Past, Present, and Future of Statistical Science was commissioned in 2013 by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) to celebrate its 50th anniversary and the International Year of Statistics. COPSS consists of five charter member statistical societies in North America and is best known for sponsoring prestigious awards in statistics, such as the COPSS Presidents’ award. Through the contributions of a distinguished group of 50 statisticians who are past winners of at least one of the five awards sponsored by COPSS, this volume showcases the breadth and vibrancy of statistics, describes current challenges and new opportunities, highlights the exciting future of statistical science, and provides guidance to future generations of statisticians. The book is not only about statistics and science but also about people and their passion for discovery. Distinguished authors present expository articles on a broad spectrum of topics in statistical education, research, and applications. Topics covered include reminiscences and personal reflections on statistical careers, perspectives on the field and profession, thoughts on the discipline and the future of statistical science, and advice for young statisticians. Many of the articles are accessible not only to professional statisticians and graduate students but also to undergraduate students interested in pursuing statistics as a career and to all those who use statistics in solving real-world problems. A consistent theme of all the articles is the passion for statistics enthusiastically shared by the authors. Their success stories inspire, give a sense of statistics as a discipline, and provide a taste of the exhilaration of discovery, success, and professional accomplishment.
“This collection of reminiscences, musings on the state of the art, and advice for young statisticians makes for compelling reading. There are 52 contributions from eminent statisticians who have won a Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies award. Each is a short, focused chapter and so one could even say this is ideal bedtime (or coffee break) reading. Anyone interested in the history of statistics will know that much has been written about the early days but little about the field since the Second World War. This book goes some way to redress this and is all the more valuable for coming from the horse’s mouth…the closing chapter, the shortest of all, from Brad Efron: a list of”thirteen rules for giving a really bad talk“. This made me laugh out loud and should be posted on the walls of all conferences. I shall leave the final word to Peter Bickel:”We should glory in this time when statistical thinking pervades almost every field of endeavor. It is really a lot of fun."
―Robert Grant, in Significance, April 2017
The History of COPSS: “A brief history of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS)”, Ingram Olkin
Reminiscences and Personal Reflections on Career Paths
“Reminiscences of the Columbia University Department of Mathematical Statistics in the late 1940s”, Ingram Olkin · “A career in statistics”, Herman Chernoff · “. . . how wonderful the field of statistics is . . .”, David R. Brillinger · “An unorthodox journey to statistics: Equity issues, remarks on multiplicity”, Juliet Popper Shaffer · “Statistics before and after my COPSS Prize”, Peter J. Bickel · “The accidental biostatistics professor”, Donna Brogan · “Developing a passion for statistics”, Bruce G. Lindsay · “Reflections on a statistical career and their implications”, R. Dennis Cook · “Science mixes it up with statistics”, Kathryn Roeder · “Lessons from a twisted career path”, Jeffrey S. Rosenthal · “Promoting equity”, Mary Gray
Perspectives on the Field and Profession
“Statistics in service to the nation”, Stephen E. Fienberg · “Where are the majors?”, Iain M. Johnstone · “We live in exciting times”, Peter Hall · “The bright future of applied statistics”, Rafael A. Irizarry · “The road travelled: From a statistician to a statistical scientist”, Nilanjan Chatterjee · “Reflections on a journey into statistical genetics and genomics”, Xihong Lin · “Reflections on women in statistics in Canada”, Mary E. Thompson · “The whole women thing”, Nancy Reid · “Reflections on diversity”, Louise Ryan
Reflections on the Discipline
“Why does statistics have two theories?”, Donald A. S. Fraser · “Conditioning is the issue”, James O. Berger · “Statistical inference from a Dempster-Shafer perspective”, Arthur P. Dempster · “Nonparametric Bayes”, David B. Dunson · “How do we choose our default methods?”, Andrew Gelman · “Serial correlation and Durbin-Watson bounds”, T. W. Anderson · “A non-asymptotic walk in probability and statistics”, Pascal Massart · “The past’s future is now: What will the present’s future bring?”, Lynne Billard · “Lessons in biostatistics”, Norman E. Breslow · “A vignette of discovery”, Nancy Flournoy · “Statistics and public health research”, Ross L. Prentice · “Statistics in a new era for finance and health care”, Tze Leung Lai · “Meta-analyses: Heterogeneity can be a good thing”, Nan M. Laird · “Good health: Statistical challenges in personalizing disease prevention”, Alice S. Whittemore · “Buried treasures”, Michael A. Newton · “Survey sampling: Past controversies, current orthodoxy, future paradigms”, Roderick J. A. Little · “Environmental informatics: Uncertainty quantification in the environmental sciences”, Noel A. Cressie · “A journey with statistical genetics”, Elizabeth Thompson · “Targeted learning: From MLE to TMLE”, Mark van der Laan · “Statistical model building, machine learning, and the ah-ha moment”, Grace Wahba · “In praise of sparsity and convexity”, Robert J. Tibshirani · “Features of Big Data and sparsest solution in high confidence set”, Jianqing Fan · “Rise of the machines”, Larry A. Wasserman · “A trio of inference problems that could win you a Nobel Prize in statistics (if you help fund it)”, Xiao-Li Meng
Advice for the Next Generation
“Inspiration, aspiration, ambition”, C. F. Jeff Wu · “Personal reflections on the COPSS Presidents’ Award”, Raymond J. Carroll · “Publishing without perishing and other career advice”, Marie Davidian · “Converting rejections into positive stimuli”, Donald B. Rubin · “The importance of mentors”, Donald B. Rubin · “Never ask for or give advice, make mistakes, accept mediocrity, enthuse”, Terry Speed · “Thirteen rules”, Bradley Efron