Lawrence D. Brown, one of the leading statisticians of our time, passed away peacefully on February 21, 2018, at the age of 77, after a long battle with cancer. We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Larry, a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, and a friend. Larry preserved his unfailing fortitude and good humor to his last day.
Larry was the Miers Busch Professor of Statistics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He published 5 books and over 170 papers in leading statistics and probability journals. Larry made fundamental contributions to a wide range of topics in statistics, including decision theory, nonparametric function estimation, foundations of statistical inference, properties of exponential families, interval estimation and Edgeworth expansions, bioequivalence, and analysis of census data and call-center data.
Larry was the recipient of many honors for his profound contributions to the field of statistics. He was the President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1992-1993, co-editor of The Annals of Statistics for 1995-1997 and gave the prestigious Wald Memorial Lectures in 1985. In 1993, Purdue University awarded him an honorary D.Sc. degree in recognition of his distinguished achievements. He was named winner of the Wilks Memorial Award of the American Statistical Association in 2002 and the winner of the C.R. and B. Rao Prize in 2007. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Larry provided exemplary public service for a number of organizations. He served on several panels and committees of the National Research Council (NRC) and the National Academy of Sciences, in particular over many years for the 2000 and 2010 censuses, and then as Chair of the NRC Committee on National Statistics from 2010 to 2018. He gave testimony concerning the 2000 U.S. Census to the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in 1997, and to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee in 1998.
Larry was much loved by his colleagues and his students, many of whom benefited tremendously from his wisdom and kindness. Larry highly valued teaching and mentoring students and new researchers -- for whom he always found time and great energy despite his many obligations. He supervised 37 Ph.D. students, many of whom hold leading positions in the United States and abroad. In addition to his own students, Larry also mentored many postdocs and junior faculty. He was the winner of the Provost's Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011.