Nell Sedransk named as new director of NISS

NISS, the USA’s National Institute of Statistical Sciences, announced that its new Director is Dr. Nell Sedransk. The announcement was made by Chairwoman Mary Batcher, pictured below with Nell.

nell sedransk mary batcher

New NISS Director Nell Sedransk (left) with NISS Chair Mary Batcher

“The search committee felt that Nell was the best person for this position. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role of Director and has done a tremendous job restructuring the organization this past year to help ensure its future success,” noted Batcher.

In her new role, Nell Sedransk will lead the institute into its second quarter-century with its current foundation of statistical research and of service to the NISS Affiliate organizations from academia, government and industry. “I am very pleased to have this opportunity to help NISS continue to grow and thrive,” said Nell. “I look forward to the coming months as we begin to focus on increasing research activities, expanding the postdoctoral fellowship program and engaging with new collaborators and clients for NISS.”

Nell Sedransk has served as Acting Director of NISS since September 2014, having been Associate Director since 2005. She came to NISS from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where she was Chief of the Statistical Engineering Division. Since receiving her PhD from Iowa State University, she has spent much of her career in academia where she directed five MS and seven PhD students. Her research contributions in the areas of statistical theory and application of statistics to medicine, immunology, engineering, social science and education include more than 100 primary research publications and co-authorship of four books. At NISS she has continued to mentor postdoctoral fellows (10 at NISS, one at SAMSI and one prior to NISS) and to engage in statistical methodological research. Nell also serves as Associate Director of SAMSI, the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute. As NISS Director she will be based in the Washington DC office.


AOAS Founding Editor Brad Efron interviewed

Bradley Efron is the Max H. Stein Professor of Humanities and Sciences, professor of statistics at Stanford University, and professor of biostatistics with the department of health research and policy in the school of medicine. He was founding editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics from 2006–2012. In an interview in Amstat News, he says, “My editorial masterstroke was to recruit three world-class “area editors”: Steve Fienberg for social science, Mike Newton for biostatistics, and Mike Stein for physical sciences. It’s hard to define “applied statistics.” Lining up topics from right (pure math stat) to left (direct applications), we took as our remit anything in the line’s left half. The hardest thing about starting a new journal is getting enough good papers, or, sometimes, enough papers period. I kept nervous graphs of our submissions, agonizing over random fluctuations downward. After a couple of years, the graphs took a sudden lurch upward, and the rest is history…” You can read the rest of the interview here.

ASA Founders Award for David L. Banks

The American Statistical Association (ASA) presented its prestigious Founders Award to IMS member David L. Banks, professor of the practice of statistics at Duke University. Also honored at JSM were James H. Albert and Sally C. Morton. The honor is bestowed annually to ASA members who have rendered distinguished and long-term service to the association and its membership. David’s citation read, “for outstanding leadership in the discipline, in its interfaces, and in the ASA; for consistent and varied professional contributions in areas of particular public interest, such as human rights, counterterrorism, immigration and public health; for editorial work and a commitment to modernizing our publications, including as a founding editor of Statistics and Public Policy, as editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association and as publications representative on the ASA Board; for service in multiple sections, local chapters and committees; and for significant contributions on National Academies committees, to federal agencies and to the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute.”

Peter Gaenssler, 1937–2015

We regret to announce that Peter Gaenssler (Gänßler) passed away on June 17, 2015. An obituary will follow.

Young Statisticians Writing Competition

Student IMS member Samantha Tyner was named runner up in the 2015 Young Statisticians Writing Competition organized by the UK Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and Significance magazine. Samantha’s article, “The Joy of Clustering (with Bob Ross)”— and the other runner-up Annie Herbert’s “The Great British Bayes-off: How much difference (statistically) does a soggy bottom make?”—will be published on the Significance website later this year.

James Skeffington was named the competition winner with his article, “Warren Buffett: Oracle or Orangutan,” which sets out to answer a question many in the world of stocks and shares and investments have long asked themselves: is Warren Buffett extremely brilliant or extremely lucky?

Details of the 2016 competition will be announced early next year.