Person: Diaconis, Persi Warren
Persi Diaconis is an American mathematician and magician who works in combinatorics and statistics, but may be best known for his card tricks and other conjuring.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Persi also taught himself magic tricks from the age of five and, as he grew up, this was a hobby which came to dominate his daily life.
- He met Martin Gardner because of their shared interest in magic and Gardner later used some of the ideas that Diaconis showed him in his "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American.
- Diaconis had been due to graduate from George Washington High School at age fifteen but, when he was fourteen years old, Dai Vernon the famous Canadian born sleight-of-hand expert who lived in New York invited Diaconis to join him on one of his American tours performing magic shows.
- Diaconis left school without telling his parents and went with Dai Vernon.
- and the assistant principal said, "Oh, Diaconis.
- In order to learn more mathematics, Diaconis began to study at the City College of New York.
- Harvard was one such place and Diaconis wanted to go there but doubted that the Mathematics Department would take a student with a City College degree.
- When Diaconis was interviewed by Mosteller before beginning his graduate studies, Mosteller suggested that he might like to think about the distribution of prime divisors of an integer chosen at random.
- Diaconis thought about the problem and then discussed it with Hironari Onishi who had taught him mathematics at the City College.
- This was not the first of Diaconis's papers to be published for Buffon's problem with a long needle had been published in the Journal of Applied Probability in the previous year.
- During his first year at Harvard, academic year 1971-72, Diaconis had studied for a Master's Degree and then continued to study at Harvard for a Ph.D. He was awarded the degree in 1974 for his thesis Weak and Strong Averages in Probability and the Theory of Numbers.
- After the award of his doctorate, Diaconis was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Statistics at Stanford University.
- After spending 1996-98 as David Duncan Professor at Cornell University, Diaconis returned to Stanford where he was appointed Mary V Sunseri Professor in the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics.
- In addition, Diaconis has acted as a consultant to Scientific American (1972-80), the Jet Propulsion Laboratories (1974), the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey (1974-), the Stanford Linear Accelerator (1977-), and Teledyne, Cryptography Division (1993-99).
- It would be difficult to give a summary of the papers that Diaconis has written (his publication list contains around 200 items).
- Diaconis was the Mathematical Association of America's Earle Raymond Hedrick Lecturer in 1989.
- Together with David Freedman of Berkeley, Diaconis has made fundamental and dramatic contributions to Bayesian statistics.
- As both a magician and a statistician, Diaconis has debunked with unusual authority much research on extra sensory perception and the paranormal, and has exposed several psychics, including Uri Geller.
- Diaconis's contributions have been recognised with prestigious awards.
- In 2012 Diaconis was awarded the Levi L.
- From there, the article gets even more compelling! After a highly accessible description of Markov chains from first principles, Diaconis colourfully illustrates many of the applications and venues of these ideas.
- Diaconis received a further honour in 2013 when, on Friday 13 September, in the Younger Hall, St Andrews, he was given an honorary degree during a special graduation ceremony which formed part of the University of St Andrews' 600th Anniversary celebrations.
- Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it.
- Diaconis and Graham manage to convey the awe and marvels of mathematics, and of magic tricks, especially those that depend fundamentally on mathematical ideas.
Born 31 January 1945, New York City, New York, USA.
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