Open Access
Translator Disclaimer
May 2016 A Conversation with G. A. F. Seber
Richard Barker
Statist. Sci. 31(2): 151-160 (May 2016). DOI: 10.1214/16-STS556


In a career spanning more than 50 years, George Arthur Frederick Seber has made significant contributions in many areas of statistics as well as foundational work in capture–recapture modeling. Seber was born in 1938 in Australia to New Zealand parents and moved back to New Zealand where he completed almost all of his schooling. After graduating with bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Auckland, Seber studied for his Ph.D. at Manchester on a Commonwealth Scholarship. In his first year, he was supervised by John Darroch with David Silvey taking over supervision for the final 18 months of the degree. Seber’s Ph.D. thesis was remarkably fruitful leading to three papers in Biometrika, two in the Annals of Mathematical Statistics and one in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society B. The topics covered were broad mixing foundational work on linear model theory with capture–recapture problems. His solution to the multi-sample single recapture problem anticipated the general solution to the open population problem that Seber published in 1965 concurrent with the work of George Jolly.

Seber has been a prolific writer of books including classical texts on the linear model and nonlinear regression. His comprehensive book The Estimation of Animal Abundance appeared in two editions. He has recently completed four books and is working on a book on open population capture recapture.

Seber took up an invited personal Chair in Biometrics at the University of Otago in 1971, and then the foundational Chair in Statistics at the University of Auckland in 1973. Seber developed a remarkable statistics group built around people such as Jeffrey Hunter, Alan Lee, Alastair Scott, Chris Triggs and Chris Wild, all of whom went on to hold Chairs in Statistics and to head Departments of Statistics in New Zealand. Seber was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) in 1997 and in 1999 was awarded the Hector Medal by the RSNZ.


Download Citation

Richard Barker. "A Conversation with G. A. F. Seber." Statist. Sci. 31 (2) 151 - 160, May 2016.


Published: May 2016
First available in Project Euclid: 24 May 2016

zbMATH: 06946218
MathSciNet: MR3506096
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/16-STS556

Rights: Copyright © 2016 Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Vol.31 • No. 2 • May 2016
Back to Top