Wilks, S. S.

Mathematical Statistics

  • Probable second printing of this mimeographed text produced for students in Wilks’s Princeton course. The first printing was likely 1943, the copyright date on the verso of the title, and the same year that Wilks’s textbook text of the same name was first published by Wiley. With a contemporary ownership inscription dated 1945, possibly that of distinguished mathematician Leonard Gillman (1917-2009). Gillman did not attend Princeton, but he was working at Tufts at the time, and may have obtained a copy from a friend or student.

    Samuel Stanley Wilks (1906-1964) was one of the founders of the field of mathematical statistics. He “was concerned with keeping theoretical and applied mathematics in close association and in having them contribute to other disciplines. As one of his students, Frederick Mosteller, first chairman of the Harvard department of mathematical statistics, said, ‘Boundaries between disciplines, organizations, and people never lasted long in his mind, for he thought in terms of bridges, entrances, and opportunities.’ Wilks sought to improve the teaching of mathematics at all levels, from kindergarten through high school as well as in college and graduate school. He organized courses on quality control inspection sampling for industry and made wartime contributions to antisubmarine warfare and the solution of convoy problems. He was chairman of the committee that analyzed the reasons public opinion polls had erroneously predicted the outcome of the 1948 Dewey-Truman presidential election. And it was at his suggestion that Princeton's football coach Charlie Caldwell used game movies, replayed many times, to grade each player on every play, in order to evaluate his effectiveness under varying conditions more accurately. Although Wilks was responsible for a considerable body of original research, his major contribution to his profession was as committeeman and adviser. ‘He was a hard-working, modest committee member,’ his Princeton colleague John Tukey recalled... Because of these qualities he was widely sought as a leader in scholarly organizations and as an adviser to the federal government” (Leitch, A Princeton Companion).

  • Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1944.

    Quarto. Mimeographed text. Original grey wrappers printed in black. Contemporary ownership inscription to the front blank. Spine and edges of wrappers browned, some creasing at the corners and edges of the wrappers, a few small marks and spots, contents faintly toned at the edges, contents a little shaken. A very good copy.

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