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Rename The Fisher Lecture After David Blackwell

This petition had 8,049 supporters

According to the COPSS website: 

“The R.A. Fisher Lectureship, established in 1963,  is awarded annually to a statistician in recognition of outstanding contributions to aspects of statistics and probability that closely relate to the scientific collection and interpretation of data. The award winner will receive a plaque and a cash honorarium of $1,500, and deliver an hour-long lecture at the Joint Statistical Meetings.”

Fisher was a prominent proponent of Eugenics. Further, as noted in his Wikipedia page:

In 1950, Fisher opposed UNESCO's The Race Question, believing that evidence and everyday experience showed that human groups differ profoundly "in their innate capacity for intellectual and emotional development" and concluded that the "practical international problem is that of learning to share the resources of this planet amicably with persons of materially different nature", and that "this problem is being obscured by entirely well-intentioned efforts to minimize the real differences that exist". The revised statement titled "The Race Concept: Results of an Inquiry" (1951) was accompanied by Fisher's dissenting commentary.

By honoring Fisher we dishonor the entire field of Statistics.

We ask that this award be named after David Blackwell whose many achievements include:

  • significant contributions to game theory, probability theory, information theory, and Bayesian statistics
  • Earning his PhD at age 22
  • Chair of Howard Mathematics Department at age 28
  • President of IMS in 1955
  • Honorary Fellow of the RSS
  • First African American named to the National Academy of Sciences 
  • the Rao-Blackwell Theorem as well as over 90 research papers and texts
  • Advised over 50 Doctoral Dissertations 
  • Chairman of Berkeley Statistics Department 


Further readings on Blackwell:


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