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Jeff Rosenthal

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Jeff Rosenthal
head shot of Jeffrey Rosenthal
Jeffrey Seth Rosenthal

(1967-10-13) October 13, 1967 (age 56)
EducationUniversity of Toronto (BSc)
Harvard University (PhD)
SpouseMargaret Fulford (m. 1999)
RelativesRobert Fulford (father-in-law)
AwardsCOPSS Presidents' Award (2007)
Scientific career
FieldsProbability theory, Computational statistics
InstitutionsUniversity of Minnesota
University of Toronto
ThesisRates of convergence for Gibbs sampler and other Markov chains (1992)
Doctoral advisorPersi Diaconis

Jeffrey Seth Rosenthal FRSC FIMS (born October 13, 1967) is a Canadian statistician and nonfiction author. He is a professor in the University of Toronto's department of statistics, cross-appointed with its department of mathematics.

Education and career[edit]

Rosenthal graduated from Woburn Collegiate Institute in 1984, and received his B.Sc. (in mathematics, physics, and computer science) from the University of Toronto in 1988, and his Ph.D. in mathematics ("Rates of Convergence for Gibbs Sampler and Other Markov Chains") from Harvard University in 1992, supervised by Persi Diaconis.[2] He was an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota from 1992 to 1993.[3] Rosenthal began his career in the Department of Statistics at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in 1993, became an associate professor in 1997, and has been a full professor since 2000.[3] Rosenthal has written numerous research papers about the theory of Markov chain Monte Carlo and other statistical computation algorithms, many joint with Gareth O. Roberts.[4][5]

Public engagements[edit]

In 2005 Rosenthal wrote a book for the general public, Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities,[6] which was a bestseller in Canada[7][8] and has been published in ten languages.[9] He has also written a graduate textbook on probability theory[10] and co-authored an undergraduate textbook on probability and statistics.[11] He has been interviewed by the media about such diverse topics as crime statistics,[12] pedestrian deaths,[13] gambling probabilities,[14][15] and television game shows,[16] and has appeared on William Shatner's Weird or What?.

In 2006, Rosenthal did the statistical analysis used by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television news magazine The Fifth Estate to expose the Ontario lottery retailer fraud scandal,[17][18] which was debated in the Ontario provincial legislature.[19] In 2010 his research with Albert H. Yoon about the U.S. Supreme Court was quoted in The New York Times.[20] He has also written about the Monty Hall problem.[21]

Honors and awards[edit]

Rosenthal received the CRM-SSC Prize in 2006,[22] the COPSS Presidents' Award in 2007,[23] the Statistical Society of Canada Gold Medal in 2013,[24] and a Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 1998.[25] He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 2005,[26] and of the Royal Society of Canada in 2012.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Rosenthal's father Peter Rosenthal (1941—2024) and mother Helen Stephanie Rosenthal (1942–2017) were originally from Queens, New York City. They emigrated to Canada in 1967 where both of them became math professors at the University of Toronto.[1]

Besides his research, Rosenthal performs music[28] and improvisational comedy, including at The Bad Dog Theatre Company.[29]

Jeffrey Rosenthal is married to Margaret Fulford, who is the University College Librarian.[30] His father-in-law is journalist Robert Fulford.[31]


  • Duanmu, Haosui; Rosenthal, Jeffrey S.; Weiss, William (2021). Ergodicity of markov processes via nonstandard analysis. American Mathematical Society. ISBN 978-1-4704-6813-2. OCLC 1284944707.
  • Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. (2019). A first look at stochastic processes. New Jersey: World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-12-0790-7. OCLC 1107856889.
  • Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. (2018). Knock on wood : luck, chance, and the meaning of everything. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-1-4434-5307-3. OCLC 1047653556.
  • Evans, Michael; Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. (2010). Probability and statistics : the science of uncertainty (2nd ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Co. ISBN 978-1-4292-2462-8. OCLC 473463742.
  • Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. (2006). A first look at rigorous probability theory (2nd ed.). Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 981-270-371-3. OCLC 81144993.
  • Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. (2006). Struck by lightning : the curious world of probabilities. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-09737-1. OCLC 62742569.


