John Tukey
John Tukey  

Born  
Died  July 26, 2000  (aged 85)
Education  
Known for 

Awards 

Scientific career  
Fields  Topology 
Institutions  
Thesis  On Denumerability in Topology^{[1]} 
Doctoral advisor  Solomon Lefschetz^{[1]} 
Doctoral students 
John Wilder Tukey (/ˈtuːki/; June 16, 1915 – July 26, 2000) was an American mathematician and statistician, best known for the development of the fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm and box plot.^{[2]} The Tukey range test, the Tukey lambda distribution, the Tukey test of additivity, and the Teichmüller–Tukey lemma all bear his name. He is also credited with coining the term bit and the first published use of the word software.
Biography
[edit]Tukey was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1915, to a Latin teacher father and a private tutor. He was mainly taught by his mother and attended regular classes only for certain subjects like French.^{[3]} Tukey obtained a B.A. in 1936 and M.S. in 1937 in chemistry, from Brown University, before moving to Princeton University, where in 1939 he received a PhD in mathematics after completing a doctoral dissertation titled "On denumerability in topology".^{[4]}^{[5]}^{[6]}
During World War II, Tukey worked at the Fire Control Research Office and collaborated with Samuel Wilks and William Cochran. He is claimed to have helped design the U2 spy plane. After the war, he returned to Princeton, dividing his time between the university and AT&T Bell Laboratories. In 1962, Tukey was elected to the American Philosophical Society.^{[7]} He became a full professor at 35 and founding chairman of the Princeton statistics department in 1965.^{[3]}
Among many contributions to civil society, Tukey served on a committee of the American Statistical Association that produced a report critiquing the statistical methodology of the Kinsey Report, Statistical Problems of the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which summarized "A random selection of three people would have been better than a group of 300 chosen by Mr. Kinsey".
From 1960 to 1980, Tukey helped design the NBC television network polls used to predict and analyze elections. He was also a consultant to the Educational Testing Service, the Xerox Corporation, and Merck & Company.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Tukey played a key role in the design and conduct of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
He was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Nixon in 1973.^{[3]} He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1982 "For his contributions to the spectral analysis of random processes and the fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm".
Tukey retired in 1985. He died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on July 26, 2000.
Scientific contributions
[edit]Early in his career Tukey worked on developing statistical methods for computers at Bell Labs, where he invented the term bit in 1947.^{[8]}^{[9]}^{[10]}
His statistical interests were many and varied. He is particularly remembered for his development with James Cooley of the Cooley–Tukey FFT algorithm. In 1970, he contributed significantly to what is today known as the jackknife—also termed Quenouille–Tukey jackknife. He introduced the box plot in his 1977 book, "Exploratory Data Analysis".
Tukey's range test, the Tukey lambda distribution, Tukey's test of additivity, Tukey's lemma, and the Tukey window all bear his name. He is also the creator of several littleknown methods such as the trimean and medianmedian line, an easier alternative to linear regression.
In 1974, he developed, with Jerome H. Friedman, the concept of the projection pursuit.^{[11]}
Data analysis and foundations of data science
[edit]John Tukey contributed greatly to statistical practice and data analysis in general. In fact, some regard John Tukey as the father of data science. At the very least, he pioneered many of the key foundations of what came later to be known as data science.^{[12]}
Making sense of data has a long history and has been addressed by statisticians, mathematicians, scientists, and others for many many years. During the 1960s, Tukey challenged the dominance at the time of what he called "confirmatory data analysis", statistical analyses driven by rigid mathematical configurations.^{[13]} Tukey emphasized the importance of having a more flexible attitude towards data analysis and of exploring data carefully to see what structures and information might be contained therein. He called this "exploratory data analysis" (EDA). In many ways, EDA was a precursor to data science.
Tukey also realized the importance of computer science to EDA. Graphics are an integral part of EDA methodology and, while much of Tukey's work focused on static displays (such as box plots) that could be drawn by hand, he realized that computer graphics would be much more effective for studying multivariate data. PRIM9, the first program for viewing multivariate data, was conceived by him during the early 1970s.^{[14]}
This coupling of data analysis and computer science is what is now called data science.
Tukey articulated the important distinction between exploratory data analysis and confirmatory data analysis, believing that much statistical methodology placed too great an emphasis on the latter. Though he believed in the utility of separating the two types of analysis, he pointed out that sometimes, especially in natural science, this was problematic and termed such situations uncomfortable science.
