University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Emeritus and Department of Statistics founder George E. P. Box died March 28 at the age of 93.
Box’s work at UW-Madison began in 1959 when he joined the Mathematics Research Center, and he later founded the Department of Statistics in 1960. He was world-renowned for his work in the practical application of statistical methods, according to a university release.
Box first took an interest in statistics while in the British Army during World War II, where he experimented with the chemistry of poison gases. He described himself as an “accidental statistician,” according to the release.
Box was famous among students for hosting Monday night beer and statistic sessions at his home, generating lively discussions between students and professors about the importance of statistics in research problem solving, according to the release.
In addition to his work in statistics, Box was known for his sense of humor and being a friendly person who was seen as a mentor by many generations of students, the release said.