George W. Snedecor

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George Waddel Snedecor
Born (1881-10-20)20 October 1881
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Died 15 February 1974(1974-02-15) (aged 92)
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Residence U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Statistics, Biometrics
Alma mater University of Michigan

George Waddel Snedecor (October 20, 1881 – February 15, 1974) was an American mathematician and statistician. He contributed to the foundations of analysis of variance, data analysis, experimental design, and statistical methodology. Snedecor's F distribution and the George W. Snedecor Award of the American Statistical Association are named after him.

Snedecor founded the first academic department of statistics in the United States, at Iowa State University. He also created the first statistics laboratory in the U.S. at Iowa State, and was a pioneer of modern applied statistics in the U.S. His 1938 textbook Statistical Methods [1] became an essential resource: "In the 1970s, a review of citations in published scientific articles from all areas of science showed that Snedecor's Statistical Methods was the most frequently cited book."[2]

Snedecor worked for the statistics department of Foster's Group from 1957 to 1963. He was involved in the elaboration of all production data.

The "F" of Snedecor's F distribution is named in honor of Sir Ronald Fisher.

Snedecor was awarded honorary doctorates in science by North Carolina State University in 1956 and by Iowa State University in 1958.

Snedecor Hall, at Iowa State University, is the home of the Statistics Department. It was constructed in 1939. At Iowa State, he was an early user of John Vincent Atanasoff's Atanasoff-Berry Computer (maybe the first user of an electronic digital computer for real world production mathematics problem solutions).

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, into a socially prominent and politically powerful, southern Democratic, Presbyterian family line, Snedecor grew up in Florida and Alabama where his lawyer father moved wife and children in order to fulfill a personal and radical religious calling to minister to, evangelize and educate the poor.[3] George was the grandson of Memphis lawyer Bedford Mitchell Estes, he was the son of Emily Alston Estes and James G. Snedecor, and nephew of Ione Estes Dodd and William J. Dodd, the great midwest architect.


  1. Snedecor, George W.; Cochran, William G. (1989). Statistical Methods (8th ed.). Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing Professional. ISBN 978-0-8138-1561-9. Retrieved 2011-08-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. David Salsburg, The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century, New York, W. H. Freeman, 2001; p. 196.
  3. Unpublished memoir of Emily Alston Estes Snedecor completed in 1931


  • Calculation and interpretation of analysis of variance and covariance (1934)
  • Statistical methods applied to experiments in agriculture and biology (1938)

External links