A. D. Gordon offered the following summary of Tukey's principles for statistical practice:^{[15]}
... the usefulness and limitation of mathematical statistics; the importance of having methods of statistical analysis that are robust to violations of the assumptions underlying their use; the need to amass experience of the behaviour of specific methods of analysis in order to provide guidance on their use; the importance of allowing the possibility of data's influencing the choice of method by which they are analysed; the need for statisticians to reject the role of "guardian of proven truth", and to resist attempts to provide onceforall solutions and tidy overunifications of the subject; the iterative nature of data analysis; implications of the increasing power, availability, and cheapness of computing facilities; the training of statisticians.
Tukey's lectures were described to be unusual. McCullagh described his lecture given in London in 1977:^{[15]}^{[16]}
Tukey ambled to the podium, a great bear of a man dressed in baggy pants and a black knitted shirt. These might once have been a matching pair but the vintage was such that it was hard to tell. ... Carefully and deliberately a list of headings was chalked on the blackboard. The words came too, not many, like overweight parcels, delivered at a slow unfaltering pace. ... When it was complete, Tukey turned to face the audience and the podium ... "Comments, queries, suggestions?" he asked the audience ... As he waited for a response, he clambered onto the podium and manoeuvred until he was sitting crosslegged facing the audience. ... We in the audience sat like spectators at the zoo waiting for the great bear to move or say something. But the great bear appeared to be doing the same thing, and the feeling was not comfortable.
Coining the term bit
[edit]While working with John von Neumann on early computer designs, Tukey introduced the word bit as a portmanteau of binary digit.^{[17]} The term bit was first used in an article by Claude Shannon in 1948.
See also
[edit]Publications
[edit] Andrews, David F.; Bickel, Peter J.; Hampel, Frank R.; Huber, Peter J.; Rogers, W. H.; Tukey, John Wilder (1972). Robust estimates of location: survey and advances. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691081137. OCLC 369963.
 Basford, Kaye E.; Tukey, John Wilder (1998). Graphical Analysis of Multiresponse Data. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press. ISBN 9780849303845. OCLC 154674707.^{[18]}^{[19]}^{[20]}^{[21]}
 Blackman, R. B.; Tukey, John Wilder (1959). The measurement of power spectra from the point of view of communications engineering. Dover Publications. ISBN 9780486605074.
 Cochran, William Gemmell; Mosteller, Charles Frederick; Tukey, John Wilder (1953). Statistical problems of the Kinsey report on sexual behavior in the human male. Journal of the American Statistical Association. doi:10.1080/01621459.1953.10501194.
 Cooley, James W.; Tukey, John W. (1965). "An algorithm for the machine calculation of complex Fourier series". Math. Comput. 19 (90): 297–301. doi:10.2307/2003354. JSTOR 2003354.* Hoaglin, David C.; Mosteller, Charles Frederick; Tukey, John Wilder, eds. (1983). Understanding Robust and Exploratory Data Analysis. Wiley. ISBN 9780471097778. OCLC 8495063.
 Hoaglin, David C.; Mosteller, Charles Frederick; Tukey, John Wilder, eds. (1985). Exploring Data Tables, Trends and Shapes. Wiley. ISBN 9780471097761. OCLC 11550398.
 Hoaglin, David C.; Mosteller, Charles Frederick; Tukey, John Wilder, eds. (1991). Fundamentals of exploratory analysis of variance. Wiley. ISBN 9780471527350. OCLC 23180322.
 Morgenthaler, Stephan; Tukey, John Wilder, eds. (1991). Configural polysampling: a route to practical robustness. Wiley. ISBN 9780471523727. OCLC 22381036.
 Mosteller, Charles Frederick; Tukey, John Wilder (1977). Data analysis and regression: a second course in statistics. AddisonWesley. ISBN 9780201048544. OCLC 3235470.
 Tukey, John Wilder (1940). Convergence and Uniformity in Topology. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691095684. OCLC 227948615.
 Tukey, John Wilder (1977). Exploratory Data Analysis. AddisonWesley. ISBN 9780201076165. OCLC 3058187.
 Tukey, John Wilder; Ross, Ian C.; Bertrand, Verna (1973). Index to statistics and probability. R & D Press. ISBN 9780882740010. OCLC 745715.
 The collected works of John W Tukey, edited by William S. Cleveland
 Brillinger, David R., ed. (1984). Volume I: Time series, 1949–1964. Wadsworth, Inc. ISBN 9780534033033. OCLC 10998116.
 Brillinger, David R., ed. (1985). Volume II: Time series, 1965–1984. Wadsworth, Inc. ISBN 9780534033040. OCLC 159731367.
 Jones, Lyle V., ed. (1985). Volume III: Philosophy and principles of data analysis, 1949–1964. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780534033057. OCLC 159731367.
 Jones, Lyle V., ed. (1986). Volume IV: Philosophy and principles of data analysis, 1965–1986. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780534051013. OCLC 165832503.
