**George Yule** was an English mathematician who is best known for his book: *Introduction to the Theory of Statistics*.

- Remaining in London, they moved from Tooting to Bayswater where George attended day-school in Orme Square.
- It was at this school that the physics teacher W B Croft gave George encouragement to excel in his studies.
- George remained at Winchester until he was sixteen years of age when, in 1887, he entered University College, London, to read for an engineering degree.
- In 1890 Yule graduated with a degree in engineering and then for two years he was involved in the practical side of the subject, working in engineering workshops.
- Yule spent a year in Bonn undertaking research in experimental physics under Hertz.
- This was a successful year in which he published four papers based on the research on electric waves that he undertook in Bonn, yet again Yule seems not to have found the topic one to excite him enough for him to want to work in that area for the rest of his life.
- Yule returned from Germany to London in the summer of 1893 and was offered a post as a demonstrator in University College, London, by Karl Pearson.
- Pearson had known Yule when he had studied at University College as an undergraduate so he knew that he was appointing someone with great potential.
- For the first time, Yule was inspired by the work which he undertook with Pearson, and his first paper on statistics appeared in 1895 On the correlation of total pauperism with proportion of out-relief.
- In 1895 Yule was elected to the Royal Statistical Society and over the next few years, inspired by Pearson, he produced a series of important articles on the statistics of regression and correlation.
- Yule's work entitled On the Theory of Correlation was first published in 1897.
- Let us illustrate the types of statistical problems that Yule worked on by quoting from his own introduction to one of his papers, namely On the association of attributes in statistics: with illustrations from the material of the Childhood Society etc.
- This change of job did not lessen Yule's research output in statistics, nor did it end his association with University College, London, for over the next few years he gave the annual Newmarch Lectures in Statistics.
- These lectures became the basis for Yule's famous text Introduction to the Theory of Statistics which he first published in 1911.
- It was a book clearly reflecting Pearson's approach to statistics, but containing many of the notable contributions made by Yule.
- In the same year of 1911 Yule was awarded the Guy Medal in Gold of the Royal Statistical Society, their highest award.
- While commenting on his association with the Royal Statistical Society it is worth noting that Yule was secretary to the Society from 1907 to 1919 and President from 1924 to 1926.
- The years from 1920 to 1930 were the most productive ones for Yule.
- When Karl Pearson died in 1936, Yule was deeply affected.
- Let us relate a story about Yule which tells us quite a bit about his character.
- In 1937 Yule produced a thorough revision of the text of Introduction to the Theory of Statistics for the eleventh edition published in that year.
- The fourteenth and last edition of Introduction to the Theory of Statistics was written jointly with Maurice Kendall and published in 1950, shortly before Yule's death.
- Yule did not develop any completely new branches of statistical theory but he took the first steps in many areas which proved important in their further development by later statisticians.
- The story about Yule learning to fly tells us something of his character.
- As we mentioned above, Yule's health problems began in 1931 when he developed heart problems.

Born 18 February 1871, Morham (near Haddington), Scotland. Died 26 June 1951, Cambridge, England.

View full biography at MacTutor

Origin Scotland, Statistics

**Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive