ASA Headlines

Newcomb to Be Honored at Memorial Service

A memorial event to honor the life of ASA Fellow Robert (Bob) Newcomb of the University of California at Irvine, who unexpectedly passed away July 10, will be held November 15 in Duarte, California. A morning memorial service will be followed by afternoon presentations presented by invited renowned statisticians who developed personal and professional relationships with Newcomb. The event is being organized by three regional ASA chapters in California: San Diego, Southern California, and Orange County Long Beach. Anyone who wishes to share in Newcomb’s legacy is invited. Event details are available on the websites of the three organizing chapters.

Spiegelman Receives NIH Director's Pioneer Award

Donna Spiegelman, ASA Fellow and professor of epidemiologic methods at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), was named a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award recipient. She is believed to be the first epidemiologist and biostatistician honored. The five-year, $500,000 prize recognizes "individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering, and possibly transforming, approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research." Spiegelman will use the award to develop new methods to advance the field of implementation science, which establishes through rigorous quantitative methods which public health interventions directed at the same goal are most effective. Read more.

Follow ASA's Awareness Campaign on Social Media

Follow ASA’s Awareness Campaign on Social MediaYou can get the latest updates and interact with others following the ASA's This is Statistics” public awareness campaign on social media. The campaign encourages high-school and college undergraduate students to take statistics courses in college, or even major in the subject. Two primary outlets – Facebook and Twitter – are driving the campaign's social media activities (there also is a YouTube page featuring video profiles of two ASA members). In just 45 days, 571 people and organizations have "liked" the campaign on Facebook, and the campaign has attracted 536 followers on Twitter. For more information, contact Jeff Myers.

Blackwell Honored with Science Medal

David Blackwell, an eminent statistician at the University of California, Berkeley who was the first black admitted to the National Academy of Sciences and an ASA Fellow before his death in 2010, has been named a 2014 National Medal of Science honoree posthumously. Established in 1959, it is the premier honor for American scientists and engineers. Conferred by the U.S. president, the medal has been awarded to nearly 500 pioneering individuals. Several ASA members—including John Tukey (1973), Calyampudi Radhakrishna (C.R.) Rao (2002), Bradley Efron (2007), and S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan (2011)—previously were honored. Read more.


The 4TH Annual ASA Conference on Statistical Practice will continue the conference's focus on opportunities for attendees to learn new statistical methodologies and best practices in statistical analysis, design, consulting and statistical programming. The conference will also allow attendees to further their career development and to strengthen relationships in the statistical community. Join us for short courses, poster sessions, concurrent sessions, exhibits, and tutorials. Register today!

Stodden Is ASA Guest Lecturer at MAA Event

Victoria Stodden, an ASA member and expert on research reproducibility, is the guest speaker for a Mathematical Association of America’s Distinguished Lecture Series event October 23. This lecture is part of the ASA’s celebration of its 175th anniversary. In her talk, Stodden, assistant professor of statistics at Columbia University, will outline several key challenges in reproducible research, including the verifiability of statistical results, reliance on Big Data findings in public discourse and decisionmaking, and privacy considerations. She also will outline solutions based in emerging computational tools, policy, scientific practice, and statistical methods. Learn more and register.

ASA Now Accepting Nominations for 2015 Fellows and Awards

We believe it is important to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of statistics. Please consider nominating one of your colleagues for an ASA award or Fellow. Information about ASA awards.

ASA Currently Accepting Nominations for the 2015 Deming and Noether Lecturers

Please consider nominating a colleague for these prestigious lectures that honor the life and work of W. Edwards Deming and Gottfried E. Noether. Awardees will give the lectures at the Joint Statistical Meetings and receive a cash prize and engraved award. Details can be found here.

Monroe G. Sirken Award in Interdisciplinary Survey Methods Research

Monroe G. Sirken created an endowment to recognize a distinguished researcher for contributions to interdisciplinary survey research that improve the theory and methods of collecting, verifying, processing, presenting, or analyzing survey data. The first honoree will give the Sirken Lecture at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings and receive a $5,000 honorarium. View nomination instructions and more information about Monroe Sirken.

Morton Named to PCORI Methodology Committee

ASA Past President Sally Morton was appointed to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute's (PCORI) Methodology Committee. This committee assists in developing and updating methodological standards and guidance for comparative clinical effectiveness research. Morton is professor and chair of the department of biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health. PCORI assists patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health care decisions by providing quality, relevant evidence on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor diseases and other health conditions. Read more.

ASA President Receives Major NCHS Honor

ASA President Nathaniel Schenker is the recipient of the 2014 Owen Thornberry Excellence in Leadership Award, a major award bestowed annually by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). He was presented the honor September 17. The award was established in 1996 to recognize the outstanding managerial leadership of an NCHS employee. Its namesake, who served as the director of the Division of Health Interview Statistics, led efforts to conduct the first nationwide surveys of health promotion and disease prevention and AIDS knowledge and attitudes. Thornberry is recognized for his contributions to data quality in telephone surveys.

