Herbert Robbins

American mathematician

1915   -   2001

country of citizenship: United States of America
educated at: Harvard University
occupation: mathematician, statistician, university teacher
award received: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
student of: Hassler Whitney

Herbert Ellis Robbins (January 12, 1915 – February 12, 2001) was an American mathematician and statistician. He did research in topology, measure theory, statistics, and a variety of other fields. He was the co-author, with Richard Courant, of What is Mathematics?, a popularization that is still (as of 2012) in print. The Robbins lemma, used in empirical Bayes methods, is named after him. Robbins algebras are named after him because of a conjecture (since proved) that he posed concerning Boolean algebras. The Robbins theorem, in graph theory, is also named after him, as is the Whitney–Robbins synthesis, a tool he introduced to prove this theorem. The well-known unsolved problem of minimizing in sequential selection the expected rank of the selected item under full information, sometimes referred to as the fourth secretary problem, also bears his name: Robbins' problem (of optimal stopping).
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