David Blackwell, Ph.D.

Hometown: Centralia, Illinois

Mathematics Major: Mathematics

Degree Granting Institution(s): University of Illinois

Job Title: Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Statistics, University of California, Berkeley

Job Responsibilities: My topics of interest include Bayesian statistics, game theory, set theory, probability, information theory, and dynamic programming.

I teach at all levels. This quarter I have only a graduate seminar, but last quarter I had a senior-level course and a very elementary course. In the fall quarter I had a course for sophomore-level engineers. There is beauty in mathematics at all levels, all levels of sophistication, and all levels of abstraction.1

[On a day-to-day basis] I spend time just playing around with a the computer, trying out programs for minimizing a function of five variables, looking at curves, and trying various techniques to see which ones work and which ones don't.1

Best Advice: One of the things that I worry about a little is that I don't see theoretical statisticians having as much contact with people in other areas as I would like to see. I notice here at Berkeley, for example, that the people in Operations Research seem to have much closer contact with industry than the people in our department do. I think we might find more interesting problems if we did have closer contact.2


  • Text taken from an interview by Donald J. Albers ["Statistics, Probability and Game Theory: Papers in Honor of David Blackwell," Lecture Notes--Monograph Series No. 30, T. S. Ferguson, J. B. Macqueen, and L. S. Shapeley, eds. (Institute of Mathematical Statistics, November 1996)].

  • Text taken from an interview by Morris H. DeGroot ["A Conversation with David Blackwell," Statistical Science 1 (no. 1), p. 40 (1986)].

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