David Cox (statistician)

David Cox

Born 15 July 1924 (1924-07-15) (age 87)
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
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 medals in silver and gold
Kettering Prize
Copley Medal

Sir David Roxbee Cox FRS (b.1924 Birmingham, England) is a prominent British statistician.



Early years

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.[1]


He was employed from 1944 to 1946 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, from 1946 to 1950 at the Wool Industries Research Association in Leeds, 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 become 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.

Cox has received numerous honorary doctorates. 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 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." It is given for "outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science, and alternates between the physical sciences and the biological sciences". Awarded every year, the medal is the oldest Royal Society medal still being awarded, having first been given in 1731.

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 now an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College and 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. 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.


Sir David 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:

  • Planning of experiments (1958)
  • Queues (Methuen, 1961). With Walter L. Smith
  • The theory of stochastic processes (1965). With Hilton David Miller
  • Analysis of binary data (1969). With Joyce E. Snell
  • Theoretical statistics (1974). With D. V. Hinkley
  • Point processes (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1980). With Valerie Isham
  • Applied statistics, principles and examples (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1981). With Joyce E. Snell
  • Analysis of survival data (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1984). With David Oakes
  • Asymptotic techniques for use in statistics. (1989) With Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen
  • Inference and asymptotics (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1994). With Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen
  • Multivariate dependencies, models, analysis and interpretation (Chapman & Hall, 1995). With Nanny Wermuth
  • The theory of design of experiments. (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2000). With Nancy M. Reid.
  • Complex stochastic systems (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2000). With Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen and Claudia Klüppelberg
  • Components of variance (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2003). With P. J. Solomon
  • Principles of Statistical Inference (Cambridge University Press, 2006). ISBN 978-0-521-68567-2
  • Selected Statistical Papers of Sir David Cox 2 Volume Set
  • Principles of Applied Statistics (CUP) With Christl A. Donnelly

He is an named editor of the following books

  • Time series models in econometrics, finance and others (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1996). With D. V. Hinkley and Ole E. Barndorff-Nielsen (editors)
  • D. M. Titterington and D. R. Cox, ed (2001). Biometrika: One Hundred Years. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850993-6. 
  • The collected works of John Tukey (Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1992). Editor.

The following book was published in his honour.

See also


External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Claus Moser
President of the Royal Statistical Society
Succeeded by
Peter Armitage

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