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Leo Breiman: An important intellectual and personal force in statistics, my life and that of many others

  • Bickel, Peter J.
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 05, 2011
Submission Date
Jan 05, 2011
DOI: 10.1214/10-AOAS404
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I first met Leo Breiman in 1979 at the beginning of his third career, Professor of Statistics at Berkeley. He obtained his PhD with Lo\'eve at Berkeley in 1957. His first career was as a probabilist in the Mathematics Department at UCLA. After distinguished research, including the Shannon--Breiman--MacMillan Theorem and getting tenure, he decided that his real interest was in applied statistics, so he resigned his position at UCLA and set up as a consultant. Before doing so he produced two classic texts, Probability, now reprinted as a SIAM Classic in Applied Mathematics, and Statistics. Both books reflected his strong opinion that intuition and rigor must be combined. He expressed this in his probability book which he viewed as a combination of his learning the right hand of probability, rigor, from Lo\'eve, and the left-hand, intuition, from David Blackwell.

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