Noble Prize for Statistics

Should there be a Nobel Price for Statistics?


  • Total voters
    7
#1
In the German R-Statistics forum we lately had a discussion, that among others came to the point, that there is no Noble Prize for statistics.

Somehow, it stayed in my mind.

As we know, there is a Noble Prize for medicine, biology, physics and chemistry.

In the first three mentioned nature sciences statistics is the most common instrument of proof (medicine and biology) respectively most common modelling instrument (physics). To bring it on a narrow point one could also state: Statistics is for a major part of inventions in the nature sciences the feeding tree, on which the most invention fruits are grown.

A few examples, which natur scientific examinations are based on statistics:


  • double blind studies of new pharma substances (medicine)
  • causal research of illnesses (medicine)
  • referencing of proteins to genomes (biogenetics/ biotech)
  • grow studies of plants (biology)
  • modelling of quantum particles as quasi-distributions (physics)
  • simulation of mechanical stability by the finite-element method (physics/ engineering)
  • all quality test (all across the sciences)

This list might be continued to infinity.

So, any significant improvement in statistics will most probably be multiplied in the nature sciences another time(s) again!

Thus, it is an unbearable state, that there is no Noble Prize for statistics, isn't it?

Consuli
 
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Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#2
There isn't one for mathematics either. There is a story about how the Creator of the prize had his woman stolen by a mathematician and that's why there isn't a prize for math.

Statistics is a relatively new field too so I guess it's not too surprising.
 

spunky

Doesn't actually exist
#3
What about the Nobel Prize in Economics? I mean, the guy who discovered the generalized method of moments won the Nobel Prize in part because of his work on this area. Which almost makes me feel as if I should use it out of respect.
 

Karabiner

TS Contributor
#4
What about the Nobel Prize in Economics? I mean, the guy who discovered the generalized method of moments won the Nobel Prize in part because of his work on this area. Which almost makes me feel as if I should use it out of respect.
Well, there's no Nobel prize for economics. The prize you mean is not from Nobel. It was invented by a bank much later, and its name is "Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences". But taking this as an example, anyone with enough money could invent a "Nobel Memorial Prize in Statistic Sciences", and could hope that people falsely refer to it as "Nobel Prize in Statistics".

With kind regards

Karabiner
 
#6
There is no Nobel prize in biology, but there is one in "Physiology or Medicine".

The prize in economics is called "The Riksbank’s Prize in Economic Sciences". The Nobel committee has decided that they will not accept any new subjects for Nobel prizes. So there will be any Nobel prize in mathematics or statistics.

I believe that the trade mark "Nobel prize" is very well protected, so I don't think that "anybody" can create a new prize with Nobel's name.

But, since Cox regression has ben used so much in medicine, there has been suggestions to award D. R. Cox a Nobel prize in medicin or physiology. But I don't think that it will happen.
 

Karabiner

TS Contributor
#7
What about a prize in memorial of my late uncle, Norbert Obel? He was an outstanding accountant, and he often calculated means and once even a correlation. "N. Obel Memorial Prize in Statistic Sciences" certainly won't hurt the trade mark.

With kind regards

Karabiner
 
#8
The Nobel committee has decided that they will not accept any new subjects for Nobel prizes. So there will NOT be any Nobel prize in mathematics or statistics. I believe that the trade mark "Nobel prize" is very well protected, so I don't think that "anybody" can create a new prize with Nobel's name.
Effectively nothing is fixed for infinity. Of course, we have to mention VERY good reasons for a new Nobel prize. I think we need a very visual case, that inventions in statistics will make live much more worth living.
For example I could think about the missing appropriate effect size statistic for medical double blind studies. As far as I know, there has not not been any significant improvement in the last years. Following, moderate effective drugs are still prefered from more effective drugs, as far significance is used to evalute them and the moderately effective drug is researched in a larger study by a big pharma company (A larger number of observations generates more significance).

Of course, we need a big sponsor, either.
 

rogojel

TS Contributor
#9
Maybe we need a Hilbert List of problems first? Then, anybody solving a problem from the list could get the stats N. Obel prise.
 
#10
Its fine that there isn't a Nobel award, given to when it came into its own. The Nobel distinction has been getting chewed up for a few years based on major advancements not happening from a single person, but large teams. And the award not being distinguished to them. For some reason I was think that maybe this was the first year they gave a prize to a team, but I may be off. I am waiting for the gal from California to get the it for CRISPER, gene editing.


The ASA or whoever is the largest stats organization just needs to create an award if they already haven't done so and we can embrace that internally. There are new non-nobel awards that get love like Turing award, etc.


Statisiticians are just the unsung heros, and with the big data push people are starting to think of data as more valuable than oil, in order to target the heck out of consumers and optimize everything. The more I read on Breiman or R. Tibshrani (sp?), etc. the more I think they need an award, but the truth is they keep getting awards, we just are familiar enough with all the awards - at least I am not.
 
#12
Don't get me wrong. Statistics is the bedrock for a huge portion of published research and has helped solved countless questions. But it is like celebrating the awesome racket some tennis player used or the tool that help some major achievement to occur.
 
#13
But it is like celebrating the awesome racket some tennis player used or the tool that help some major achievement to occur.
I guess, I am not a tennis racket. And I do not not want my statistical infrastructure research to be one, either, for my part. :shakehead
 

Karabiner

TS Contributor
#14
Don't get me wrong. Statistics is the bedrock for a huge portion of published research and has helped solved countless questions. But it is like celebrating the awesome racket some tennis player used or the tool that help some major achievement to occur.
Compared to economics, which exists to justify the unequal distribution of wealth and causes harm and distress when guiding policy in the real world, tennis rackets are useful things and would deserve a Nobel prize. Consider for example the development from e.g. Bjorn Borg's racket to Federer's!

With kind regards

Karabiner
 
#15
Consider for example the development from e.g. Bjorn Borg's racket to Federer's!
Ok, I see your point in this. What makes people satisfied is sometimes very different from person to person. Some are satisfied, when their research receives a lot of tribute and honor, and others like it to be a taken for granted cup of coffee (or even an insignificant tennis racket).

I fully agree, that there should be an alternative incentive for the second group.

However, for the first group of researchers, there should be awards and prizes. And these awards do not harm the second group, right?

Thus, when accepting the thesis, that scientific research is useful for society (especially statistical research), one should also support an appropriate scientific award for basic statistical research, right?

Maybe this award would/ should not be named Nobel Prize, for formal reasons of the Alfred Nobel Stiftelsen.

Consuli
 
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