Statistics History in a Crossword

Can you name some of the most-accomplished statisticians in history? Test your knowledge by filling out this crossword puzzle.

Instructions: Answer using the last names of the historical figures described by the clues on the following page. Solution can be found here.


1. Amused by similarity of their names, this statistician and George Box decided to co-author a paper together. Another statistician with the same last name served as the first female department head at North Carolina State College, leading the Department of Experimental Statistics.

2. Coined the term “the curse of dimensionality” in the 1950s.

3. French mathematician whose name is one of 72 inscribed on the Eiffel Tower. A probability distribution named after him, which he used to model errors, is sometimes referred to as the double exponential distribution.

4. Worked for Guinness Brewing Company and published the Student’s t distribution under the pseudonym “Student” to skirt company policy of no publications.

5. Introduced martingale theory and was one of a few statisticians who proved the Central Limit Theorem.

6. Friend of Karl Pearson’s son, Egon. The two have a well-known lemma named after them relating to hypothesis testing.

7. Quoted saying, “Essentially all models are wrong, but some are useful.” Married R.A. Fisher’s daughter, Joan.

8. The normal distribution, aka Bell-shaped curve, is known by another name in honor of this mathematician.

9. British statistician whose contributions include maximum likelihood and design of experiments.

10. Statistician who was named after Florence Nightingale, worked as a researcher under Karl Pearson, and published her first book, Tables of the Correlation Coefficient, in 1938. William Gosset taught her how to fly fish.


1. Swedish mathematician who published the Mathematical Methods of Statistics, which filled in proofs for much of Fisher’s work.

2. This statistician’s calculations were found after he died and published posthumously. A theorem and an alternative to frequentist statistics bears his name.

3. The theorem named after this statistician offers the asymptotic distribution of the log-likelihood ratio statistic. Was also responsible for recruiting John Tukey to statistics.

4. Non-parametric hypothesis testing became a hot topic in statistics after this chemist turned statistician published a paper on the topic in 1945.

5. Notable contributions of this statistician include exploratory data analysis and fast fourier transform. He also coined the term “bit.”

6. Statistician who studied under both Pearson and Fisher and founded the Indian Statistical Institute.

7. His axioms of probability and the development of stochastic process theory are among many of his accomplishments. This statistician disappeared behind Stalin’s Iron Curtain during World War II.

8. Credited with establishing mathematical statistics and founded the first university statistics department. Offered and refused British knighthood.

9. Discovered the uniqueness of fingerprints and formulated the calculation of correlation.

Further Reading

Salsburg, David. 2001. The Lady Tasting Tea, How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

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