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An Accidental Statistician: The Life and Memories of George E. P. Box by George E. P. Box

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Digging for apples, your honor!

Chapter Seven

A New Life in Madison

I enjoyed my stay at Princeton and was to receive a full professorship there. But sadly in 1959, I had gone through a divorce, and Jessie and Simon had returned to England. I was to marry Joan Fisher, and to spare her some of the inevitable gossip, I decided to leave Princeton. Sam Wilkes, the head of the department, very much wanted me to stay at Princeton. He argued that in a year or two, this would all be forgotten. I felt adamant about leaving, however, and sought a job elsewhere. I found out that Columbia, Chicago, and Berkeley were interested, but at Wisconsin, there was the attractive possibility of starting a new department.

So what else happened so that I ended up in Madison? I think it went like this: Henry Scheffé, with whom I had worked at STRG, was on the faculty of the Statistics Department at Berkeley. He believed that to be a good statistician, you needed more than good mathematics. Henry had read my papers and gave a seminar at Berkeley called, “Some Bright Ideas of G.E.P. Box.” Meanwhile, Professor Rudolph Langer, mathematician and director of the Mathematics Research Center (MRC) at Wisconsin, had been looking for talent for the MRC. Langer, whose search was for statisticians as well as for mathematicians, knew and respected Henry, and I believe it was Henry who first told Langer about me.

At Madison there was a loosely associated group of perhaps 200 people called the “Division of Statistics.” ...

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