Seminar for Statistics
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History of the Seminar


The history of modern Statistics at ETH Zurich goes back to the1940s. In 1948 Prof. Arthur Linder, who had so far been in Geneva, was also given half a professorship in Applied Statistics in Zurich. The subsequent effort towards the establishment of a regular Chair of Statistics at the Department of Mathematics and Physics succeeded with the appointment of Peter Huber in 1964. Thanks to the widening recognition of this area's importance, a second full professorship in Statistics was set up after Arthur Linder's retirement in 1974. This new position brought Frank Hampel to ETH Zurich. Peter Huber took up a position at Harvard in 1978, and Hansruedi Künsch was subsequently chosen as his successor in 1982. More than a decade later, in 1997, a third chair was established to which Peter Bühlmann was elected. In September 2005, Sara van de Geer became the successor of Frank Hampel, who retired in March 2006. In 2007 Marloes Maathuis joined as an assistant professor, and she was promoted to associate professor in 2013 as successor of Hansruedi Künsch who retired in 2014.  Finally, in 2013 Nicolai Meinshausen joined the SfS, bringing the number of tenured professors up to 4.

Statistical Consulting and Computing are key practical activities which benefit greatly from a certain level of continuity. To this end Werner Stahel, who had started as a doctoral student in 1976, and Martin Mächler, who joined the group in 1984, were given permanent positions created to serve these two areas. Hans-Rudolf Roth joined the consulting team in the autumn of 1993, and retired in 2009. His position was subsequently taken over by Markus Kalisch. Werner Stahel retired in 2013, and his successor is Lukas Meier.

For many years ETH did not offer a degree in statistics although students of mathematics could specialize in that area. The experience in consulting allowed to create in 1992 a course in advanced studies, called "Nachdiplomkurs" and later "Weiterbildungslehrgang in angewandter Statistik", and this in turn made it possible to start a Master program in Statistics in 2007, when "specialized Masters" were introduced in ETH. Students of mathematics can still specialize in statistics as part of their BSc and MSc degrees.




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© 2015 Mathematics Department | Imprint | Disclaimer | 9 March 2015