Statistical Science

A Conversation with Shelemyahu Zacks

Nitis Mukhopadhyay

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Shelley Zacks was born in Tel Aviv on October 15, 1932. He earned his B.A. degree in statistics, mathematics and sociology from Hebrew University in 1955, an M.Sc. degree in operations research and statistics from the Technion in 1960, and a Ph.D. degree in operations research from Columbia University in 1962. He is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking articles on change-point problems, common mean problems, Bayes sequential strategies and reliability analysis. His lifelong enthusiasm in handling difficult problems arising in science and engineering has been a primary inspiration behind his most important theoretical publications. His studies on survival probabilities in crossing mine fields as well as his contributions in stochastic visibility in random fields are regarded as fundamental work in naval research and other defense related areas. Professor Zacks’ authoritative book, The Theory of Statistical Inference (1971), and its 1975 Russian translation have served graduate programs and researchers all over the globe very well for over 30 years. He has written other books and monographs, including Parametric Statistical Inference: Basic Theory and Modern Approaches (1981b), Introduction to Reliability Analysis: Probability Models and Statistical Methods (1992), Prediction Theory for Finite Populations (1992), co-authored with H. Bolfarine, Stochastic Visibility in Random Fields (1994b) and Modern Industrial Statistics: Design and Control of Quality and Reliability (1998), co-authored with R. Kenet. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 research publications. During the period 1957 through 1980, his career path took him to the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), New York University, Stanford University, Kansas State University, University of New Mexico, Tel Aviv University, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI). During 1974–1979, he was a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at CWRU. In 1979–1980, he spent a year in the Department of Statistics at VPI. In 1980 he moved to State University of New York–Binghamton (now called Binghamton University) as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and he has continued in the department as Professor and Director of the Center for Statistics, Quality Control and Design. For nearly 20 years, Professor Zacks worked as a consultant for the Program in Logistics at George Washington University. Professor Zacks has held a steady stream of editorial positions for such journals as Journal of the American Statistical Association, The Annals of Statistics, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, Communications in Statistics and Sequential Analysis. He served as the Executive Editor for Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference during 1998–2000. He has earned many honors and awards, including Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1974), Fellow of the American Statistical Association (1974), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1982) and elected membership in the International Statistical Institute (1975). He regularly travels to scientific conferences as an invited participant, works harder than many half his age, and continues to inspire through his writings and uniquely affectionate presence.

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Statist. Sci. Volume 20, Number 1 (2005), 89-110.

First available in Project Euclid: 6 June 2005

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Mukhopadhyay, Nitis. A Conversation with Shelemyahu Zacks. Statist. Sci. 20 (2005), no. 1, 89--110. doi:10.1214/088342305000000133.

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