Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (17 February 1890 – 29 July 1962) was a British statistician and geneticist, who is considered “the single most important figure in 20th century statistics.”
He is responsible for, popularized, or is credited with the following statistical techniques:
- Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) – technique developed from decades of crop experiment to quantify the statistical significance of factors on the overall variation in the data.
- P-value – Fisher popularized the concept, and proposed the level p=0.05, or a 1 in 20 chance of being exceeded by chance, as a limit for statistical significance.
- Design of experiments (DOE) – principles of the design of experiments
- F-distribution – Originally called Fisher’s z-distribution, it was a new statistical method which was later called the Fisher–Snedecor (F) distribution.
- Fisher’s exact test – statistical significance test used in the analysis of a 2×2 contingency tables
- Student’s t-distribution – popularized the distribution for small samples, and called it “Student’s distribution” and represented the test value with the letter t.
- Fisher’s permutation test
- Fisher’s equation – Also known as Kolmogorov-Petrovsky–Piskunov equation for partial differentials
The R. A. Fisher Lectureship is a very high recognition annual lecture prize established in 1963 in North America. It is given in recognition of achievement and scholarship in statistical science for those who have a highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations. It provides the lecturer with a plaque and a cash award of $1000 USD.
In 1998, a minor planet, 21451 Fisher, was named after him.
- Charles Darwin