Jerzy Neyman

Jerzy Neyman ( born April 16, 1894 in Bendery, Russian Empire; † August 5, 1981 in Oakland, California ) was a Polish- American mathematician and author of important statistical books. The Neyman -Pearson lemma is named after him.

Life and work

Neyman was the son of a lawyer. Because although he came from a Polish family, but grew up in the Russian Empire ( in the Crimea ), was his Russified name Yuri Tscheslawowitsch. Even as a high school student he spoke alongside Polish, Russian and Ukrainian, and French and German. 1906 the family moved to his father's death to relatives of the mother to Kharkov in today's Ukraine, where he studied at the University of Physics and Mathematics in 1912. The reading of the Lectures on integration of Henri Lebesgue did definitively change it to mathematics and he wrote his first work in 1915, which won the Gold Medal of the University. After lectures by Sergei Bernstein Natanowitsch he dealt already with probability theory.

After graduating in 1917 he taught at the University of Kharkov, interrupted by stays in Crimea for recovery of his tuberculosis. In 1920 he married a Russian woman, but had to temporarily leave the country as a Pole, after he was detained for several weeks due to the Polish-Soviet War. In Poland, he worked as a statistician at an agricultural institute in Bydgoszcz and Warsaw at the Meteorological Institute. At the same time he became in 1923 assistant at the University of Warsaw, where he received his doctorate in 1924 on statistical design of experiments in agriculture Waclaw Sierpinski and Stefan Mazurkiewicz at. He stayed in London in 1925 with a Rockefeller Fellowship at Karl Pearson in 1926/27 in Paris with Emile Borel ( he also heard in Lebesgue and Jacques Hadamard ). In London he met Egon Pearson, with whom he worked closely in the subsequent period. In 1927 he returned to Poland, habilitated, lectured and founded a biometric laboratory. In 1934 he was appointed to a permanent position at University College London, where now Egon Pearson had become the successor of his father. After there had been at University College tensions between Neyman and Ronald Fisher went Neyman (although Egon Pearson wanted to keep him ) after a series of guest lectures in the United States in 1937 as a lecturer to Berkeley, where he stayed in 1938 until his death. At Berkeley, he built up a leading international school of mathematical statistics, in 1955 received a Faculty there.

In 1954 he gave a plenary lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam (Current Problems in Mathematical Statistics ).


For his work he was awarded in 1966 by the Royal Statistical Society with the Guy Medal in Gold. In 1968 he was awarded the Wilks Award of the American Statistical Society. Since 1974 he was an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society and since 1979 a member of the Royal Society.

The asteroid ( 29447 ) Jerzyneyman was named after him.


  • With Egon Pearson: Joint statistical papers. Cambridge University Press 1966.
  • Selection of early statistical papers of J.Neyman. University of California Press 1967.
  • First Course in Probability and Statistics. Holt, New York 1950.
  • With Grace Bates: Contributions to the theory of accident proneness. University of California Press 1952
  • As editor: Proceedings of the Berkeley Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability. University of California Press, 1949 (first Symposium 1945/6 ), 1951 ( 2nd Symposium 1950 ), 1956 (3rd Symposium in 1954/55, 5 volumes), 1961 ( 4th Symposium 1960, 4 volumes), 1967 (5th Symposium 1965/6, 5 ​​volumes ), 1972 (6th Symposium 1970/71, 6 volumes)
  • As Publisher: The Heritage of Copernicus theories pleasing the least MIT Press, 1974.