Professor Yoav Benjamini, the Nathan and Lily Silver Professor of Applied Statistics at Tel Aviv University, Israel, has been selected to receive the International Statistical Institute’s 2019 Pearson Prize for his 1995 paper, co-authored with his colleague Yosi Hochberg (deceased in 2013).

The ISI Pearson Prize celebrates and honors a research contribution that has had profound influence on statistical theory, methodology, practice, or applications. The Benjamini–Hochberg paper in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society was titled, “Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing” (J. Roy. Statist. Soc. Ser. B, 57, 1995, no. 1, 289–300). This paper, cited more than 50,000 times, introduced the false discovery rate, FDR, that is widely used in diverse sciences to make simultaneous inference about a large number of hypotheses. FDR liberalizes the threshold for identifying hypotheses worth further investigation, while at the same time controlling the rate of false discoveries. It has become an essential part of the analysis pipeline of complex data around the world. In addition to its wide applicability, the FDR paper includes elegant mathematical statistics.

The contribution recognized by the Karl Pearson Prize must be a research article or book published within the last three decades. Each Pearson Award selection committee comprises renowned statisticians from across the world. The prize, sponsored by Elsevier, is given biennially, at the ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC), starting with the WSC in Hong Kong in August 2013.

Yoav Benjamini is also this year’s Rietz lecturer: you can read a preview of his lecture here (and Charles Bordenave’s Medallion lecture preview here).