Peter Gavin Hall, 1951-2016

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

It is with much regret that we announce the death of Professor Peter Hall, Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Melbourne and RSS Honorary Fellow, who passed away on 9 January 2016.

Over the past 35 years, Peter Hall made an immense contribution to statistics and was well-known for his prolific output. He had more than 50 papers published in each of the Royal Statistical Society Series B Journal and Biometrika and 100 papers in the Annals of Statistics.

Peter was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000, an Officer of the Order of Australia (2013) and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (2013). He served as president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and was a strong advocate for the discipline. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the RSS in 1989 and in 2011 he was awarded the Society's Guy Medal in Silver.

After completing his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Sir John Kingman, Peter Hall spent the majority of his career at the Australian National University in Canberra, before moving to the University of Melbourne in 2006. While much of his early work was in probability, he later made significant contributions in other areas of statistics, including nonparametric density estimation, regression and classification, extreme value theory, deconvolution and measurement error problems, nonparametric inference for mixture distributions, functional data analysis, empirical likelihood and the bootstrap. 

RSS President Peter Diggle first met Hall in 1980 when he visited the Australian National University from the University of Newcastle. 'Peter’s enthusiasm, energy and warmth were immediately evident,' he recalls. 'Through my later years working in Australia, I got to know him not only as a friend but also as a research colleague. His intellectual productivity was legendary.'

Paying tribute to Peter Hall's prolific output, Peter Diggle adds: 'Frankly, it was difficult to spend more than a few hours in statistical conversation with him without finding, a few days later, a draft co-authored paper in your in-tray. Another great and sadly departed Australian statistician, Ted Hannan, once told me that when working with Peter Hall you usually had to do much less than half the work, but you had to do it “bloody quickly"'.

A full obituary will be published in the Series A Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in due course.