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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Data award named for statistician Bob Schmitt

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

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Bob Schmitt

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Bob Schmitt, Hawai'i's premier statistician, was considered a human encyclopedia.

His passing on Nov. 11, 2006, was felt throughout the statistics community, which doesn't want the retired state statistician to be forgotten.

This year the Hawai'i Chapter of the American Statistical Association established the Bob Schmitt Memorial Award for Outstanding Statistical Leadership. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 31.

In addition to creating the State of Hawaii Data Book, which has been published annually for more than 30 years, Schmitt wrote more than 200 articles published in professional and technical journals.

He also wrote five books, including "Firsts and Almost Firsts in Hawai'i" (UH Press, 1995).

"While Bob was beloved for being a voluble cornucopia of obscure facts about our state, he was most appreciated for fathering and mothering the Hawaii Data Book, which makes essential data about all major facets of life here in the Islands available to all," said Ralph Earle, secretary/treasurer of the local chapter.

This award was created in his memory and will recognize outstanding contributions to statistics in Hawai'i and carry on the spirit of Schmitt's work.

"(We) can't hope to foster another Bob Schmitt," Earle said. "But by this award, we can encourage others to enable our leaders, public and private, to base important decisions on solid data shared with everyone."

Applicants for the Bob Schmitt Memorial Award must demonstrate significant contributions to statistics in Hawai'i, including improved data accessibility and usage, substantial and sustained impact on data sharing, successful advocacy for appropriate and effective use of statistics, and inspired respect for data and the effective use of statistical reasoning.

The winner will receive a koa bowl and cash honorarium. For more information, contact Tammy Tom at 944-1662 or tammy_m_tom@yahoo.com.

Reach Catherine E. Toth at ctoth@honoluluadvertiser.com.