David Cox (statistician)

David Cox

Cox in 1980
Born (1924-07-15) 15 July 1924
Birmingham, England
Citizenship United Kingdom
Fields Statistics
Institutions Royal Aircraft Establishment
Wool Industries Research Association
University of Cambridge
Birkbeck College, London
Imperial College, London
Nuffield College, Oxford
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
University of Leeds
Doctoral advisor Henry Daniels and Bernard Welch
Doctoral students David Hinkley
Peter McCullagh
Basilio de Bragança Pereira
Walter L. Smith
Gauss Moutinho Cordeiro
Valerie Isham
Henry Wynn
Known for Cox proportional hazards model
Stochastic processes
Design of experiments
Analysis of binary data
Notable awards Knight Bachelor
Fellow of the Royal Society
Guy Medal (Silver, 1961) (Gold, 1973)
George Box Medal (2005)
Copley medal (2010)
International Prize in Statistics (2016)

Sir David Roxbee Cox FRS FBA (born 15 July 1924) is a prominent British statistician.

Early life and education

Cox was born in Birmingham. His father was a die sinker and part-owner of a jewellery shop, and they lived near the Jewellery Quarter. He attended Handsworth Grammar School.[1] Cox studied mathematics at St John's College, Cambridge and obtained his PhD from the University of Leeds in 1949, advised by Henry Daniels and Bernard Welch.[2]


He was employed from 1944 to 1946 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, from 1946 to 1950 at the Wool Industries Research Association in Leeds,[3] and from 1950 to 1956 worked at the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. From 1956 to 1966 he was Reader and then Professor of Statistics at Birkbeck College, London. In 1966, he took up the Chair position in Statistics at Imperial College London where he later became head of the mathematics department. In 1988 he became Warden of Nuffield College and a member of the Department of Statistics at Oxford University. He formally retired from these positions in 1994.[3]

Cox has received numerous honorary doctorates, including from Heriot-Watt University in 1987.[4] He has been awarded the Guy Medals in Silver (1961) and Gold (1973) of the Royal Statistical Society. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1973, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1985[5] and became an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy in 2000. He is a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. In 1990, he won the Kettering Prize and Gold Medal for Cancer Research for "the development of the Proportional Hazard Regression Model." In 2010 he was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society "for his seminal contributions to the theory and applications of statistics."[6] He is also the first ever recipient of the International Prize in Statistics.[7]

He has supervised, collaborated with, and encouraged many younger researchers now prominent in statistics. He has served as President of the Bernoulli Society, of the Royal Statistical Society, and of the International Statistical Institute. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College and St John's College, Cambridge, and is a member of the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford.

He has made pioneering and important contributions to numerous areas of statistics and applied probability, of which the best known is perhaps the proportional hazards model, which is widely used in the analysis of survival data.[3] An example is survival times in medical research that can be related to information about the patients such as age, diet or exposure to certain chemical substances. The Cox process was named after him.

Personal life

In 1947 he married Joyce Drummond and they have four children and two grandchildren.


Cox has written or co-authored 300 papers and books. From 1966 to 1991 he was the editor of Biometrika. His books are as follows:

He is a named editor of the following books

The following book was published in his honour.

See also


  1. "Pioneer detail: David Cox". UK Data Service. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  2. entry at Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. 1 2 3 Gregersen, Erik (13 February 2015). "Sir David Cox, British statistician". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  4. webperson@hw.ac.uk. "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". www1.hw.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 50221. p. 10815. 6 August 1985.
  6. "David Cox". The Royal Society. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  7. Talley, Jill (19 October 2016). "International Prize in Statistics Awarded to Sir David Cox for Survival Analysis Model Applied in Medicine, Science, and Engineering" (PDF) (Press release). American Statistical Association. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
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Academic offices
Preceded by
Michael Brock
Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Atkinson
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