Herman Chernoff

Herman Chernoff

Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics

Office: off-campus


Statistics, Probability


Herman Chernoff joined the MIT Mathematics Faculty in 1974, following a faculty appointment in the Statistics Department at Stanford University (Dept Head 1972-73). He left MIT in 1985 to join the Statistics Faculty at Harvard University, from where he retired in 1997.

Chernoff received a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Brown University in 1948 under the supervision of Abraham Wald (at Columbia University). He completed a BS degree in mathematics (minor in physics) at City College of New York in 1943, and an MSc in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 1945. He joined the statistics faculty at Stanford University in 1952 (Professor in 1956).

In 1972 Professor Chernoff produced a 120-page monograph entitled, Sequential Analysis and Optimal Design, re-presenting much of his research over prior years with additional references, providing an unifying treatment on the latest developments of a wide variety of subjects in mathematical statistics.

Professor Chernoff's service to the academic community in both research and education has been extensive. For various periods he served on the Editorial Boards of the Annals of Mathematical Statistics, the SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics, the Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, and Sequential Analysis. He was a member of the Mathematics Advisory Panel of the National Science Foundation from 1962-65, and served on the Council of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics 1960-63, 70-73 & 80-82. (From 1967-68 he was President.) He also served extensively on research committees of the National Research Council, as well as on the Statistics Visiting Committees of both Harvard and Stanford Universities.

Professor Chernoff received honorary doctorates from Ohio State University, The Technion, the University of Athens and the University of Rome (La Sapienza). He is a recipient of the Townsend Harris Medal and the Samuel S. Wilks Medal. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the International Statistical Institute. He was also Fellow of the Association of Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.