John Wilder Tukey
|Born||June 16, 1915
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
|Died||July 26, 2000 (aged 85)
New Brunswick, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Brown University
|Doctoral advisor||Solomon Lefschetz|
|Doctoral students||Frederick Mosteller
Kai Lai Chung
|Known for||FFT algorithm
Coining the term ‘bit’
|Notable awards||Samuel S. Wilks Award (1965)
National Medal of Science (USA) in Mathematical, Statistical, and Computational Sciences (1973)
Shewhart Medal (1976)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1982)
Deming Medal (1982)
James Madison Medal (1984)
Foreign Member of the Royal Society(1991)
Tukey was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1915, and obtained a B.A. in 1936 and M.Sc.in 1937, in chemistry, from Brown University, before moving to Princeton University where he received a Ph.D. in mathematics.
During World War II, Tukey worked at the Fire Control Research Office and collaborated withSamuel Wilks and William Cochran. After the war, he returned to Princeton, dividing his time between the university and AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Among many contributions to civil society, Tukey served on a committee of the American Statistical Association that produced a report challenging the conclusions of the Kinsey Report,Statistical Problems of the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.
Tukey retired in 1985. He died in New Brunswick, New Jersey on July 26, 2000.
His statistical interests were many and varied. He is particularly remembered for his development with James Cooley of the Cooley–Tukey FFT algorithm. In 1970, he contributed significantly to what is today known as the jackknife estimation—also termed Quenouille-Tukey jackknife. He introduced the box plot in his 1977 book,”Exploratory Data Analysis“.
Tukey’s range test, the Tukey lambda distribution, Tukey’s test of additivity and Tukey’s lemma all bear his name. He is also the creator of several little-known methods such as the trimean andmedian-median line, an easier alternative to linear regression.
Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher FRS (17 February 1890 – 29 July 1962) was an English statistician,evolutionary biologist, eugenicist and geneticist. Among other things, Fisher is well known for his contributions to statistics by creating Fisher’s exact test and Fisher’s equation. Anders Hald called him “a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science” while Richard Dawkins named him “the greatest biologist since Darwin“.
Born in Canterbury, England to Agnes Sealy Vidal and Colonel Frederic Gosset, Gosset attendedWinchester College before reading chemistry and mathematics at New College, Oxford. On graduating in 1899, he joined the Dublin brewery of Arthur Guinness & Son.
Guinness was a progressive agro-chemical business and Gosset would apply his statistical knowledge both in the brewery and on the farm—to the selection of the best yielding varieties ofbarley. Gosset acquired that knowledge by study, trial and error and by spending two terms in 1906–7 in the biometric laboratory of Karl Pearson. Gosset and Pearson had a good relationship and Pearson helped Gosset with the mathematics of his papers. Pearson helped with the 1908 papers but he had little appreciation of their importance. The papers addressed the brewer’s concern with small samples, while the biometrician typically had hundreds of observations and saw no urgency in developing small-sample methods.
Another researcher at Guinness had previously published a paper containing trade secrets of the Guinness brewery. To prevent further disclosure of confidential information, Guinness prohibited its employees from publishing any papers regardless of the contained information. However, after pleading with the brewery and explaining that his mathematical and philosophical conclusions were of no possible practical use to competing brewers, he was allowed to publish them, but under a pseudonym (“Student”), to avoid difficulties with the rest of the staff. Thus his most famous achievement is now referred to as Student’s t-distribution, which might otherwise have been Gosset’s t-distribution.