Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor
Department of Statistics and the College
Member: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science
Investigation of the history of the development of statistical methods, in relation to the problems in astronomy, geodesy, biology, medicine, social sciences, and psychology where they were developed. The study of the reception of quantification in the sciences, and of the way twentieth-century conceptual developments evolved from earlier work and advances in technology. The investigation of how understanding of regression and aggregation paradoxes have influenced policy debates, and how subtle mathematical developments in the twentieth century have become confounded with personal disputes and the formation of scientific schools. The history of lotteries in the 18th and 19th centuries and their role in forming (and reflection of) public attitudes towards risk. Twentieth century mathematical statistics, particularly the work and relationship between Karl Pearson and Ronald A. Fisher. The original motivation for Bayes Theorem, and the mathematical developments in models for inheritance that introduced the multivariate analysis that permitted a general theory for Bayesian inference in the 20th century. The intellectual structure of the discipline of statistics.
The application of statistical theory in such areas as the written transmission of historical information, the evaluation of trends, periodicities, and anomalies in the fossil record, clustering in cultural anthropology, the optimal arrangement of published information, and the measurement of influence in scientific research. The statistics of sports, particularly in baseball and tournament golf.