Archive for Cornell

statistics in Le Monde

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by xi'an

In the current weekend edition of Le Monde, science leaflet (soon to disappear from the weekend edition alas!, Pierre Barthélémy wrote his tribune on a (not that recent) PLoS paper on roadkills that seems to use capture-recapture (or should) to evaluate the real number of roadkills from their disappearance rate. And Cédric Villani muses in his carte blanche on the relevance of mathematical models in social sciences, using the recent blunder by Reinhart and Rogoff as an argument: this sounds for the least extreme as there are many counter-examples in political sciences, sociology, psychology, &tc. I think he is missing the point that, while all models are wrong (in the sense physical models can be “right”), there are some models that can prove useful. A last item of interest (?) was the announcement of the new volume in the maths popularisation series, which is dedicated to the fourth dimension. I hope they also deal with higher dimensions, otherwise it could get quickly boring! It reminded me of the textbook I had to teach from the semester I taught basic vector space algebra in Cornell: the chapter on dimension 2 got followed by one on dimension 3, then one on dimension 4…

Festschrift for William E. Strawderman

Posted in Books, Statistics, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , on March 19, 2012 by xi'an

Éric Marchand just sent me the news that the Festschrift volume he edited jointly with Dominique Fourdrinier and Andrew Rukhin in honour of our dear friend Bill Strawderman has now appeared on ProjectEuclid. It is freely accessible, thanks to this great IMS policy of making everything available on-line. As my research focus drifted away from shrinkage estimation and decision theory, I am sorry I could not contribute to the volume… (I “met” Bill through my readings during my PhD thesis and “in the flesh” when visiting Cornell two years later. He has produced some of the most elegant results in the area of Stein estimation, incl. the one that no proper Bayes estimator can be minimax in dimension four or less, and if a particular shrinkage estimator was to be “Hall-of-Fame-d”, it would be his! Bill visited us in Rouen (Dominique and I) many times and even learned French in order to teach there. I also happened to have the most hilarious moment of my life [so far!] with him and George Casella on an Ithaca country road, late on a summer night, but I cannot alas disclose the details!!!)