Feb. 20, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 10

current issue
archive / search
Chronicle RSS Feed

    Stigler to weave historical figures into Ryerson lecture on risk, gambling

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Stephen Stigler will weave a few unknown facts about a couple of well-known historical figures into his upcoming Ryerson Lecture.
    The legendary lover Giacomo Casanova, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and several thieving scoundrels will be among the characters who will figure into the 29th annual Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture on Thursday, March 6.

    Stephen Stigler, the Ernest DeWitt Burton Distinguished Service Professor in Statistics, will deliver the free lecture this year. Stigler’s remarks will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Max Palevsky Cinema of Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

    “Casanova must be well-known to the University community, judging from the worn covers on the library’s copies of his memoirs. But I would guess that his lottery is not,” Stigler said.

    Giacomo Casanova
    In the lecture, Stigler will discuss the social history of gambling from 1750 to 1840, particularly in France, and the idea of risk and how people and governments approach it.

    “I will briefly try to impart two subtle statistical lessons, but the lecture will be nontechnical,” he said.

    Stigler is beginning a two-year term as president of the International Statistical Institute.

    Napoleon Bonaparte
    An expert on the history of statistics, he is the author of numerous articles and books on the topic, including The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900, and Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods.

    The University’s Board of Trustees established the Ryerson Lecture in 1972 to give distinguished members of the faculty an opportunity to speak to the University community about their research.

    The President appoints a faculty committee, which nominates the Ryerson lecturer.