Open Access
May 2023 Conversations with Gábor J. Székely
Yulia R. Gel, Edsel A. Peña, Huixia Judy Wang
Author Affiliations +
Statist. Sci. 38(2): 355-367 (May 2023). DOI: 10.1214/22-STS873


Gábor J. Székely was born in Budapest, Hungary on February 4, 1947. He graduated from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) with an M.S. degree in 1970, and a Ph.D. degree in 1971. He received his Candidate Degree from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1976, and the Doctor of Science Degree (D. Sc.) from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1986. Székely joined the Department of Probability Theory of ELTE in 1970. In 1989, he became the founding chair of the Department of Stochastics of the Budapest Institute of Technology (Technical University of Budapest). In 1995, he moved to the United States as a tenured full professor at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, Ohio. Before that, in 1990–1991, he was the first Lukacs Distinguished Professor at BGSU. Székely had several visiting positions, for example, at the University of Amsterdam in 1977 and at Yale University in 1989. Between 2006 and 2022, he served as a Program Director in the Statistics Program of the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation. Székely has about 250 publications, including 6 books in several languages. In 1988, he received the Rollo Davidson Prize from Cambridge University, jointly with Imre Z. Ruzsa for their work on algebraic probability theory. In 2010, Székely became an Elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics mostly for his works dealing with physics concepts in statistics like energy statistics and distance correlation. He had the fortune to know and work with world-class mathematicians and statisticians like (in chronological order of their first meetings): P. Erdős, A. Rényi, Y. Linnik, B. de Finetti, A. N. Kolmogorov, H. Robbins, G. Pólya, L. Shepp, G. Wahba, C. R. Rao, B. Efron, P. Bickel and E. Seneta.


Yulia R. Gel, Edsel A. Peña and Huixia (Judy) Wang were then Rotating Program Directors in the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) when the interviews were conducted. As such, part of this material is also based upon work supported by (while serving at) the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation and/or the Office of Naval Research.


Download Citation

Yulia R. Gel. Edsel A. Peña. Huixia Judy Wang. "Conversations with Gábor J. Székely." Statist. Sci. 38 (2) 355 - 367, May 2023.


Published: May 2023
First available in Project Euclid: 6 February 2023

MathSciNet: MR4596763
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/22-STS873

Keywords: Distance correlation , energy of data , Lukacs Professorship , negative probability , uncertainty principle of games

Rights: Copyright © 2023 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.38 • No. 2 • May 2023
Back to Top