This Day in History: 1919-04-24

David Harold Blackwell, an American statistician and mathematician who made significant contributions to game theory, probability theory, information theory, and Bayesian statistics, is born to working class parents in Centralia, Illinois. He is one of the eponyms of the Rao–Blackwell theorem. He was the first African American inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, the first black tenured faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, and the seventh African American to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Blackwell was also a pioneer in textbook writing. He wrote one of the first Bayesian textbooks, his 1969 Basic Statistics. By the time he retired, he had published over 90 books and papers on dynamic programming, game theory, and mathematical statistics. Learn more.