April 16, 1894–August 5, 1981


DURING THE 1930s Jerzy Neyman developed a new paradigm for theoretical statistics, which derives optimal statistical procedures as solutions to clearly stated mathematical problems. He applied these ideas to the theories of hypothesis testing, estimation by confidence intervals, and survey sampling. During the following decades this became the dominant approach to theoretical statistics. In addition to his scientific work, Neyman was a far-seeing and highly efficient administrator who in the decade 1945–55 created in Berkeley a substantial Department of Statistics of international stature. Starting in 1945 he also established a Berkeley series of Symposia on Mathematical Statistics and Probability, meeting at five-year intervals, which for the next twenty-five years became the principal series of international meetings in statistics.

Neyman's long life was dominated by his work, of which he took a comprehensive view encompassing its academic, administrative, and social aspects.

Adapted from a biographical article written for the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Supplement II. I am grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies for permitting the use of this material.

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