May 16, 2013

Members’ News: June/July 2013

Featuring news about Peter Hall, Gregory Lawler; Larry Shepp; Gareth Roberts, Terry Speed; Larry Brown, Bin Yu; Eyal Lubetsky; T.N. Sriram; Vincenzo Capasso; Peter Bickel.


US National Academy of Sciences elects Peter Hall and Greg Lawler

The US National Academy of Sciences has elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Among them are two familiar names: former IMS President Peter Hall, and IMS Fellow Gregory F. Lawler. Peter Hall is Australian Laureate Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Distinguished Professor at UC Davis. He was elected a Foreign Associate. Greg Lawler is professor in the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Chicago. Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. National Academy membership is considered one of the highest American honors that a scientist can receive.

Larry Shepp, 1936–2013

On April 23 Larry Shepp, the Patrick T. Harker Professor in the Statistics Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, passed away at the age of 76, having been unable to recover from a fall several months ago. Larry was loved by many and had friends all over the world. Internationally recognized as a distinguished mathematician and probabilist of the highest caliber, Larry was an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A full obituary will follow.

Gareth Roberts and Terry Speed named Fellows of the Royal Society

The UK’s Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. Each year it elects new Fellows from the UK and Commonwealth, and Foreign Members; they are elected on the basis of excellence in science. There are approximately 1,450 Fellows and Foreign Members, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates. Among those elected this year are Gareth Roberts and Terry Speed. Gareth Roberts, University of Warwick, UK: according to his work spans “applied probability, Bayesian statistics and computational statistics. He has made fundamental contributions to the theory, methodology and application of Markov Chain Monte Carlo and related methods in statistics. He has developed crucial convergence and stability theory, constructed a theory of optimal scaling for Metropolis-Hastings algorithms, and has introduced and explored the theory of adaptive MCMC algorithms. He has made pioneering contributions to infinite dimensional simulation problems and inference in stochastic processes.” Terry Speed is Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The Royal Society website says Terry, “is regarded internationally as the expert on the analysis of microarray data. This results partly from the sheer ingenuity of his work, and in part it is due to his commitment to working closely with biomedical scientists, enabling him to appreciate first-hand the biological challenges and the consequent requirements of new methodology … [He] has made seminal contributions to bioinformatics, statistical genetics, the analysis of designed experiments, graphical models and Bayes networks.”

American Academy of Arts and Sciences elects Larry Brown, Bin Yu

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected Larry Brown and Bin Yu to its membership. Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.

Lawrence David Brown, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, lists his research interests at as, “statistical decision theory; statistical inference; nonparametric function estimation; foundations of statistics; sampling theory (census data); empirical queueing science.” Bin Yu, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, is currently IMS President-Elect. According to her department webpage, Bin is “currently working on statistical machine learning theory, methodologies, and algorithms for solving high-dimensional data problems. Current research topics of my group cover sparse modeling (e.g. Lasso), structured sparsity (e.g. hierarchical and group and graph path), analysis and methods for spectral clustering for undirected and directed graphs; and our data problems come from diverse interdisciplinary areas including remote sensing, neuroscience, document summarization, and social networks. My past research areas have also included empirical processes, Markov Chain Monte Carlo, signal processing, the minimum description length principle (MDL), and information theory.”

The complete list of new members is at

Eyal Lubetzky receives Rollo Davidson Prize

The Rollo Davidson Trustees have announced the award of the 2013 Rollo Davidson Prize jointly to Eyal Lubetzky (Microsoft Research, Redmond) and Allan Sly (University of California, Berkeley) for their work on the dynamics of the Ising model, and especially their remarkable proof of the cut-off phenomenon.

New IMS Managing Editor

IMS Council has approved the appointment of T.N. Sriram as Managing Editor, for the term January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016. He will take over from Michael Phelan. T.N. Sriram is a professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Georgia, Athens. See his webpage at

Vincenzo Capasso awarded “Chair of Excellence”

Vincenzo Capasso, who is a member of IMS and an Elected Fellow of ISI, is Full Professor of Probability and Mathematical Statistics at the Department of Mathematics, Milan University, Italy. He has been awarded one of ten Chairs of Excellence for the 2013–14 academic year, in an international competition called by Carlos III University of Madrid, in order to promote excellence in research and attract frontline researchers from the international university and research community. The awardees in all fields of research were selected by an evaluation committee composed of eight senior professors, including five from Carlos III.

COPSS Fisher Lecture by Peter Bickel

Peter Bickel will give the COPSS Fisher lecture at JSM Montreal on August 7th, at 4pm. The title of his talk is From Fisher to “Big Data”: continuities and discontinuities.


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