George E. P. Box

(b. 1919)

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(1919–  ; b. Gravesend, England)

English statistician initially trained as a chemist, whose career was principally spent in the United States. During the Second World War, when determining the effects of poisonous gases, Box noted that the results varied and required statistical analysis. After the war, he studied mathematics and statistics at UCL, obtaining his PhD (supervised by Egon Pearson and Hartley) in 1952. He was appointed Professor of Statistics at U Wisconsin–Madison in 1960. In 1968 he was awarded the Shewhart Medal of the ASQ. He was President of the ASA in 1978 and was presented with its Wilks Award in 1972. He was the COPSS Fisher Lecturer in 1974, President of the IMS in 1980, and its Rietz Lecturer in 1981. He was elected FRS in 1985. In 1993 he was awarded the Guy Medal in Gold of the RSS and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society in 1993. An oft-quoted statement attributed to Box is ‘All models are wrong, some models are useful’.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.

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