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st: Ana Isabel Palma Carlos Timberlake (1943-2009)

From   "Nick Cox" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: Ana Isabel Palma Carlos Timberlake (1943-2009)
Date   Thu, 7 Jan 2010 16:29:35 -0000

Ana Timberlake died on 17 December 2009 after a long fight with
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A very strong and independent woman, she
was the founder and Chairman of Timberlake Consultants Limited (TCL), a
firm specialising in statistical software and consultancy, with
particular focus on medical research and econometric modeling

Ana was born in Portugal, the daughter of a civil engineer. Her early
childhood was on the Pego do Altar dam construction site in the Alentejo
where her father Armando da Palma Carlos was the resident engineer. Her
family were no strangers to strong women: her aunt Elina Guimarães has
been described as the first feminist in Portugal.

Ana took her first degree in mathematics at Lisbon University before
moving to Britain in 1969 to do a Master's degree in statistics at Southampton University. Ana was then employed at a small research unit in London, Planning and Transport Research and Computation (PTRC).

One of her early assignments at PTRC was a detailed analysis of the U.S.
survey upon which the British breathalyzer test had been based. The
original dataset consisted of 8,000 accident records and a further 8,000
controls. Early tabulations suggested that driving behavior actually
improved with the intake of a small amount of alcohol, which was
contrary to all former laboratory research.  However, after Ana had
standardised the data for weather, vehicle age, driving experience, and
so forth, it did become clear that there was a degradation in driving
ability with alcohol intake.

While working at PTRC, Ana started upon a doctoral degree at Queen Mary College, London, under David Barton, into the use of mathematics by scientists and engineers. This research caused some consternation among certain professions when it showed that the level of mathematical sophistication generally employed by them barely exceeded that gained in an O-level mathematics course, as then attained by many 15 or 16-year-olds.

Ana then joined Control Data Corporation in London as a statistical
consultant. Here she started to form her life-long and world-wide
associations with various academics, researchers, and developers of
statistical techniques and software. This led Ana to form TCL in 1982 as
a firm that specialized in bridging the gap between research and
development and the application of statistics and modeling.  She somehow
managed to juggle her family life with successfully building her firm
into a fully international business.

TCL's links with Stata are especially strong. Timberlake and its
associate companies distribute Stata in the United Kingdom, Brazil,
Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. Ana had an impact on many Stata
users by starting users' meetings. The first was held in London in 1995
and annual meetings have been held there ever since. By end-2009 53 had
been held world-wide, all of them following essentially the same mix of
talks and tutorials as originally devised by Ana, and all ending with 'Wishes and grumbles', Ana's happy phrase for a session devoted to user comments.

Ana will be very sadly missed, not only by family and friends but also by
many in the wider statistical community who enjoyed their contacts and
meetings with her. Those who knew her personally admired her dignity and
courage as she battled over the last few years with a cruel condition.

Teresa Timberlake and Nicholas Cox

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