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February 2004 A Conversation with James O. Berger
Robert L. Wolpert
Statist. Sci. 19(1): 205-218 (February 2004). DOI: 10.1214/088342304000000053


James O. Berger was born on April 6, 1950, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Orvis and Thelma Berger. He earned his AB, MA and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Cornell University in 1971, 1973 and 1974, respectively. He served at Purdue University 1974–1997, as the Richard M. Brumfield Distinguished Professor of Statistics 1986–1997, and at Duke University as the Arts and Sciences Professor of Statistics in the Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences (ISDS) from 1997 to the present. He is also the Director of the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI), one of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s national institutes in the mathematical and statistical sciences.

Berger served as President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) 1995–1996 and Chair of the Section on Bayesian Statistical Science (SBSS) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 1995; he is President of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) in 2004. He has served as Co-Editor of The Annals of Statistics and on the editorial boards of the Springer Series in Statistics, of the Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, of Statistics and Decisions, of the International Statistical Review and of Test. He has organized or been on the organizing committees of twenty-eight conferences, including five of the Purdue Symposia on Statistical Decision Theory and Related Topics and four of the Valencia International Meetings on Bayesian Statistics.

Berger is the recipient of a host of honors. He is an elected fellow of the AAAS, the ASA and the IMS and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). He has earned Guggenheim and Sloan Fellowships and was the 1985 winner of the COPSS Presidents’ Award ( joint from IMS, ASA, ENAR, WNAR and CSS) given to an outstanding statistician below forty years of age (it is particularly noteworthy that he won that award at the tender age of 35), and was selected as the COPSS Fisher Lecturer in 2001. He was elected as a foreign member of the Spanish Real Academia de Ciencias in 2002, and to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2003.

Berger has been the advisor of 30 Ph.D. students, has written or edited thirteen books and has numerous other statistical publications. A listing of these publications can be found at his Web site,

Berger married Ann Louise Duer (whom he first met when they were in the seventh grade together) in 1970, and they have two children, Jill Berger, who is married to Sascha Hallstein and works as an optical scientist in Silicon Valley, and Julie Gish, who is married to Ryan Gish and works as a consultant in Chicago.


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Robert L. Wolpert. "A Conversation with James O. Berger." Statist. Sci. 19 (1) 205 - 218, February 2004.


Published: February 2004
First available in Project Euclid: 14 July 2004

zbMATH: 1059.01547
MathSciNet: MR2082155
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/088342304000000053

Rights: Copyright © 2004 Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Vol.19 • No. 1 • February 2004
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