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Royal Society of New Zealand elects Shayle Searle, Cornell statistics professor, honorary fellow

The Royal Society of New Zealand has elected Shayle R. Searle, Cornell University professor emeritus of biometrics, an honorary fellow. The Royal Society is the counter part of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

The Royal Society bestows the fellowship on scientists who have "contributed significantly and with excellence to New Zealand science."

"Professor Searle is a world leader in the demanding field of linear and mixed models in statistics," noted the nomination support statement written by society fellows Alastair Scott, George Seber, Bryan Manly and David Vere-Jones. "[His] early and continuing interests in translating applied problems into solvable mathematical and statistical ones has been arguably his greatest contribution to the field. In short, he has made a career out of proving that 'applied mathematical statistics' is, in fact, not an oxymoron but a valuable subfield of statistics."

Born in New Zealand, Searle earned a bachelor's degree (1949) and a master's degree (1950) from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. After working for an actuary, Searle went to Cambridge University where he earned a diploma in mathematical statistics in 1953.

Searle won a Fulbright travel award to Cornell, where he earned a doctorate in animal breeding, with a strong minor in statistics in 1959, studying under Cornell Professor Charles Henderson. In 1962, Cornell invited Searle to work in the university's computing center, and he soon joined the faculty as an assistant professor of biological statistics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1965, and became a professor in 1970. Searle has been a professor of biological statistics, and also has been a visiting professor at Texas A&M University, Florida State University, Universitat Augsburg and the University of Auckland. Searle has published several statistics textbooks and has authored more than 165 invited papers.

Searle also is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society, and he is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He also has received the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award.

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