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John Wilder Tukey
|Data 2:|| June 16 1915|
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
|Data 3 (data hidden if data3 empty or not defined):|| July 26 2000 (aged 85)|
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Tukey obtained a B.A. in 1936 and M.Sc. in 1937, in Chemistry, from Brown University, before moving to Princeton University where he received his Ph.D. in mathematics. During World War II, Tukey worked at the Fire Control Research Office and collaborated with Samuel Wilks and William Cochran. After the war, he returned to Princeton, dividing his time between the university and AT&T Bell Laboratories. He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1982 "For his contributions to the spectral analysis of random processes and the fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm."
His statistical interests were many and varied. He is particularly remembered for his development with James Cooley of the Cooley-Tukey FFT algorithm. In 1970, he contributed significantly to what is today known as the jackknife estimation—also termed Quenouille-Tukey jackknife. He introduced the box plot in his 1977 book, Exploratory Data Analysis.
He also contributed to statistical practice and articulated the important distinction between exploratory data analysis and confirmatory data analysis, believing that much statistical methodology placed too great an emphasis on the latter. Though he believed in the utility of separating the two types of analysis, he pointed out that sometimes, especially in natural science, this was problematic and termed such situations uncomfortable science.
He wrote four papers with his fifth cousin Paul Tukey, who was an undergraduate at Princeton when they met.
Among many contributions to civil society, Tukey served on a committee of the American Statistical Association that produced a report challenging the conclusions of the Kinsey Report, Statistical Problems of the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.
Tukey coined many statistical terms that have become part of common usage, but the two most famous coinages attributed to him were related to computer science. While working with John von Neumann on early computer designs, Tukey introduced the word "bit" as a contraction of binary digit. The term bit was first used in an article by Claude Shannon in 1948. Tukey used the term "software" in a computing context in a 1958 article for American Mathematical Monthly, the first published use of the term.
A D Gordon offered the following summary of Tukey's principles for statistical practice:
... the usefulness and limitation of mathematical statistics; the importance of having methods of statistical analysis that are robust to violations of the assumptions underlying their use; the need to amass experience of the behaviour of specific methods of analysis in order to provide guidance on their use; the importance of allowing the possibility of data's influencing the choice of method by which they are analysed; the need for statisticians to reject the role of 'guardian of proven truth', and to resist attempts to provide once-for-all solutions and tidy over-unifications of the subject; the iterative nature of data analysis; implications of the increasing power, availability and cheapness of computing facilities; the training of statisticians.
Tukey retired in 1985. In 2000, he died in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
- "Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise." J. W. Tukey (1962, page 13), "The future of data analysis". Annals of Mathematical Statistics 33(1), pp. 1-67.
- "The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body of data." J. W. Tukey (1986), "Sunset salvo". The American Statistician 40(1). Online at http://www.jstor.org/pss/2683137
- Hoaglin, D C; Mosteller, F & Tukey, John Wilder (Eds) (1985). Exploring Data Tables, Trends and Shapes. ISBN 0-471-09776-4.
- Hoaglin, D C; Mosteller, F & Tukey, John Wilder (Eds) (1983). Understanding Robust and Exploratory Data Analysis. ISBN 0-471-09777-2.
- Tukey, John Wilder (1977). Exploratory Data Analysis. ISBN 0-201-07616-0.
- (published in the Annals of Statistics) John W. Tukey: His Life and Professional Contributions
- Memories of John Tukey
- Short biography by Mary Bittrich
- "Remembering John W. Tukey", special issue of Statistical Science
- John Tukey at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- O'Connor, John J. & Robertson, Edmund F., "John Tukey", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
- Interview of John Tukey about his experience at Princeton
- Footnoted references
- ↑ The origin of the 'bit'
- ↑ John Tukey, 85, Statistician; Coined the Word 'Software', New York Times, Obituaries, July 28, 2000
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Tukey, John Wilder|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||American Mathematician|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 16, 1915|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA|
|DATE OF DEATH||2000-7-26|
|PLACE OF DEATH||New Brunswick, NJ, USA|
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