 Cleveland, William S., ed. (1988). Volume V: Graphics, 1965–1985. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780534051020. OCLC 230023465.
 Mallows, Colin L., ed. (1990). Volume VI: More mathematical, 1938–1984. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780534051037. OCLC 232966724.
 Cox, David R., ed. (1992). Volume VII: Factorial and ANOVA, 1949–1962. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole. ISBN 9780534051044. OCLC 165366083.
 Braun, Henry I., ed. (1994). Volume VIII: Multiple comparisons, 1949–1983. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press. ISBN 9780412051210. OCLC 165099761.
 About John Tukey
 O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "John Tukey", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
 Interview of John Tukey about his experience at Princeton
References
[edit] ^ ^{a} ^{b} John Tukey at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
 ^ Sande, Gordon (July 2001). "Obituary: John Wilder Tukey". Physics Today. 54 (7): 80–81. doi:10.1063/1.1397408.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} ^{c} Leonhardt, David (20000728). "John Tukey, 85, Statistician; Coined the Word 'Software'". New York Times. Retrieved 20120924.
 ^ "John Tukey". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved 20220702.
 ^ Tukey, John W. (1939). On denumerability in topology.
 ^ "John Tukey". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 20110718.
 ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 20210128.
 ^ Shannon, Claude Elwood (July 1948). "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal. 27 (3): 379–423. doi:10.1002/j.15387305.1948.tb01338.x. hdl:11858/00001M0000002C43142. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19980715.
The choice of a logarithmic base corresponds to the choice of a unit for measuring information. If the base 2 is used the resulting units may be called binary digits, or more briefly bits, a word suggested by J. W. Tukey.
 ^ Shannon, Claude Elwood (October 1948). "A Mathematical Theory of Communication". Bell System Technical Journal. 27 (4): 623–666. doi:10.1002/j.15387305.1948.tb00917.x. hdl:11858/00001M0000002C43142.
 ^ Shannon, Claude Elwood; Weaver, Warren (1949). A Mathematical Theory of Communication (PDF). University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252725484. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19980715.
 ^ Friedman, Jerome H.; Tukey, John Wilder (September 1974). "A Projection Pursuit Algorithm for Exploratory Data Analysis". IEEE Transactions on Computers. C23 (9): 881–890. doi:10.1109/TC.1974.224051. ISSN 00189340. OSTI 1442925. S2CID 7997450.
 ^ David Donoho (2017), 50 Years of Data Science, Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1080/10618600.2017.1384734
 ^ John W. Tukey (1962) The Future of Data Analysis. Ann. Math. Statist. 33(1): 167. DOI: 10.1214/aoms/1177704711.
 ^ Friedman, J. H., & Stuetzle, W. (2002). John W. Tukey’s Work on Interactive Graphics. The Annals of Statistics, 30(6), 16291639. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1558733
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} "John Tukey  Biography". Maths History. Retrieved 20220218.
 ^ P McCullagh, John Wilder Tukey, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 49 (2003), 538559.
 ^ "Bit definition by The Linux Information Project (LINFO)". www.linfo.org.
 ^ Talbot, M. (June 2000). Biometrics. 56 (2): 649–650. doi:10.1111/j.0006341X.2000.00647.x. JSTOR 2677019.
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: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)  ^ Cooper, Mark (July–August 2000). Crop Science. 40 (4): 1184. doi:10.2135/cropsci2000.0015br.
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: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)  ^ Heckler, Charles E. (February 2001). Technometrics. 43 (1): 97–98. doi:10.1198/tech.2001.s547. JSTOR 1270862. S2CID 26430218.
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: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)  ^ Broadfoot, L. (June 2001). The Journal of Agricultural Science. 136 (4): 471–475. doi:10.1017/s002185960124893x. S2CID 86230606.
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External links
[edit] Royal Society obit. by Peter McCullagh
 John W. Tukey: His Life and Professional Contributions published in The Annals of Statistics
 John Wilder Tukey (1915–2000) in Notices of the American Mathematical Society
 Memories of John Tukey
 Short biography by Mary Bittrich
 "John Tukey, 85, Statistician; Coined the Word 'Software'", The New York Times, 20000728
 "Remembering John W. Tukey", special issue of Statistical Science
 John Wilder Tukey at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
 1915 births
 2000 deaths
 People from Massachusetts
 National Medal of Science laureates
 Presidents of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics
 Fellows of the American Statistical Association
 IEEE Medal of Honor recipients
 American statisticians
 Survey methodologists
 Exploratory data analysis
 Princeton University faculty
 Princeton University alumni
 Brown University alumni
 Burials at Princeton Cemetery
 Foreign members of the Royal Society
 Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences
 20thcentury American mathematicians
 Computational statisticians