Author
Herbert Robbins
American mathematician
wd:Q951395
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 coauthor, 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 wellknown 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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