
  14. ^ "A Guide to R. A. Fisher".
  15. ^ "Neyman, Jerzy". Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  16. ^ "Deming, W. Edwards". Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  17. ^ "Pearson, Egon S". Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  18. ^ Mccullagh, Peter (2003). "John Wilder Tukey. 16 June 1915 – 26 July 2000" (pdf). Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 49: 537–555. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2003.0032.
  19. ^ William Grimes (17 July 2010). "David Blackwell, Scholar of Probability, Dies at 91". New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2014. His “Basic Statistics” (1969) was one of the first textbooks on Bayesian statistics, which assess the uncertainty of future outcomes by incorporating new evidence as it arises, rather than relying on historical data. He also wrote numerous papers on multistage decision-making.
  20. ^ Degroot, Morris H. (1987). "A Conversation with C. R. Rao". Statistical Science. 2: 53–67. doi:10.1214/ss/1177013438.
  21. ^ Rao, Calyampudi R. Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  22. ^ Wermuth, Nanny; Anthony C. Davison; Dodge, Yadolah (2005). Celebrating Statistics: Papers in honour of Sir David Cox on his 80th birthday (Oxford Statistical Science Series). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-856654-9. OCLC 185035518.
  23. ^ Casella, George (2003). "Introduction to the Silver Anniversary of the Bootstrap". Statistical Science. 18 (2): 133–134. doi:10.1214/ss/1063994967.
  24. ^ Harold Hotelling (1988). "Golden Oldies: Classic Articles from the World of Statistics and Probability: 'The Place of Statistics in the University'". Statistical Science. 3 (1): 72–83. doi:10.1214/ss/1177013002.
  25. ^ Rohde, C.; Zeger, S.L.; Thomas, K.K.; Bandeen-Roche, K. (2012). Johns Hopkins University Department of Biostatistics. In Strength in Numbers: The Rising of Academic Statistics Departments in the U. S. (Eds. Agresti and Meng). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 129–141. ISBN 978-1-4614-3648-5.
  26. ^ Ghosh, JK (1994). "Mahalanobis and the Art and Science of Statistics: The Early Days". Indian Journal of History of Science. 29 (1): 90.
  27. ^ Hotelling, Harold. American Statistical Association Statisticians in History.
  28. ^ Kempthorne Oscar (1974). "George W. Snedecor". International Statistical Review. 42: 319–321.
  29. ^ David, H. A. (1998). "Statistics in U.S. Universities in 1933 and the establishment of the Statistical Laboratory at Iowa State". Statistical Science. 13: 66. doi:10.1214/ss/1028905974.
  30. ^ "Cox, Gertrude M". Statisticians in History. American Statistical Association.
  31. ^ Herman Wold was appointed Professor of Statistics at Uppsala University in 1942. Already, in 1928, a Swedish Doctor of Philosophy ("Filosofisk Doktorsgrad") was awarded (to P. George Winsler); in 1910, a Professor's Chair in "Statistics" was created.
  32. ^ This position was the second chair of mathematical statistics in the United Kingdom, but there was no formal Department of Statistics at the University of Manchester.
  33. ^ Whittle, Peter (2004). "Maurice Stevenson Bartlett. 18 June 1910 – 8 January 2002" (pdf). Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 50: 15–33. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2004.0002.
  34. ^ "Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology: History". Cornell University.
  35. ^ A. S. Hedayat (2005). "A Conversation with Walter T. Federer". Statistical Science. 20 (3): 302–315. doi:10.1214/088342305000000142.
  36. ^ Susan S. Lang (18 April 2008), Walter T. Federer, father of Cornell's statistics department, dies at 92, Cornell Chronicle
  37. ^ Stephen M. Stigler (1999). "The Foundations of Statistics at Stanford". The American Statistician. 53: 263–266. doi:10.1080/00031305.1999.10474470.
  38. ^ Dixit, Ulhas J.; Satam, Meena R. (1999). Dedicated to MC Chakrabarti, Book (Papers) - Statistical Inference and Design of Experiments. Narosa Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7319-281-4.
  39. ^ "UNC School of Public Health – School history". 2008.
  40. ^ Stephen M. Stigler. "About the Department of Statistics, University of Chicago".
  41. ^ Whittle, Peter (2003). "A Realised Path: The Cambridge Statistical Laboratory".
  42. ^ "1953-1960". University of Pune. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008.
  43. ^ E. L. Lehmann (1996). "The Creation and Early History of the Berkeley Statistics Department" (pdf). Statistics, Probability and Game Theory. Institute of Mathematical Statistics Lecture Notes – Monograph Series. 30: 139–146. doi:10.1214/lnms/1215453570. ISBN 0-940600-42-0.
  44. ^ "Cochran, William G". American Statistical Association Statisticians in History.
  45. ^ Mosteller, Frederick. American Statistical Association Statisticians in History.
  46. ^ "Obituary: Emeritus Professor Henry Oliver Lancaster, AO FAA". The University of Sydney News. 2002.
  47. ^ History, Department of Statistics. Texas A&M University.
  48. ^ Wolfgang Saxon (25 October 2001). "Francis John Anscombe, 83, Mathematician and Professor". New York Times.
  49. ^ Barbara (Amato) Kuslan (2002). "The History of the Yale University Department of Statistics 1963–2000".
  50. ^ "ISRT, University of Dhaka: Homepage".
  51. ^ Alexander Leitch (1978). "Statistics". A Princeton Companion. Princeton University Press.
  52. ^ David Leonhardt (28 July 2000). "John Tukey, 85, Statistician; Coined the Word 'Software'". New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  53. ^ Randles, Ronald Herman (2007). "A Conversation with Robert V. Hogg". Statistical Science. 22 (1): 137–152. arXiv:0708.3974Freely accessible. doi:10.1214/088342306000000637.
  54. ^ Department of Statistics Celebrates its 40th Birthday. University of Glasgow. 2006.
  55. ^ "OSU Oral History Interview with D. Ransom Whitney – University Archives".
  56. ^ "University of Toronto Department of Statistics: About Us".
  57. ^ Gain, Anil Kumar. "Founder of the University". Vidyasagar University.
  58. ^ "Vice-Chancellor's Report August 1982-July 1985, p.5".
  59. ^ "Brief History of the Establishment of Statistics at Oxford".
  60. ^ "Frank E. Harrell Jr., Ph.D. – Vanderbilt Kennedy Center People".

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