George E. P. Box

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For the ice hockey player, see George Box (ice hockey).
George E. P. Box
Born (1919-10-18)18 October 1919
Gravesend, Kent, England
Died 28 March 2013(2013-03-28) (aged 93)
Madison, Wisconsin
Residence United Kingdom, United States
Fields Statistics:
Design of experiments
Bayesian statistics
Time series
Institutions ICI
Princeton University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Alma mater University College London
Doctoral advisor Egon Pearson, H. O. Hartley
Known for Response-surface methodology
Box–Jenkins method
Box–Cox transformation
Influences Ronald Fisher
Influenced Norman Draper
George C. Tiao
Notable awards Shewhart Medal (1968)
Wilks Memorial Award (1972)
R. A. Fisher Lectureship (1974)
Guy Medal (silver, 1964) (Gold, 1993)
George Box Medal (2003)

George Edward Pelham Box FRS (18 October 1919 – 28 March 2013) was a statistician, who worked in the areas of quality control, time-series analysis, design of experiments, and Bayesian inference. He has been called "one of the great statistical minds of the 20th century".[1]

Biographical history[edit]

He was born in Gravesend, Kent, England. Upon entering university he began to study chemistry, but was called up for service before finishing. During World War II, he performed experiments for the British Army exposing small animals to poison gas. To analyze the results of his experiments, he taught himself statistics from available texts. After the war, he enrolled at University College London and obtained a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics. He received a Ph.D. from the University of London in 1953, under the supervision of Egon Pearson.

From 1948 to 1956, Box worked as a statistician for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). While at ICI, he took a leave of absence for a year and served as a visiting professor at the North Carolina State University at Raleigh (now North Carolina State University). He later went to Princeton University where he served as Director of the Statistical Research Group.

In 1960, Box moved to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to create the Department of Statistics. He was appointed Vilas Research Professor of Statistics (the highest honor accorded to any faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison) in 1980. Box and Bill Hunter co-founded the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1984. Box officially retired in 1992, becoming an Emeritus Professor.

Box married Joan Fisher, the second of Ronald Fisher's five daughters. In 1978, Joan Fisher Box published a biography of Ronald Fisher, with substantial collaboration of Box.[2] Box married Claire Quist in 1985.

Box died on 28 March 2013. He was 93 years old.[3]

Selected works[edit]


Box published books including Statistics for Experimenters (2nd ed., 2005), Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control (4th ed., 2008, with Gwilym Jenkins and Gregory C. Reinsel) and Bayesian Inference in Statistical Analysis. (1973, with George C. Tiao).

Professional recognition: offices, honors, and awards[edit]

Box served as President of the American Statistical Association in 1978 and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1979. He received the Shewhart Medal from the American Society for Quality Control in 1968, the Wilks Memorial Award from the American Statistical Association in 1972, the R. A. Fisher Lectureship in 1974, and the Guy Medal in Gold from the Royal Statistical Society in 1993. Box was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979.

His name is associated with results in statistics such as Box–Jenkins models, Box–Cox transformations, Box–Behnken designs, and others.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Julian Champkin, "George Box, (1919-2013): a wit, a kind man and a statistician", Significance.
  2. ^ Box, Joan Fisher (1978) R. A. Fisher: The Life of a Scientist Preface, ISBN 0-471-09300-9
  3. ^ Bradley Jones. "George Box: A remembrance". SAS Institute Inc. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Box, George E. P.; Norman R. Draper (1987). Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces, p. 424, Wiley. ISBN 0-471-81033-9. (more details at wikiquote)


External links[edit]

For Box's PhD students see