Person: Cochran, William Gemmell
William Cochran was a Scottish born mathematician who did much to promote statistics in the USA. He wrote a number of books which became statistics classics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Cochran won many prizes when at school, not only mathematics prizes and medals but also prizes in his other subjects.
- Cochran took the University of Glasgow Bursary Competition in 1927 and he was placed first.
- Cochran was accepted to study the mathematical tripos at St John's College Cambridge.
- Although Cochran was renowned as a very hard worker, he did find time at Cambridge to have other interests.
- Cochran was a Wrangler (First Class student) in the 1933 Mathematical Tripos and continued studying at Cambridge for a doctorate.
- The other 1934 paper The distribution of quadratic forms in a normal system, with applications to the analysis of covariance contains what today is known as "Cochran's Theorem".
- Cochran was offered the vacant post but he was still not finished his doctoral course at Cambridge.
- Cochran accepted the post at Rothamsted where he worked for five years on experimental designs and sample survey techniques.
- Cochran worked closely with me in their further development and in their application to the research problems of Rothamsted, and through our association with agronomic research workers in overseas dependencies to the problems of tropical agriculture.
- At Rothamsted, Cochran met Betty Irene May Mitchell (1910-2002) who was an entomologist.
- William Cochran sailed from Southampton to New York on the Normandie, departing 5 October 1938.
- Before leaving Britain, the Cochrans went to Glasgow to visit Cochran's relations.
- William and Betty Cochran sailed on the ship Montrose from Greenock, Scotland to Quebec, Canada departing on 26 August 1939.
- From autumn 1939, with a permanent position of professor at Ames, Iowa, Cochran's task was to develop the graduate programme in statistics within the Mathematics Department.
- In any event Cochran's Theorem was the solution to all my problems.
- In Yates' quote above, he writes of Cochran's collaboration with Gertrude Cox.
- In 1943 Cochran was seconded to Samuel Wilks' research team at Princeton where he was involved in war work examining probabilities of hits in naval warfare.
- Cochran was instrumental in persuading me to join the Princeton group.
- Cochran joined the newly created North Carolina Institute of Statistics in 1946, again to develop the graduate programme in statistics.
- While at North Carolina, Cochran was on the Organising Committee which set up the Biometric Society.
- From 1957 until he retired in 1976 Cochran was at Harvard.
- Cochran's books became classics and were widely used by scientists in many different disciplines.
- Cochran did much to promote statistics within the USA.
- Cochran received many honours and awards for his outstanding contributions.
Born 15 July 1909, Rutherglen, Scotland. Died 29 March 1980, Orleans, Massachusetts, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Scotland, Statistics
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive