[edit] William Sealey Gosset

Born: 13 June 1876 in Canterbury, England

[edit] Died: 16 Oct 1937 in Beaconsfield, England


William Gosset was educated at Winchester, then entering New College Oxford where he studied chemistry and mathematics. While there he studied under Airy.

Gosset obtained a post as a chemist in the Guinness brewery in Dublin in 1899 and did important work on statistics. He invented the t-test to handle small samples for quality control in brewing. He wrote under the name "Student".

Gosset discovered the form of the t distribution by a combination of mathematical and empirical work with random numbers, an early application of the Monte-Carlo method.

From 1922 he got a statistical assistant at the brewery, and he slowly built up a small statistics department which he ran until 1934.

Gosset certainly did not work in isolation. He corresponded with a large number of statisticians and he often visited his father in Watlington in England and on these occasions he would visit University College, London and the Rothamsted Agricultural Expe riment Station. He would discuss statistical problems with Fisher, Neyman and Pearson.

At the end of 1935 Gosset left Ireland to take charge of the new Guinness brewery in London. Despite the hard work involved in this venture he continued to publish statistics papers.

[edit] Adapted from the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.