Tukey before he was Tukey

There’s no end to the interesting tidbits to be found in The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s, an oral history project hosted by the Mudd Library.  I liked this, about the great statistician John Tukey, from an interview with Joseph F. Daly and Churchill Eisenhart:

Daly: … Tukey was about as pure a mathematician as you can imagine.

Eisenhart: When he first came.

Daly: All he was interested in was axioms and set theory and stuff like that. But eventually he found out there was life after ultrafilters and things, and he had fun in statistics.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Tukey before he was Tukey

  1. Tom Leinster says:

    The pre-Tukey Tukey was the only Tukey I knew. I had no idea he was a statistician, let alone a great one. I only knew him for his uniformities. But if the emphasis of the Wikipedia article is anything to go by, my impression of his work was entirely skewed.

  2. Mark Meckes says:

    Interestingly, according to the MacTutor biography, Tukey’s undergraduate degree was in chemistry, and he started graduate work in chemistry before shifting to mathematics. His later shift to statistics apparently came about as a result of his work in the war effort.

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