  1. ^ a b "Helen Stephanie Rosenthal: Mathematician who loved to teach and was active in faculty association". University of Toronto News. Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  2. ^ "Jeffrey Seth Rosenthal". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Mathematics Department, North Dakota State University. MGP ID 18775. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  3. ^ a b Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. "Biography of Jeffrey S. Rosenthal". Probability.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  4. ^ Roberts, Gareth O; Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2004). "General State Space Markov Chains and MCMC Algorithms". Probability Surveys. 1: 20–71. arXiv:math/0404033. doi:10.1214/154957804100000024. ISSN 1549-5787. S2CID 345273.
  5. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2011). "Optimal Proposal Distributions and Adaptive MCMC" (PDF). In Brooks, Steve; Gelman, Andrew; Jones, Galin L; Meng, Xiao-Li (eds.). Handbook of Markov Chain Monte Carlo: Methods and Applications. London: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 978-1-4200-7941-8. OCLC 804012432.
  6. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2005). Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities. Toronto: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-200791-7. OCLC 58544922.
  7. ^ Bethune, Brian (2005-11-28). "Bestsellers: Top selling fiction and non-fiction titles". Maclean's. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  8. ^ "Bestsellers: The Globe and Mail's weekly national list." The Globe and Mail, October 7, 2006.
  9. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. "Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities". Probability.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  10. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2013). A First look at Rigorous Probability Theory (2nd ed.). New Jersey, N.J: World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-270-371-2. OCLC 949780371.
  11. ^ Evans, Michael J; Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2010). Probability and Statistics: The Science of Uncertainty (2nd ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 978-1-4292-2462-8. OCLC 961227736.
  12. ^ Loriggio, Paola (2008-01-19). "You're safer than you think: statistics expert". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  13. ^ Yang, Jennifer (2010-01-30). "Numbers don't always tell the whole story". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  14. ^ Droganes, Constance (2008-03-29). "Card counting: outsmarting casinos at their own game". CTV News. Archived from the original on 2012-04-08. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  15. ^ Prois, Jessica (2010-02-17). "Playing the odds with everyday life: Toronto professor to lecture on how to make better choices by considering probabilities". Vegas Seven. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  16. ^ Nestruck, J. Kelly (2006-05-30). "The deal breaker: If you're a guest on Howie Mandel's show, you should bring Jeffrey Rosenthal -- not your dad". National Post. Archived from the original on 2006-08-05. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  17. ^ Burnett, Thane (2009-02-21). "Solving equations and solving crime: Toronto math prof proves his point when it comes to insiders winning lottery prizes". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2017-03-04 – via QMI Agency.
  18. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (2014). "Statistics and the Ontario Lottery Retailer Scandal". Chance. 27 (1): 4–9. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/09332480.2014.890864. S2CID 62177833. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  19. ^ "House Proceedings, Wednesday, 25 October 2006". Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  20. ^ Liptak, Adam (2010-11-17). "Justices are long on words but short on guidance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  21. ^ Rosenthal, Jeffrey S (September 2008). "Monty Hall, Monty Fall, Monty Crawl" (PDF). Probability.ca. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  22. ^ "2006 CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics awarded to Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal". Centre de recherches mathématiques. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  23. ^ "Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies - Presidents' Award - Past Award Recipients" (PDF). National Institute of Statistical Sciences. August 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  24. ^ "SSC Gold Medalist - SSC Gold Medal awarded to Jeffrey Rosenthal". 2013 SSC Award Winners. Statistical Society of Canada. 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  25. ^ "Past Winners at UofT - Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award". University of Toronto. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  26. ^ "IMS Fellows - Honored IMS Fellows". Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  27. ^ "Class of 2012 - List of New Fellows" (PDF). Royal Society of Canada. 2012-09-05. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  28. ^ University College. "Getting By: A New Song by UC Alumnus and Faculty Member Jeffrey Rosenthal".
  29. ^ Gibson, Stacey (Spring 2006). "Games of chance: math prof and amateur comic Jeffrey Rosenthal embraces randomness -- both on stage and in class". UofT Magazine. 33 (3): 30–34. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  30. ^ https://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/news/triumph-and-frustration-ever-growing-database-documents-history-canadian-women-film-directors
  31. ^ https://www.legacy.com/ca/obituaries/theglobeandmail/name/helen-sherman-obituary?id=41455271