Bradley Efron

Bradley Efron
Born (1938-05-24) May 24, 1938
Nationality American
Alma mater California Institute of Technology, Stanford University
Known for Bootstrap method
Awards National Medal of Science (2005)
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2016)
Scientific career
Fields Statistics
Institutions Stanford University
Thesis Problems in Probability of a Geometric Nature (1964)
Doctoral advisor Rupert Miller
Herbert Solomon
Doctoral students Norman Breslow
Robert Tibshirani

Bradley Efron (/ˈɛfrən/; born May 24, 1938)[1] is an American statistician. Efron has been president of the American Statistical Association (2004) and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1987–1988).[2] He is a past editor (for theory and methods) of the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and he is the founding editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics.[2] Efron is also the recipient of many awards (see below).

Efron is especially known for proposing the bootstrap resampling technique,[3] which has had a major impact in the field of statistics and virtually every area of statistical application. The bootstrap was one of the first computer-intensive statistical techniques, replacing traditional algebraic derivations with data-based computer simulations.[4]

Life and career

Efron was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in May 1938, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Esther and Miles Efron.[5] He attended the California Institute of Technology, graduating in Mathematics in 1960. He arrived at Stanford in fall of 1960, earning his Ph.D., under the direction of Rupert Miller and Herbert Solomon, in the Department of Statistics. While at Stanford, he was suspended for a year for his involvement with the Stanford Chaparral's parody of Playboy magazine.[6][7]

He is currently a Professor of Statistics and Biostatistics at Stanford. At Stanford he has been the Chair of the Department of Statistics, Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, Chairman of the University Advisory Board, Chair of the Faculty Senate, and Co-director of the undergraduate-level Mathematical & Computational Science Program.

Efron holds the Max H. Stein endowed chair as Professor of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford.

He has made many important contributions to many areas of statistics. Efron's work has spanned both theoretical and applied topics, including empirical Bayes analysis (with Carl Morris), applications of differential geometry to statistical inference, the analysis of survival data, and inference for microarray gene expression data.[8] He is the author of a classic monograph, The Jackknife, the Bootstrap and Other Resampling Plans (1982) and has also co-authored (with R. Tibshirani) the text An Introduction to the Bootstrap (1994).

He created a set of nontransitive dice called Efron's dice.


He has won many honors, including a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, fellowship in the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) and the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Lester R. Ford Award,[9] the Wilks Medal, the Parzen Prize, and the Rao Prize, Fisher, Rietz, and Wald lecturer.[10]

In 2005, he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor by the United States, for his exceptional work in the field of Statistics (especially for his inventing of the bootstrapping methodology).[11] He was presented with the award on May 29, 2007.[12]

In 2014, he was awarded the Guy Medal in Gold.

He has won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences category jointly with David Cox, for the development of “pioneering and hugely influential” statistical methods that have proved indispensable for obtaining reliable results in a vast spectrum of disciplines from medicine to astrophysics, genomics, and particle physics.

Selected publications

See also


  1. Bradley Efron Curriculum Vitae Archived January 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. 1 2 Cochran, J. (1 September 2015), "ASA Leaders Reminisce: Brad Efron", Amstat News.
  3. "Bootstrap Methods: Another Look at the Jackknife". Annals of Statistics Volume 7, Number 1, pages 1-26.
  4. Efron, Bradley (2013). "A 250-year argument: Belief, behavior, and the bootstrap". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 50 (1): 129–146. doi:10.1090/s0273-0979-2012-01374-5.
  5. "Efron to Speak on Baseball, Shakespeare, and Modern Statistical Theory". Joint Mathematics Meetings 2007. American Mathematical Society. 2007.
  6. "Guide to the Hammer and Coffin Society Records, 1906-1987". Online Archive of California.
  7. Champkin Julian (2010). "Bradley Efron". Significance (the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association). 7: 178–181. doi:10.1111/j.1740-9713.2010.00460.x.
  8. Bradley Efron (2010). Large-Scale Inference: Empirical Bayes Methods for Estimation, Testing, and Prediction. Institute of Mathematical Statistics Monographs/Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521192491.
  9. Efron, Bradley (1978). "Controversies in the Foundations of Statistics". Amer. Math. Monthly. 85: 231–246. doi:10.2307/2321163.
  10. Awards - Special Lectures Info, Institute of Mathematical Statistics
  11. National Science Foundation - The President's National Medal of Science
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