Oct 2, 2011

Members’ News: October/November 2011

SRS Varadhan receives US National Medal of Science
IMS Fellow and former president Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, New York University, has been named a recipient of the US National Medal of Science—the highest honor bestowed by the government—for “his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior, which has revolutionized this field of study during the second half of the twentieth century and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability. The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics, and traffic engineering.

Emery Brown receives 2011 Jerome Sacks Award
NISS presented the 2011 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research to Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD, of MIT and Harvard. Brown is an anesthesiologist-statistician whose research focuses on the development of signal processing algorithms to characterize how the patterns of electrical discharges from neurons in the brain represent information from the outside world.

ASA Founders Award and Fellows; JSM Plenary Session webcasts
This year nearly 5,000 statisticians attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Miami, Florida. The American Statistical Association recognized several outstanding statisticians, including the Founders Award winners and 58 new ASA Fellows.

The Founders Award was given to IMS Fellow Wayne Fuller, member Nat Schenker, and to William B. Smith and Bob Starbuck. Wayne’s citation read, “for being an outstanding role model and a mentor to many ASA members for over 50 years; for his exemplary service to ASA through his leadership on various committees including Strategic Planning, Review of Long-Range Financial Policy, Census Blue Ribbon Panel, Appointments to Federal Statistics Positions, Selection of ASA Fellows and awards, and USDA Advisory committees; and for his invaluable contributions to a number of editorial boards, sections and the Board of Directors.” Nat Schenker’s citation was “for outstanding leadership and service well above the call of duty during two terms on the ASA Board, including one term as vice president; for his leadership as JSM Program Chair; for chairing the JSM Task Force, which had a significant positive impact on JSM; for chairing the Meetings Workgroup that led to the creation of the new Conference on Statistical Practice; for serving as chair of the Government Statistics Section; and for service on the Committee on Publications.”

Among the 58 new ASA Fellows were six IMS Fellows, J.T.Gene Hwang, Runze Li, Deborah A. Nolan, Dimitris Politis, Donglin Zeng and Hongtu Zhu; and 25 members, Keith Baggerly, Tianxi Cai, James J. Cochran, Paul A. Gustafson, J. Michael Hardin, Dominique Haughton, Alan Hutson, Patricia A. Jacobs, Zhezhen Jin, Grace E. Kissling, Kalimuthu Krishnamoorthy, Kenneth L. Lange, Peter J. Lenk, Faming Liang, Aiyi Liu, Ying Lu, Ranjan Maitra, Jeffrey S. Morris, Christopher Nachtsheim, J. Sunil Rao, Jerome P. Reiter, Venkatraman E. Seshan, Thomas A. Severini, Julia Volaufova, and Lijian Yang.

If you missed the Plenary Sessions, were unable to attend JSM, or just want to learn more about the meeting, the webcasts are now available for download or viewing at the JSM website: http://www.amstat.org/meetings/jsm/2011/webcasts/index.cfm

Rosenberger and Utts recipients of the 2011 NISS Distinguished Service Awards
James Rosenberger and Jessica Utts are this year’s recipients of the NISS Distinguished Service Awards. The awards were presented at the NISS reception at JSM Miami. James Rosenberger, Pennsylvania State University, received the award for his long-term service to NISS as a member of the Executive Committee and for the last two years as chair of the Finance Committee, as well as his department’s support of NISS and SAMSI through the affiliates program and by hiring of former NISS postdocs. Jessica Utts, University of California, Irvine, was given the award in recognition of her multiple terms on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee, her chairing the Awards Committee, and her three years (2008–11) as vice-chair of the Board.

ASA Biometrics Section presents awards to young investigators
During JSM 2011, the Biometrics Section presented its David P. Byar Young Investigator Award to Daniela Witten of the University of Washington for her paper “Penalized Classification Using Fisher’s Linear Discriminant.” She received $1,500. The Byar award is given annually to a new researcher in the Biometrics Section who presents an original manuscript at the Joint Statistical Meetings. The award commemorates David Byar, a renowned biostatistician who made significant contributions to the development and application of statistical methods during his career at the National Cancer Institute.

In addition to the Byar award, the section also chose the following authors for travel awards: Genevera Allen of Rice University; Qunhua Li of the University of California at Berkeley; Jessica Minnier of Harvard University; Layla Parast of Harvard University; and Sihai Dave Zhao of Harvard University.

Nick Horton receives ASA Boston Chapter Service Award
The American Statistical Association’s Boston Chapter has awarded its 2011 service award to Nick Horton in recognition of his many years of service to the Chapter. An active member of the program committee, Horton also served as council representative and member of the Council of Chapters Governing Board.

Paul Meier, 1924-2011
Professor Paul Meier, former president of IMS, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2011. Professor Meier was a world-class statistician and made extraordinary contributions to statistics and to society prior to his retirement from Columbia University. He was a fellow of IMS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the ASA, and had served as president of both IMS and the Society for Clinical Trials. The tribute at http://statistics.columbia.edu/content/paul-meier-1924-2011 described him as “a kind and gentle man [who] will be sorely missed.”
An obituary will appear in a future issue.

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