Sir David Cox Legacy

Sir David Cox has left us an immense heritage with his pioneering work in the field of statistics, both in terms of methods and applied research.

Having a special interest in survival analysis, I studied his paper on the “Cox Model” which was published 50 years ago. I regret never had the chance to fully discuss this paper with him personally, but I was fortunate to be able to do so with two key statisticians who had written commentaries, Richard Peto, during my stay in Oxford in 1983 and Norman Breslow, during my stay in Seattle in 1990. Such a challenging and seminal paper!

The reason I am sending this message to the IBS Community is because I had the chance and the honor to personally interview him during the International Biometric Conference, organized by the Italian Region in Florence in July 2014.

I recall very well how nervous I was to approach him and ask questions, who for me was a legend. I must confess he not only graciously accepted to be interviewed for 40 minutes, but his kindness and humility made it easier for me to go over some of the controversial issues, even today debated in statistics, on which he brilliantly unveiled his views and personal “statistical thinking”.

During the Conference, Sir David Cox was very enthusiastic, especially in meeting the younger participants, discussing with them their presentations and posters. And he was very gracious to me, leaving me with this beautiful present you can appreciate in the video below

His legacy in the academic and statistical world will live on.

Maria Grazia Valsecchi

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

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