Steve Selvin

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Steve Selvin (born 1941) is an American statistician who is professor of biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Selvin joined the faculty of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley in 1972 and in 1977 he became the head of its biostatistics division. As the head of Undergraduate Management Committee he was instrumental in the development of school's undergraduate program. In addition to his work at UC Berkeley he also served from 1990 to 1998 as an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and since 2005 as a professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.[1][2]

UC Berkeley bestowed several awards on Selvin for his achievements in teaching. He received the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1983 and the School of Public Health Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998. In 2011 at the age of 70 he was awarded a Berkeley Citation. Selvin published over 200 papers and authored several textbooks in the fields of biostatistics and epidemiology.[1]

In February 1975 Selvin published a letter entitled A Problem in Probability in the American Statistician. In it he posed and solved a problem, which was later to become known as the Monty Hall Problem. After receiving some criticism for his suggested solution Selvin wrote a follow-up letter entitled On the Monty Hall Problem, which was published in August of the same year. This was the first time the phrase "Monty Hall Problem" appeared in print. In this second letter Selvin proposed a solution based on Bayes' theorem and explicitly outlined some assumptions concerning the moderator's behavior. The problem remained relatively unknown until it was published again by Marilyn vos Savant in her column at the Parade Magazine in 1990. This publication generated a lot of controversy and made the problem widely known throughout the world. As a result quite a few papers were published on the Monty Hall Problem generated over the years and it is featured in many introductory probability & statistics classes and textbooks.[3]


  • A Problem in Probability. The American Statistician, February 1975 (first publication of the Monty Hall Problem, online copy at JSTOR)
  • On the Monty Hall Problem. The American Statistician, August 1975 (first literal mentioning of the phrase "Monty Hall Problem", online copy (excerpt))
  • Statistical Analysis of Epidemiologic Data. Oxford University Press, New York, 1991, 3. edition 2004, ISBN 0195172809
  • Modern Applied Biostatistical Methods Using SPLUS. Oxford University Press, New York, 1998, ISBN 0195120256
  • Epidemiologic Analysis: a case-oriented approach. Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, ISBN 0195144899
  • Biostatistics: How it works. Prentice Hall, New York, 2004, ISBN 0130466166
  • Survival Analysis for epidemiologic and Medical Research Analysis of Epidemiologic Data. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2008, ISBN 9780521895194
  • Statistical Tools for Epidemiologic Research. Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 9780199755967


  1. ^ a b Berkeley Citation awarded to biostatistician Steve Selvin for long history of achievement. School of Public Health (press release), Berkeley, 17. Oktober 2011
  2. ^ Dr.Steve Selvin Archived 2010-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. Biography at the website of the Association of Schools of Public Health (retrieved 2012-9-30)
  3. ^ Jason Rosenhouse: The Monty Hall Problem. Oxford University Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-536789-8, pp. 20-22, 31

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