Jerome Cornfield

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Jerome (Jerry) Cornfield (1912–1979) was a US statistician. He is best known for his work in biostatistics, but his early work was in economic statistics and he also contributed to the theory of Bayesian inference. He also played a role in the early development of input-output analysis and linear programming. Cornfield played a crucial role in establishing the causal link between smoking and incidence of lung cancer.[1]

He was born on October 30, 1912 in The Bronx, New York City. He graduated from New York University in 1933 and was briefly a graduate student at Columbia University. He also studied statistics and mathematics at the Graduate School of the US Department of Agriculture while employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where he remained until 1947. He later worked at the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, the National Heart Institute, the University of Pittsburgh, and George Washington University.

In 1951 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.[2] He was the R. A. Fisher Lecturer in 1973 and President of the American Statistical Association in 1974.

Cornfield married Ruth Bittler in 1937. They had two daughters, Ann and Ellen.

He died on September 17, 1979 in Great Falls, Virginia.


  1. ^ Cornfield, Jerome; et al. (1959). "Smoking and lung cancer: recent evidence and a discussion of some questions" (PDF). Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 22 (1): 173–203. doi:10.1093/jnci/22.1.173. PMID 13621204.
  2. ^ View/Search Fellows of the ASA, accessed 2016-07-23.