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Hirotugu Akaike

Hirotugu Akaike (1927–2009) was born in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. He was the son of a silkworm farmer. He gained BA and DSc degrees from the University of Tokyo. Akaike’s career from 1952–1994 at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics in Japan culminated with his service as Director General; after 1994, he was Professor Emeritus. His best-known work in a prolific career is on what is now known as the Akaike information criterion (AIC), which was formulated to help select the most appropriate model from a number of candidates.

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Florence Nightingale David

Florence Nightingale David (1909–1993) was born in Ivington, England, to parents who were friends with Florence Nightingale, David’s namesake. She began her studies in statistics under the direction of Karl Pearson at University College, London, and continued under Jerzy Neyman. After receiving her doctorate in statistics in 1938, David became a senior statistician for various departments within the British military. She developed statistical models to forecast the toll on life and infrastructure that would occur if a large city were bombed. In 1938, she also published her book Tables of the Correlation Coefficient dealing with the distributions of correlation coefficients. After the war, she returned to University College, serving as a lecturer until her promotion to professor in 1962. In 1967, David joined the University of California, Riverside, eventually becoming chair of the Department of Statistics. One of her most well-known works is the book Games, Gods and Gambling: The Origins and History of Probability and Statistical Ideas from the Earliest Times to the Newtonian Era, a history of statistics. David published over 100 papers on topics including combinatorics, symmetric functions, the history of statistics, and applications of statistics, including ecological diversity. She published under the name F. N. David to avoid revealing her gender in a male-dominated profession.

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Major Greenwood

Major Greenwood (1880–1949) was born in London to a medical family. His given name, “Major”, was also that of his father and grandfather. Greenwood trained as a doctor but followed a career in medical research, learning statistics from Karl Pearson. He worked as a medical statistician and epidemiologist at the Lister Institute, the Ministry of Health, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With interests ranging from clinical trials to historical subjects, Greenwood played a major role in developing biostatistics in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) was born in Florence, Italy, to wealthy British parents who then moved to Derbyshire the following year. Perhaps best known for her pioneering work in nursing and the creation of the Nightingale School of Nurses, Nightingale also made important contributions to statistics and epidemiology. Struck by the high death toll of British soldiers in the Crimean War, she went to the medical facilities near the battlefields and determined that unsanitary conditions and widespread infections were contributing heavily to the death toll. Nightingale is known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for her habit of visiting patients in the hospitals at night. She used a form of pie chart illustrating the causes of mortality that is now known as the polar area diagram. In one version of the diagram, each month of a year is represented by a twelfth of the circle; months with more deaths are represented by wedges with longer sides so that the area of each wedge corresponds to the number of deaths that month. After her efforts in the war, Nightingale continued to collect statistics on sanitation and mortality and to stress the important role proper hygiene plays in reducing death rates. In 1859, the compassionate statistician, as she came to be known, was inducted as the first female member of the Statistical Society.

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Arnold Zellner

Arnold Zellner (1927–2010) was born in New York. He studied physics at Harvard and economics at Berkeley, and then taught economics at the Universities of Washington and Wisconsin before settling in Chicago in 1966. Among his many major contributions to econometrics and statistics are his work on seemingly unrelated regression, threestage least squares, and Bayesian econometrics. He founded the International Society for Bayesian Analysis in 1992.

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