COPSS 50th Anniversary Volume: Past, Present and Future of Statistical Science
Co-editors: Xihong Lin, Christian Genest, David Banks, Geert Molenberghs, David Scott, and Jane-Ling Wang

This book entitled Past, Present and Future of Statistical Science was commissioned in 2013 by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) to celebrate both its 50th anniversary and the International Year of Statistics. Hard copies will be published in April, 2014 by Chapman & Hall/CRC (use discount code AJL01 to obtain a 20% discount on the list price). With the publisher’s authorization, an electronic version is freely available at

COPSS consists of five member societies: the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), the Statistical Society of Canada/Société statistique du Canada (SSC), and the Eastern and Western North American Regions of the International Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR). COPSS is best known for sponsoring prestigious awards given each year at the Joint Statistical Meetings.

The 50 contributors to this volume are all past winners of at least one of the awards sponsored by COPSS: the R.A. Fisher Lectureship Award, the Presidents’ Award, the George W. Snedecor Award, the Elizabeth L. Scott Award, and the F.N. David Award. A list of authors can be found at the end of each article.

This volume is not only about statistics and science, but also about people and their passion for discovery. It contains expository articles by distinguished authors on a broad spectrum of topics of interest in statistical education, research, and applications. Many of these articles are accessible not only to professional statisticians and graduate students, but also to undergraduates interested in pursuing statistics as a career, and to all those who use statistics in solving real-world problems.

Topics include reminiscences and personal reflections on statistical careers, perspectives on the field and profession, thoughts on the discipline and the future of statistical science, as well as advice for young statisticians.
A consistent theme of all the articles is the passion for statistics enthusiastically shared by the authors. Their success stories inspire, give a sense of statistics as a discipline, and provide a taste of the exhilaration of discovery, success, and professional accomplishment.

This volume has five parts. In Part I, Ingram Olkin gives a brief overview of the 50-year history of COPSS. Part II consists of 11 articles by authors who reflect on their own careers and the lessons they learned. Part III has nine articles describing the challenges of statistical science in science and society, statistical education, equity and diversity in statistics, and the opportunities of statistical science in the era of big data science. Part IV has of 24 articles on past developments, current challenges, and future opportunities for statistics, in which authors provide insight on past developments, current challenges, and future opportunities in statistical science. Part V has seven articles, in which senior statisticians share their experience and provide career advice for the next generation.

This book project was supported by COPSS and its member societies, as well as several of COPSS friend societies including the International Chinese Statistical Society (ICSA), the International Indian Statistical Association (IISA), and the Korean International Statistical Society (KISS), and substantial in-kind support provided by the Institut des sciences mathématiques du Québec.

We hope that this volume will inspire you and help you develop the same passion for statistics that we share with the authors. Happy reading!