Bruce Lindsay selected as holder of Eberly Family Chair in Statistics

May 25, 2012

Bruce Lindsay, Willaman Professor of Statistics and head of the Department of Statistics at Penn State University, has been appointed as holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Statistics, one of the highest honors awarded to faculty members in Penn State's Eberly College of Science. The appointment, effective on June 30, was made by the Office of the President of the University, based on the recommendations of colleagues and the dean, in recognition of Lindsay's national and international reputation for excellence in research and teaching.

Research in the area of statistics is focused on the best ways to determine scientific truths from inherently variable scientific data. Lindsay's statistical research is centered around likelihood-based statistical inferences, which are used widely in scientific data analyses because of their unique power to find the underlying structure of the data.

Lindsay has published numerous papers that are viewed as fundamental innovations on important topics related to the analysis of scientific data. In all of his research, Lindsay has focused on statistical methods that are useful for research in other scientific disciplines; for example, he has constructed models and analyses that have been applied to biological data from genomic studies. Lindsay is recognized particularly for the methods he developed for working with mixture models, which are used when data are collected from a mixture of populations. His work in this area is recognized as a major contribution to the foundations of statistical theory.

In an event that had a signature impact on the research area of mixture models, he was chosen in 1993 to deliver ten lectures as the principal speaker at a regional conference organized by the National Science Foundation Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences. He also has presented invited talks at scientific meetings around the world and at universities across the United States and in Canada, Belgium, Germany, and Australia.

In recognition of his many years of fundamental contributions to the understanding of scientific data, he was selected to be the Fisher Lecturer for 2010 at the largest gathering of statisticians in the world. This award is presented by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies who represent a large fraction of the leading statistical societies, such as the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the International Biometric Society, and the Statistical Society of Canada.

Lindsay also has played a leading role in the creation of our nation's policy regarding statistical data. In 2002, he was chair of the National Science Foundation Workshop on the Future of Statistics, and was one of the coeditors of the resulting advisory report to the National Science Foundation. From 1995 to 1997, he served on the National Research Council Committee on Fish Stock Assessment Methods.

Science moves from generation to generation through its mentors, and Lindsay has supervised 30 doctoral degree recipients during his time at Penn State. Highly regarded for his skills as a mentor, Lindsay said his students are one of his main sources of inspiration for the development of new scientific ideas. In recognition of his outstanding support of students doing research, Lindsay, was honored in 1998 by the Penn State chapter of the scientific research society, Sigma Xi.

Among the many honors he has received for his research work, Lindsay is a co-winner of the 1997 Snedecor Award given by the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies for the best paper in biometrics published during 1995 and 1996. In 1996, he earned a Guggenheim Fellowship and, in 1990, he was honored with a Humboldt Senior Scientist Research Award. He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1987 and of the American Statistical Association in 1998.

Lindsay received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon in 1969. At the beginning of his graduate education, Lindsay did graduate studies in mathematics at Yale University. He then interrupted his graduate studies to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years during the Vietnam War. He subsequently earned a doctoral degree in biomathematics in 1978 at the University of Washington. During the next academic year, he was funded by an NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellowship to study at the Imperial College of London with his scientific advisor, the internationally renowned statistician Sir David Cox.

He joined the Penn State faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor of statistics, then was promoted to associate professor in 1985 and to professor in 1987. He was named Distinguished Professor of Statistics in 1992 and Willaman Professor of Statistics in 2004. He has served as head of the Department of Statistics since 2006.

  • Bruce Lindsay, Willaman Professor of Statistics and head of the Department of Statistics at Penn State University

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015