Person: Pitman, Edwin James George
Edwin Pitman was an Australian mathematician who made contributions to statistics and probability theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Edwin Edward worked for a firm making machinery.
- Pitman's early education was at Kensington State School, and from there he progressed to South Melbourne College.
- Even so, Edwin was dissatisfied with the course, believing that, although it was advanced it was not rigorous enough.
- One was the New Zealander D K Pieken, who taught Pitman a rigorous understanding of the number systems.
- Pitman graduated with a B.A. with First Class Honours in Mathematics in 1921 and a B.Sc., mainly involving physics, in 1922.
- The student, R A Scott, asked him to check that his analysis was correct before it sent it to John Wishart in Cambridge, which Pitman did.
- Not only did this mark the start of Pitman's collaboration with Scott and the State Department of Agriculture, but Scott also showed him a copy of R A Fisher's Statistical Methods for Research Workers.
- Pitman had no thoughts of publishing research articles at this stage in his career.
- This was only the first of several visits Pitman made to the United States.
- Most of these visits were made after Pitman retired, which was in 1962 when he reached the age of sixty-five.
- In 1979, Pitman published a book entitled Some basic theory for statistical inference.
- Pitman received many honours for his contributions to mathematics and statistics.
- Two years earlier he had been made an honorary life member of the Statistical Society of Australia and the Society now awards the Pitman Gold Medal as its highest honour.
- The first such presentation of the Pitman Gold Medal was made to Pitman himself in 1978.
- Edwin's most endearing characteristic was modesty about his achievements.
- Finally, we note that in addition to mathematics and statistics, Pitman was very fond of gardening, music and drama.
Born 29 October 1897, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Died 21 July 1993, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive