David John Finney 1917-2018

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in News

We are very sad to hear about the passing of our former president, Professor David Finney.

David’s achievements in statistics included pioneering the development of systems monitoring drug safety. His reports and papers on the subject have greatly influenced the monitoring system now in place. He worked alongside many notable statisticians of the 20th century, including Ronald Fisher and Frank Yates. His two most widely known books, Probit Analysis (1947) and Statistical Method in Biological Assay (1952), both redefined those subjects.

David helped set up an Agricultural Research Council Unit of Statistics for Scotland in Aberdeen where he helped run national surveys on agricultural practices, moving to Edinburgh in 1966. He worked at the University of Edinburgh until he retired in 1984 but was in great demand elsewhere, serving for many years on Advisory Committees for the FAO and WHO. He also chaired the Flowers Committee 1970-74, helping to determine the way in which computing should develop in UK universities and research councils.

A sabbatical year at Harvard prompted his work on identifying adverse reactions to drugs and he helped found the Adverse Reactions Sub-Committee of the UK Committee on the Safety of Medicines, with which he was involved for more than 30 years.

As well as being President of the RSS (1973-4), David was also a President of the Biometric Society (1964-5), a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) since 1955, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and was awarded a CBE in 1978.

He celebrated his 100th birthday last year which was noted in StatsLife.

A funeral is planned for December, please contact the Society for further details.


Photo courtesy of the University of Edinburgh.


David Finney

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