ASA Urges 'Funding Anomaly' for Decennial Census Testing

With Congress working on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the start of fiscal year 2015 (FY15) at FY14 levels, the ASA joined scores of organizations to urge a "funding anomaly" for the U.S. Census Bureau to carry out important testing for the 2020 Decennial Census. The administration's requested FY15 budget for the Census Bureau is 25% greater than the FY14 budget because of the ramp-up to the decennial census, making CRs problematic. Click here to see the letter and here to monitor the FY15 appropriations developments for all the principal federal statistical agencies.

Call for Papers: Technometrics

Call for Papers: Technometrics The deadline for submitting papers for the Technometrics' special issue on Statistical Analysis of Big Data is November 1, 2014. For more information, see . To submit a paper, go to, choose Technometrics from the pull-down menu. Be sure to designate your paper for the Big Data issue from the Manuscript Type submission menu. Read more...

Three ASA Members Appointed to NIST Forensic Science Reform Committees

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has appointed ASA members Hal Stern of the University of California, Irvine, Bruce Weir of the University of Washington, and William Guthrie of NIST to Scientific Area Committees (SAC). Stern was named to the physics/pattern group, Weir to the biology/DNA panel, and Guthrie to the chemistry/instrumental analysis committee. These NIST-administered committees provide the critical bridge between the Forensic Science Standards Board and the 23 discipline-specific subcommittees working to strengthen forensic science through the identification and development of new standards and guidelines.

ASA PR Campaign Launched

ASA PR Campaign Launched The ASA public relations campaign—designed to increase interest in the field of statistics and recruit the next generation of statisticians—has launched. The "This is Statistics" campaign will educate students, parents, teachers, and counselors about the abundant and well-paying career opportunities in statistics. The informational website features videos of "cool" statisticians doing interesting work, career and salary information, sectors that employ statisticians, and an interactive map of select organizations across the world at which statisticians work. We encourage ASA members to share the website link with friends and colleagues, follow the latest news on Twitter, find additional information on Facebook, and view campaign videos on YouTube. The more we spread the word, the more we can correct the frustrating misconceptions about statistics. Contact Jeff Myers with your questions or comments.

Science Magazine Appoints Statistical Review Board

Science magazine has appointed a new statistical board of reviewing editors (SBoRE)–composed of prominent members of the statistical community–that will help address reproducibility issues and improve the statistical rigor of papers the magazine publishes. SBoRE members will review the data analysis in papers selected for publishing and recommend whether the analysis warrants further scrutiny by a statistical expert in the given field. If so, SBoRE members will recommend one or more independent expert reviewers and provide a summary of the statistical issues that warrant a closer examination. Read this Amstat News article.

Winner of Free ASA Membership

Winner of Monthly Drawing for FREE ASA Membership Congratulations to Melanie Bell, winner of the August drawing for FREE ASA membership.


Other Recent Headlines

Blyth to Lead Harvard Endowment Fund

Stephen J. Blyth will be the next president and CEO of Harvard Management Company (HMC), which manages Harvard University’s endowment and related financial assets. Blyth serves as HMC managing director and head of public markets and will assume his new position January 1, 2015. He was selected by the company’s board of directors following a nationwide search. An alumnus of Cambridge University and Harvard, Blyth also has served in recent years as a professor in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, teaching the statistics department’s course on applied quantitative finance. Read more.

Kannan Named NSF Program Director

ASA fellow Nandini Kannan recently was named a Statistics Program director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS), announced DMS Director Michael Vogelius. Prior to joining DMS full-time, Kannan was a professor of statistics at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She brings significant administrative experience to her new position, having served as a department chair at UTSA and as president of the International Indian Statistical Association. Previously, she was a DMS "rotating" Statistics Program director from 2011 to 2013.

Terry Speed Awarded Australia's Eureka Prize

Terry Speed, an ASA member and leader of the bioinformatics division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, was awarded one of that country's top science prizes. He was presented the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation-sponsored (CSIRO) Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science on September 10 for his superb leadership of the bioinformatics team at the Hall Institute and his other contributions to the science of bioinformatics. The Australian Museum presents the Eureka awards, and CSIRO is Australia's national science agency. Read more.

Students: Present Your Poster at the World's Largest Science Meeting

You could be selected to present a poster at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) annual meeting. Full-time undergraduate and graduate students, including doctoral candidates, are eligible for this student poster competition. This is a great opportunity to showcase statistical research and its key roles in interdisciplinary science and public policy. If your poster is selected, you will attend a fascinating meeting that covers a broad range of scientific disciplines and related policy issues. Also, your registration fee can be waived if you serve as a meeting session aide. Limited travel funds may be available. Learn more.

AAPOR Releases Report on Survey Refusals

In response to the steady decrease in the public's participation in surveys over the past 25 years, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) has released a study called Current Knowledge and Considerations Regarding Survey Refusals. It is a comprehensive report on current knowledge about refusals in survey research-the impact, techniques to minimize refusals, and ethical considerations for the rights of respondents with regard to survey refusals. The report is a resource for survey researchers, institutional review boards, consumers of research, journalists, and the public. Read the report.

TAS Special Issue: Statistics and the Undergraduate Curriculum

The American Statistician editorial team announces the development of a special issue of TAS focused on issues related to undergraduate programs in statistics and statistical science. The issue will include a mix of invited and submitted papers. Although an emphasis will be placed on articles suitable for Teachers Corner and Statistical Computing and Graphics, the team also will consider articles for Statistical Practice, History Corner, and Interdisciplinary. Read more.

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