Stephen Fienberg

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Stephen Fienberg
Stephen Elliott Fienberg

(1942-11-27)27 November 1942
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died14 December 2016(2016-12-14) (aged 74)
Alma materHarvard University (PhD)
University of Toronto (BSc)
Known forLog-linear models, Contingency tables
AwardsR. A. Fisher Lectureship
Scientific career
InstitutionsCarnegie Mellon University
ThesisThe Estimation of Cell Probabilities in Two-Way Contingency Tables (1968)
Doctoral advisorFrederick Mosteller[1]
Doctoral students
Other notable studentsDavid Blei (postdoc)

Stephen Elliott Fienberg (27 November 1942 – 14 December 2016) was a Professor Emeritus[2] (formerly the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science) in the Department of Statistics, the Machine Learning Department, Heinz College, and Cylab at Carnegie Mellon University.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Fienberg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Toronto in 1964, a Master of Arts degree in Statistics in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Statistics in 1968 from Harvard University for research supervised by Frederick Mosteller.[1][5]

Career and research[edit]

He was on the Carnegie Mellon University faculty from 1980, served as Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and became a U.S. citizen in 1998. He authored more than 400 publications, including six books, advised more than 30 Ph.D. students, and could claim more than 105 descendants in his mathematical genealogy.[1]

Fienberg was one of the foremost social statisticians in the world, and was well known for his work in log-linear modeling for categorical data, the statistical analysis of network data, and methodology for disclosure limitation. He authored and coauthored books on categorical data analysis,[6] US census adjustment,[7] and forensic science.[8] He was a founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality.[9]

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Fienberg was a recipient of the COPSS Presidents' Award, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences,[12] an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[13] a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,[14] a fellow of the American Statistical Association[15] and a winner of its Wilks Award, and a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.[16] He was selected to be the R. A. Fisher Lecturer in 2015.[17] Fienberg was the winner of the 2015 NISS Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research,[18]

Personal life[edit]

Stephen Fienberg was married to Joyce Fienberg and had two sons, Anthony and Howard, and six grandchildren. He died on 14 December 2016.[19][4] Joyce Fienberg died on 27 October 2018. She was one of eleven worshippers murdered during the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Stephen Fienberg at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "Emeritus Celebration for Steve Fienberg | NSF-Census Research Network". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  3. ^ "CMU Statistics". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  4. ^ a b Mejia, Robin (2017). "Stephen E. Fienberg (1942–2016) Statistician who campaigned for better science in court". Nature. 542 (7642): 415. doi:10.1038/542415a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 28230130.
  5. ^ Feinberg, Stephen Elliot (1968). The estimation of cell probabilities in two-way contingency tables. (PhD thesis). Harvard University. OCLC 500191808.
  6. ^ "Stephen E. Fienberg". MIT Press. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  7. ^ "Who Counts? | RSF". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  8. ^ Council, National Research (2002-10-08). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 9780309263924.
  9. ^ "Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality". Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  10. ^ Haberman, Shelby J. (July 1976). "Review: Discrete Multivariate Analysis: Theory and Practice by Y. M. M. Bishop, S. E. Fienberg and P. W. Holland". The Annals of Statistics. 4 (4): 817–820. doi:10.1214/aos/1176343556. JSTOR 2958194.
  11. ^ Kempthorne, Oscar (June 1983). "A Review of R. A. Fisher: An Appreciation". Journal of the American Statistical Association. 78 (382): 482–490. doi:10.1080/01621459.1983.10478001. JSTOR 2288664.
  12. ^, National Academy of Sciences. "Stephen Fienberg". Archived from the original on 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  13. ^ "List of Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Fienberg, Stephen E". AAAS – The World's Largest General Scientific Society. 2016-08-01. Archived from the original on 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  15. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International. "ASA Fellows List". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  16. ^ "IMS Awards". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  17. ^ Amstat Videos (2015-09-24), COPSS Awards and Fisher Lecture, retrieved 2016-12-01
  18. ^ "An Interview with Steve Fienberg, 2015 NISS Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research Winner | Amstat News". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  19. ^ "STEPHEN E. FIENBERG, 1942-2016". Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  20. ^ "Pittsburgh shooting: Who are the victims?". Retrieved 2018-10-28.