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May 2000 A conversation with Milton Sobel
Nitis Mukhopadhyay
Statist. Sci. 15(2): 168-190 (May 2000). DOI: 10.1214/ss/1009212756


Milton Sobel was born in New York City on August 30, 1919. He earned his B.A. degree in mathematics from the City College of New York in 1940, an M.A. degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. degree in mathematical statistics from Columbia University in 1946 and 1951, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis advisor was Abraham Wald. He has made substantial contributions in several areas of statistics and mathematics—including decision theory, sequential analysis, selection and ranking, reliability analysis, combinatorial problems, Dirichlet processes, as well as statistical tables and computing. He has been particularly credited for path breaking contributions in selection and ranking, sequential analysis and reliability, includingthe landmark book, Sequential Identi fication and Ranking Procedures (1968), coauthored with Robert E. Bechhofer and Jack C. Kiefer. Later, he collaborated with Jean D.Gibbons and Ingram Olkin to write a methodologically oriented book, Selecting and Ordering Populations (1977), on the subject. He has published authoritative books on Dirichlet distributions, Type 1 and Type 2 with V. R. R.Uppuluri and K. Frankowski. He is the author or coauthor of more than one hundred and twenty research publications, many of which are part of today ’s statistical folklore. During the period July 1940 through June 1960, his career path led him to work at the Census Bureau, the Army War College (Fort McNair),Columbia University, Wayne State University, Cornell University and Bell Laboratories. From September 1960 through June 1975, he was Professor of Statistics at the University of Minnesota, and from July 1975 through June 1989 he was a Professor in the Department of Probability and Statistics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has since been a Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Barbara. He has earned many honors and awards, including Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1956) and Fellow of the American Statistical Association (1958),a Guggenheim Fellowship (1967 –1968), a NIH Fellowship (1968 –1969)and elected membership in the International Statistical Institute (1974). He continues to think and work harder than many half his age and still goes to his department at UC Santa Barbara every day. Milton Sobel remains vigorous in attacking and solving hard problems.


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Nitis Mukhopadhyay. "A conversation with Milton Sobel." Statist. Sci. 15 (2) 168 - 190, May 2000.


Published: May 2000
First available in Project Euclid: 24 December 2001

MathSciNet: MR1788731
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/ss/1009212756

Rights: Copyright © 2000 Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Vol.15 • No. 2 • May 2000
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