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Obituaries for October 2010

1 October 2010 No Comment

Barbara A. Napolitano

Submitted by Martin L. Lesser


Barbara A. Napolitano passed away suddenly on July 20 at the age of 58. Napolitano was assistant director of the biostatistics unit at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. She earned her BA in statistics and an MA in applied mathematics from Hunter College in New York.

During her 25 years in the unit, Napolitano played an integral role in the development and success of the biostatistics unit at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Her strength was in explaining statistical methods and results to all investigators, but particularly to those who had a statistics phobia. She was giving of her knowledge to her fellow statisticians in the department, enabling junior faculty and staff to be effective in their work and to grow professionally.

Napolitano contributed to the success of many National Institutes of Health grants and was actively involved in pediatric HIV, psychiatry, and oncology research. The biostatistics unit has lost an important member of its family and she will be sorely missed.

Zellner

Zellner

Arnold Zellner


Arnold Zellner, the founding editor of the ASA’s Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, died August 11 at his home in Chicago. He was 83 and suffered a stroke while battling cancer.

Zellner was born on January 2, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, to Ukrainian immigrants Dora Kleiman Zellner and Israel (Sam) Zellner. He attended Harvard University on scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1949. He then earned his PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1957. He held appointments in the department of economics at the University of Washington and University of Wisconsin. From 1966 to 1996, Zellner was H. G. B. Alexander Professor of Economics and Statistics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. In 1996, he retired from the University of Chicago, but was a frequent lecturer and visiting professor in the department of agricultural and resource economics at UC Berkeley.

Zellner won numerous awards, including the McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching and being named “Outstanding Statistician of the Year” by the ASA’s Chicago Chapter. In an interview with Kathy Morrissey, published in the September 2006 issue of Amstat News, Zellner said he was most honored with two events: being elected president of the American Statistical Association and being elected president of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis.

Zellner’s achievements were numerous and include founding two major journals, the Journal of Econometrics and the Journal of Business & Economic Statistics. He also started the National Bureau of Economic Research/National Science Foundation seminar series. He wrote more than 200 scholarly articles and 22 books and monographs, including An Introduction to Bayesian Inference in Econometrics.

The Zellner Thesis Award in Business and Economic Statistics was established in 1994 in his name to honor the best PhD thesis dealing with an applied problem in business and economic statistics.

After retiring in 1996, Zellner continued to do a number of visiting professorships and presentations, including his Sir Richard Stone lectures, which he presented at the Bank of England and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London.

Zellner is survived by his wife of 58 years, Agnes, and their five children, David, Philip, Samuel, Daniel, and Michael.

To read Zellner’s interview with Morrissey, visit the ASA’s Statisticians in History page.

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