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San Antonio Chapter vice president Joel Michalek (left) presented the 2016 Don Owen Award to Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Statistics Clifford H. Spiegelman (right) in recognition of outstanding contributions to research, statistical consultation and service to the statistical community. (Credit: San Antonio Chapter of the American Statistical Association.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Spring traditionally is a time for celebration, and good news certainly has been in the air for Texas A&M University statistician Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman.

Earlier this month, he was recognized by the San Antonio Chapter of the American Statistical Association with the 2016 Don Owen Award for his excellence in research, contributions to editorial activities and service to the statistical community. Spiegelman was presented with the award at the April 8-9 Conference of Texas Statisticians (COTS) at Trinity University and selected by a panel of former Don Owen Award recipients -- which include Texas A&M statisticians James A. Calvin and Jeffrey Hart -- as this year's winner.

Later in the fall, Spiegelman will be honored with a special issue of the journal Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems dedicated to one of the primary pioneering facets of his 40-year career: the application of statistics to chemical data.

Spiegelman, an expert in statistical and environmental forensics, is a founder within statistics of the field of chemometrics, the science of using data to extract information from chemical systems. He joined the Texas A&M Department of Statistics in 1987 as an associate professor, earning promotion to full professor in 1990 and to distinguished professor in 2009. He also is a senior research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Before coming to Texas A&M, he spent nine years in the Statistical Engineering Division at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg.

An active researcher and scholar, Spiegelman has authored more than 100 refereed publications that have appeared in the Annals of Statistics and at least 20 other statistics journals. Together with four others, he created Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, an international journal sponsored by the Chemometrics Society and widely recognized as the top journal in its field.

"Cliff was an editor [of the journal] for 30 years and has recently become our first editor emeritus," said Dr. Philip K. Hopke, director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science at Clarkson University and a member of the journal's editorial board. "We would like to honor his work on bringing statistics to chemical and forensic problems with this issue that will showcase high-quality methods with interesting chemical problems."

With regard to the ASA, Spiegelman has supported the organization's mission through his teaching, research, editorial work and consulting activities. He was instrumental in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) decision to stop using compositional bullet lead analysis after he demonstrated it to be flawed. Spiegelman also routinely testifies in criminal matters related to various aspects of statistics, flawed forensic science, probability and the law -- often in association with the Innocence Project, the national nonprofit legal clinic dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and other post-verdict methods. He is the lead chair for the Statistics and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) 2015-2016 program in forensic science as well as the key statistical advisor to the City of Houston's crime lab.

In addition to the ASA, Spiegelman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) as well as an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). A two-time recipient of the ASA Statistics in Chemistry Award for best paper, he also has received the 2007 Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research recognizing innovation in statistical science.

"I was thrilled to see Cliff selected for the Don Owen Award, which is named in honor of a longtime member of the American Statistical Association and former editor of Communications in Statistics," said Dr. Valen E. Johnson, professor and head of Texas A&M Statistics. "Cliff's service to the profession and his role as co-founder of the journal Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems make him the ideal recipient for this prestigious award."

The Don Owen Award honors the memory of Donald B. Owen, a distinguished professor of statistics at Southern Methodist University who died in 1991. Intended as a tribute to his illustrious career that spanned academia and industry, the award is sponsored by the Taylor and Francis Group and presented annually by the San Antonio Chapter of the ASA to a statistician who embodies Owen's three-fold accomplishments: excellence in research; statistical consultation; and service to the statistical community.

For more information on the American Statistical Association or its awards program, visit http://amstat.org.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237, via e-mail shutchins@tamu.edu or Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman, (979) 845-3141 or cliff@stat.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman

  • Spiegelman is an expert in statistical and environmental forensics as well as a founder within statistics of the field of chemometrics, the science of using data to extract information from chemical systems.

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