Stephen Stigler

Stephen Mack Stigler (born August 10, 1941) is Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor at the Department of Statistics of the University of Chicago.[1] He has authored several books on the history of statistics.

Stephen M. Stigler
Born (1941-08-10) August 10, 1941
Alma materCarleton College (BA)
University of California (PhD)
Known forStigler's law of eponymy, History of statistics
Scientific career
FieldsHistory of statistics
ThesisLinear Functions of Order Statistics (1967)
Doctoral advisorLucien Le Cam
Doctoral studentsLee-Jen Wei

Stigler is also known for Stigler's law of eponymy which states that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer (whose first formulation he credits to sociologist Robert K. Merton).


Stigler was born in Minneapolis.[2] He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation was on linear functions of order statistics, and his advisor was Lucien Le Cam. His research has focused on statistical theory of robust estimators and the history of statistics. He is also known for Stigler's law of eponymy.

Stigler taught at University of Wisconsin–Madison until 1979 when he joined the University of Chicago. In 2006 he was elected to membership of the American Philosophical Society, and is a past president (1994) of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

His father was the economist George Stigler, and he has recently[3] written on Milton Friedman, who was a friend of his father.



  • The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1986. ISBN 978-0-6744-0341-3.
  • Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0-6740-0979-0.
  • The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2016. ISBN 978-0-6740-8891-7.
As editor
  • Stigler, S. M. (1980). American Contributions to Mathematical Statistics in the Nineteenth Century (2 Vols.). New York: Arno Press. ISBN 978-0-4051-2590-4.
  • Stigler, S. M.; Wong, W. H.; Xu, D. (2002). R. R. Bahadur's Lectures on the Theory of Estimation (Lecture Notes-Regional Monograph Series, Vol. 39). Beachwood, OH: Institute for Mathematical Statistics. ISBN 978-0-9406-0053-9.

Selected articles

  • Gergonne, J. D. (1974) [1815]. Ralph St. John and S. M. Stigler (ed.). "The application of the method of least squares to the interpolation of sequences (translated by Ralph St. John and S. M. Stigler)". Historia Mathematica (translated by Ralph St. John and S. M. Stigler from the 1815 French ed.). 1 (4): 439–47. doi:10.1016/0315-0860(74)90034-2.
  • Stigler, Stephen M. (1974). "Gergonne's 1815 paper on the design and analysis of polynomial regression experiments". Historia Mathematica. 1 (4): 431–39. doi:10.1016/0315-0860(74)90033-0.
  • Stigler, Stephen M. (March 1978). "Mathematical statistics in the early States". Annals of Statistics. 6 (2): 239–65. doi:10.1214/aos/1176344123. JSTOR 2958876. MR 0483118.
    • Stigler, Stephen M. (1980). "Mathematical Statistics in the Early States". In Stephen M. Stigler (ed.). American Contributions to Mathematical Statistics in the Nineteenth Century, Volumes I & II. I. New York: Arno Press.
    • Stigler, Stephen M. (1989). "Mathematical Statistics in the Early States". In Peter Duren (ed.). A Century of Mathematics in America. III. Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society. pp. 537–64.
  • Stigler, Stephen M. (1978). "Francis Ysidro Edgeworth, statistician". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. 141 (3): 287–322. doi:10.2307/2344804. JSTOR 2344804.
  • Stigler, S. M. (1980). Stigler's law of eponymy. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, 39: 147–58 (Merton Frestschrift Volume, F. Gieryn (ed))
  • Stigler, Stephen M. (November 1983). "Who discovered Bayes's theorem?". The American Statistician. 37 (4): 290–96. doi:10.2307/2682766. JSTOR 2682766. MR 1712969. Republished in Statistics on the table ().
  • Stephen M. Stigler (November 1992). "A Historical View of Statistical Concepts in Psychology and Educational Research". American Journal of Education. 101 (1): 60–70. doi:10.1086/444032.

See also


  1. Catherine Behan (May 28, 1998) 1998 Quantrell Award: Stephen Stigler University of Chicago Chronicle. 17(17).
  2. Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial (1976). "Reports of the President and the Treasurer - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation".
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