Statistical Science

A Conversation with Leo Goodman

Mark P. Becker

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Leo A. Goodman was born on August 7, 1928 in New York City. He received his A.B. degree, summa cum laude, in 1948 from Syracuse University, majoring in mathematics and sociology. He went on to pursue graduate studies in mathematics, with an emphasis on mathematical statistics, in the Mathematics Department at Princeton University, and in 1950 he was awarded the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. His statistics professors at Princeton were the late Sam Wilks and John Tukey. Goodman then began his academic career as a statistician, and also as a statistician bridging sociology and statistics, with an appointment in 1950 as assistant professor in the Statistics Department and the Sociology Department at the University of Chicago, where he remained, except for various leaves, until 1987. He was promoted to associate professor in 1953, and to professor in 1955. Goodman was at Cambridge University in 1953–1954 and 1959–1960 as visiting professor at Clare College and in the Statistical Laboratory. And he spent 1960–1961 as a visiting professor of mathematical statistics and sociology at Columbia University. He was also a research associate in the University of Chicago Population Research Center from 1967 to 1987. In 1970 he was appointed the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, a title that he held until 1987. He spent 1984–1985 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford. In 1987 he was appointed the Class of 1938 Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Sociology Department and the Statistics Department. Goodman’s numerous honors include honorary D.Sc. degrees from the University of Michigan and Syracuse University, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has also received numerous awards: From the American Statistical Association, the Samuel S. Wilks Medal; from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies, the R. A. Fisher Lectureship; and from the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the Henry L. Reitz Lectureship; also, from the American Sociological Association, the Samuel A. Stouffer Methodology Award and the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award; and from the American Sociological Association Methodology Section, the inaugural Otis Dudley Duncan Lectureship. Earlier he had received a Special Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, the Social Science Research Council and the National Science Foundation. In 2005 the American Sociological Association Methodology Section established the Leo A. Goodman Award to recognize contributions to sociological methodology, and/or innovative uses of sociological methodology, made by a scholar who is no more than fifteen years past the Ph.D.

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Statist. Sci. Volume 24, Number 3 (2009), 361-385.

First available in Project Euclid: 31 March 2010

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Categorical data analysis survey data analysis panel studies data analysis log-linear analysis latent structure analysis statistical magic and/or statistical serendipity mathematics background for statistics bridging sociology demography economic time series and more


Becker, Mark P. A Conversation with Leo Goodman. Statist. Sci. 24 (2009), no. 3, 361--385. doi:10.1214/08-STS276.

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