Organizing Statistics

  • Frederick Mosteller


How can one persuade an old university to create a new department? Universities are usually organized along disciplinary lines, but at Harvard and many others, statistics has been an exception. Before 1946, few universities in the United States had departments of statistics. When I came to Harvard, statistics, just as today, was taught in various departments throughout the University. Let me list a few teachers and places in 1946: William Leonard Crum and Edwin Frickey in Economics; Saunders MacLane in Mathematics; Richard von Mises in Applied Mathematics; Harold Thomas, Jr., in Engineering (his father had taught me engineering drawing at Carnegie when I was a freshman); Truman Kelley, David Tiedeman, and others in the Graduate School of Education; and Hugo Muench in the Department of Biostatistics, which he chaired beginning in 1947; I taught mathematical statistics for the Department of Mathematics and quantitative methods for Social Relations. The list could readily be lengthened.


Social Relation Organize Statistics Faculty Meeting Engineering Drawing Batting Average 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick Mosteller
    • 1
  1. 1.BelmontUSA

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