Biometry, R.A. Fisher, and Statistical Science

Noel Cressie
Department of Statistics, The Ohio State University

(October 26, 2009 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Biometry, R.A. Fisher, and Statistical Science

Abstract

In his 1995 book, "River out of Eden", Richard Dawkins described R.A. Fisher as "the greatest of Darwin's successors". Fisher was a statistician whose work in agricultural science 75 years ago arguably led to the planet's ability to feed itself. He contributed in many fundamental ways to biometry and statistical inference. Two hundred years before Fisher, Thomas Bayes' work on probability was published, and that has led to statistical inference of a type that Fisher was never able to accept. Now we are faced with a Twenty-first Century with huge questions in Energy, Climate, Environment, Finance, Water, and (still) Food. Uncertainty abounds, and society's approach has been to collect more data. The challenge is to find the nuggets of knowledge in these increasingly massive datasets. In this talk, I shall show how Fisher and Bayes both contribute to Statistical Science's role in helping to answer these and many other questions.