People News for January
Marc G. Genton
Marc G. Genton was appointed by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) President Jean-Lou Chameau as distinguished professor of statistics November 1, 2016. The distinction was assigned in recognition of his expertise, accomplishments, and international standing.
Genton is not new to international recognitions, being named fellow of scientific associations such as the ASA, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. In 2010, he was honored with the El-Shaarawi Award for Excellence from the International Environmetrics Society and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the ASA Section on Statistics and the Environment.
Genton’s scientific production includes 200 publications, a book on multivariate skew-elliptical distributions, and more than 320 presentations at conferences and universities worldwide. He is also editor-in-chief of the journal Stat.
At KAUST, Genton leads the Spatio-Temporal Statistics and Data Science Research Group. The group’s main interests focus on statistical analysis, flexible modeling, prediction, and uncertainty quantification of spatio-temporal data, with applications in environmental and climate science, renewable energies, geophysics, and marine science.
Nan M. Laird
Members of the ASA Chicago Chapter gathered for a gala dinner November 3, 2016, to celebrate the latest Statistician of the Year Award winner: Nan M. Laird of Harvard University.
The Statistician of the Year (SOY) Award has been bestowed upon leading members of the statistical community since 1966. Recipients are nominated by and voted on by previous winners, ensuring the elevated honor of the award.
Laird delighted the audience with a talk recalling some of her favorite projects in biostatistics over the past four decades. Highlights included discussion of her seminal, oft-cited paper, “Maximum Likelihood from Incomplete Data via the EM Algorithm” (with A. P. Dempster and D. B. Rubin), her research and committee work resulting in a ban on smoking on commercial airplanes, and papers on the impact of coaching on SAT performance. Following the talk, she answered questions such as, “How did you end up working on such impactful projects?” Her modest answer was, “I got lucky.”
Laird, now retired, is the Harvey V. Fineberg Research Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University. She earned a BS in statistics from the University of Georgia and a PhD in statistics from Harvard. Her honors are too numerous to list, but they include being named an ASA Fellow and fellow of the American Advancement of Science and Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Her research interests include the development of statistical methodology in statistical genetics, longitudinal studies, missing or incomplete data, and analysis of multiple informant data. She has more than 300 publications to her credit.
Previous SOY winners include George E.P. Box, W. Edwards Deming, Andrew Gelman, William H. Kruskal, Janet Norwood, John W. Tukey, W. Allen Wallis, and Xiao-Li Meng.
Leon Simon of Stanford University will receive the 2017 AMS Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, Georgia.
Simon is honored “for his fundamental contributions to geometric analysis, particularly for his 1983 paper, ‘Asymptotics for a Class of Non-Linear Evolution Equations, with Applications to Geometric Problems,’ published in the Annals of Mathematics.”
Simon’s prize-winning paper studies singularities that occur in certain types of geometric objects. Simon’s approach recasts the original geometric problem as a problem of differential equations, to which sophisticated analysis techniques can be applied. He also shows how his approach can be used to unify and generalize earlier work on related problems.
Born in 1945 in Australia, Simon earned his bachelor’s degree (1967) and PhD (1971) at the University of Adelaide. He taught at several universities in Australia and the United States before taking, in 1986, his present position as professor of mathematics at Stanford University.
Simon was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society, and American Mathematical Society. He also was awarded a Sloan Fellowship, an Australian Mathematical Society Medal, and a Humboldt Award.