William Gemmell Cochran


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(1909–80; b. Rutherglen, Scotland; d. Orleans, MA)

Scottish statistician who spent most of his career in the United States. Cochran studied mathematics first at Glasgow U and then at Cambridge U. During this time his first papers were published; the second of these (in 1934) introduced Cochran's theorem. At the height of the depression Cochran abandoned his doctoral studies when offered a job as assistant to Yates at Rothamsted. In 1939 he moved to the United States, where, successively, he held chairs at Princeton U, North Carolina State U, Johns Hopkins U, and Harvard U. His co-authored books Experimental Designs (with Gertrude Cox) and Statistical Methods (with George Snedecor) were regarded as compulsory reading by the next generation of statisticians. He was President of the IMS in 1946 and was its 1967 Rietz Lecturer. He was President of the ASA in 1953 and was its Wilks Award winner in 1967. He was editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association from 1946 to 1950, and was the COPSS Fisher lecturer in 1972. He was elected to the NAS in 1974 and was elected an Honorary Life Member of the IBS in 1976.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.

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