2015 Fisher Lecturer Winner

Stephen E. Fienberg
Carnegie Mellon University


The 2015 Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Fisher Lectureship Committee selected Stephen E. Fienberg of Carnegie Mellon University to deliver the Fisher Lecture at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle. The citation for Dr. Fienberg’s plaque reads:

“For wide-ranging and highly influential contributions to the theory and practice of statistics; for fundamental advances in methodology, interpretation and computation in the analysis of categorical data; for broad-reaching contributions to statistical methods for sample surveys; for seminal work on record linkage, privacy and social network analysis; for outstanding and prolific service to the profession and to society; and for being a role model, advocate and mentor to young statisticians."

Dr. Fienberg 's talk is titled “R.A. Fisher and the Statistical ABCs."


Sir R.A. Fisher was one of the towering figures of twentieth century statistics. When I encounter a new statistical problem I often ask myself: what would Fisher have to say about this topic. This year is the quasquicentennial of his birth, and I reflect on three major aspects of his legacy, which I will characterize via the letters A, B, and C, and I consider their relevance for some of the challenges facing statistical theory and methodology today.