Tom Leonard - The Life of a Bayesian Boy    

J.H. Morrison   D.P.Y. Palmer   R. Griffith-Jones   T. Leonard   C.J. Ing   D. Shield

During my first year in South Kensington, I found the Pure and Applied Maths courses extremely difficult to assimilate, and I donít think that this was entirely my fault. For example, we were taught convergence and continuity by a bird-like lecturer who muttered to the blackboard in a huge hall in the Huxley Building.

         Professor David Coxís course in Statistics was however quite inspiring. By the time I graduated, he and his colleagues were to give me a solid grounding in classical Fisherian/ Frequentist statistics that provided a basis for my entire career. Indeed, I still regard myself as a Fisherian at heart, despite the influences of the Bayesianism that was forced upon me in 1970 when I needed an S.R.C. grant to study for my Ph.D.

My second year was a disaster , and my personal tutor advised me to go into school teaching. After over-focussing on chess, beer and women, and taking time out to track Manchester Unitedís remarkable success in the European Cup (Best, Law and Charlton!), I flunked out with an average mark of 25% and a zero in Statistics. I was fortunately able to repeat and, with the encouragement of my very determined wife (a student in Russian at the School of Slavonic Studies on Russell Square and later a lecturer in economics at the University of Wolverhampton), I achieved two alphas, a beta and a gamma in the Summer of 1969.

[One of my daughters was to achieve a Masters in Economics at the University of Warwick, with a specialism in Econometrics, while another graduated in medicine from Leeds.]

During my final year, Dr. Anne Mitchell took me under her wing, and I greatly benefited from her unflagging support while focussing on courses in Statistics and O.R., measure theory from the indomitable Mrs. Dowker (whoíd studied at the feet of Kolmogorov) and mathematical probability from Ron Doney. I learnt about applied statistics from an affable visiting Australian from Flinders called Jim Douglas, and Experimental Design from Agnes Herzberg, though I didnít understand confounding.

[See item 7 of CDC section for descriptions of my undergraduate vacation work with Clerical and Medical (1969) and the Metal Box Company(1970)]

Tom (right) aged 21 with his brother (aged 22) and his sister-in-law
pictured at Tom's wedding in March 1969


  © Thomas Hoskyns Leonard, 2012 - 2013