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
AwardsCOPSS Presidents' Award, R. 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)
External video
video icon “COPSS Awards and Fisher Lecture”, Amstat Videos, September 24, 2015

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] Fienberg was the founding co-editor of the Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application[5] and of the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality.[6]

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][7]

Career and research[edit]

Fienberg was on the Carnegie Mellon University faculty from 1980 and served as Dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.[4] [3] He became a U.S. citizen in 1998.

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 was also an expert on forensic science, the only statistician to serve on the National Commission on Forensic Science.[8]

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] His publications included books on categorical data analysis,[4] US census adjustment,[9][10] and forensic science.[11]

He was a founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality.[6][12] and of the Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Fienberg was an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences,[13] an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[14] a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,[15] a fellow of the American Statistical Association[16] and a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.[17]

He was a recipient of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Presidents' Award in 1982.[18][19] In 2002, Fienberg received the Samuel S. Wilks Award from the American Statistical Association for his distinguished career in statistics.[8] He received the inaugural Statistical Society of Canada's Lise Manchester Award in 2008 in recognition of his application of statistics to problems of public interest.[8] In 2015, he received the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences,[20] and the R. A. Fisher Lectureship from COPSS in 2015.[21] He was awarded the Zellner Medal by the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) in 2016.[22]

Selected publications[edit]

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.[25][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.[26]


  1. ^ a b c Stephen Fienberg at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "Emeritus Celebration for Steve Fienberg". NSF-Census Research Network. October 15, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  3. ^ a b Erosheva, Elena; Slavkovic, Aleksandra (April 1, 2017). "Obituary: Stephen E. Fienberg, 1942–2016". Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Mejia, Robin (February 2017). "Stephen E. Fienberg (1942–2016)". Nature. 542 (7642): 415. Bibcode:2017Natur.542..415M. doi:10.1038/542415a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 28230130. S2CID 4454571. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b Fienberg, Stephen E. (2014). "What is Statistics?". Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application. 1 (1): 1–9. Bibcode:2014AnRSA...1....1F. doi:10.1146/annurev-statistics-022513-115703.
  6. ^ a b "Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality relaunched with special issue in honor of Stephen E. Fienberg". Labor Dynamics Institute. Cornell University, ILR School. January 4, 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  7. ^ Feinberg, Stephen Elliot (1968). The estimation of cell probabilities in two-way contingency tables. (PhD thesis). Harvard University. OCLC 500191808.
  8. ^ a b c Rea, Shilo (December 14, 2016). "Obituary: Internationally Acclaimed Statistician Stephen E. Fienberg Changed the Field and Brought Statistics to Science and Public Policy". Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences News. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  9. ^ Anderson, Margo J.; Fienberg, Stephen E. (1999). Who Counts? The Politics of Census Taking in Contemporary America. Russell Sage Foundation. ISBN 978-0-87154-257-1. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Who Counts?". Russell Sage Foundation. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  11. ^ National Research Council (2002-10-08). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. ISBN 9780309263924.
  12. ^ "Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality". Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  13. ^ "Stephen Fienberg". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  14. ^ "List of Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International. "ASA Fellows List". Retrieved 2016-12-01. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  17. ^ "IMS Awards". Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  18. ^ Lin, Xihong; Genest, Christian; Banks, David L.; Molenberghs, Geert; Scott, David W.; Wang, Jane-Ling (March 26, 2014). Past, Present, and Future of Statistical Science. CRC Press. p. 12. ISBN 9781482204988. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  19. ^ "COPSS Awards Recipients". IMS. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  20. ^ "An Interview with Steve Fienberg, 2015 NISS Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research Winner". Amstat News. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  21. ^ "Stephen Fienberg selected to give R.A. Fisher Lecture". Carnegie Mellon University. 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Zellner Medal". International Society for Bayesian Analysis. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "STEPHEN E. FIENBERG, 1942-2016". Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  26. ^ "Pittsburgh shooting: Who are the victims?". BBC News. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-28.