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Bookmarks: Series 1 details

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André-Louis Cholesky

André-Louis Cholesky (1875–1918) was born near Bordeaux in France. He studied at the Ecole Polytechnique and then joined the French army. Cholesky served in Tunisia and Algeria and then worked in the Geodesic Section of the Army Geographic Service, where he invented his now-famous method. In the war of 1914–1918, he served in the Vosges and in Romania but after return to the Western front was fatally wounded. Cholesky’s method was written up posthumously by one of his fellow officers but attracted little attention until the 1940s.

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Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) was born in Braunschweig (Brunswick), now in Germany. He studied there and at Göttingen. His doctoral dissertation at the University of Helmstedt was a discussion of the fundamental theorem of algebra. He made many fundamental contributions to geometry, number theory, algebra, real analysis, differential equations, numerical analysis, statistics, astronomy, optics, geodesy, mechanics, and magnetism. An outstanding genius, Gauss worked mostly in isolation in Göttingen.

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William Sealy Gosset

William Sealy Gosset (1876–1937) was born in Canterbury, England. He studied chemistry and mathematics at Oxford and obtained employment as a chemist with the brewers Guinness in Dublin. Gosset became very interested in statistical problems, which he discussed with Karl Pearson and later with Fisher and Neyman, and published several important papers under the pseudonym “Student”, including that on the test that usually bears his name.

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Leslie Kish

Leslie Kish (1910–2000) was born in Poprad, Hungary, and entered the United States with his family in 1926. He worked as a lab assistant at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and studied at the College of the City of New York, fighting in the Spanish Civil War before receiving his first degree in mathematics. Kish worked for the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Agriculture, the Army Air Corps, and finally the University of Michigan. He carried out pioneering work in the theory and practice of survey sampling, including design effects, balanced repeated replication, response errors, rolling samples and censuses, controlled selection, multipurpose designs, and small-area estimation.

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Frank Wilcoxon

Frank Wilcoxon (1892–1965) was born in Ireland to American parents. After working in various occupations (including merchant seaman, oil-well pump attendant and tree surgeon), he settled in chemistry, gaining degrees from Rutgers and Cornell and employment from various companies. Working mainly on the development of fungicides and insecticides, Wilcoxon became interested in statistics in 1925 and made several key contributions to nonparametric methods. After retiring from industry, he taught statistics at Florida State until his death.

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