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Activity Number: 255
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Monday, August 4, 2014 : 4:00 PM to 5:50 PM
Sponsor: ASA
Abstract #311118
Title: The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom
Author(s): Stephen M. Stigler
Companies: University of Chicago

This year the ASA celebrates its 175th anniversary. Many organizations that reach such an advanced age have by then a very good sense of what they are, of what their mission is. Statistics and the ASA are different: A century and a half of major changes in what statisticians do has brought a sense of uncertainty to our field. The question, "What is statistics?" has recurred often over the past century and with increasing frequency, and while the poser of the question has invariably provided an answer, the answers have not all been the same. I propose to answer that question in a different way, by specifying seven great ideas that have evolved to form the support, the pillars of our discipline. The presentation of these seven will be in historical context, but this is not intended to be exclusively a historical talk. These pillars can provide us with a foundation for the future, whether we remain "statistics" or move towards "data science" or even encounter "big data." They can provide a way to see the future role of statisticians as an extension of the past, at least for the next quarter century, as well as to give us a better understanding of our past. Finally I will briefly explore the classical origin of my title and its relevance to the present topic.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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