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William Madow, sampling theory expert, dies at 80

William Gregory Madow, former consulting professor in the department of statistics at Stanford University, died Feb. 11 of heart ailments at his home in Palo Alto. He was 80.

Madow grew up in New York and was educated at Columbia University, receiving an A.B. in 1932, an M.A. in 1933 and a doctorate in mathematics in 1938. He had a distinguished career in the government, where he was a specialist in sampling methodology. His jointly written books in this area are the definitive works in the field; many of the current procedures and surveys at the Census Bureau are due, in part, to his efforts during the early 1940s.

"It is hard to imagine the state of sample surveys without his pioneering efforts," said Ingram Olkin, Stanford professor of statistics.

Madow was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina and the University of Illinois before coming to California in 1957 to join the research staff of SRI. From 1957 to 1975, he held a consulting professorship in the department of statistics at Stanford.

Madow married Lillian Hunvald in 1942. They collaborated on the fundamental theory of systematic sampling while both worked at the Bureau of the Census.

Survivors are his wife, Lillian, and a sister, Blanche Austern of Florida.

There will be a memorial service at 4 p.m. Friday, April 3, at Tresidder Union, Room Oak East.



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