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George Udny Yule

1871 - 1951

Pioneering statistician. Born in Morham (East Lothian), Yule was the son of an administrator of colonial India. The family moved to London and Yule was educated at Winchester College and University College London, where he studied engineering. By the early 1890s, Yule had developed interests in statistics and began to work on correlation and regression, writing a series of landmark papers.

Yule was appointed Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics at University College in 1896, but became Secretary to the City and Guilds Examination Board in 1899, although his research output continued undiminished. He moved to the University of Cambridge in 1912 and remained there until his retirement in 1922.

His publications include On the Theory of Correlation (1897) and the noted Introduction to the Theory of Statistics (1911, with multiple succeeding editions). He also wrote papers which applied statistics to fields in the social sciences, epidemiology, agriculture and textual analysis.

Yule took a major role in the Royal Statistical Society, serving as its Secretary (1907-19) and President (1924-26) and was awarded their prestigious Guy Medal in Gold (1911). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1922 and was also recognised by the award of a CBE. He died in a nursing home in Cambridge.

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