Kirstine Smith (April 12, 1878 – November 11, 1939) was a Danish
statistician. She is credited with the creation of the field of
optimal design of experiments.
Smith grew up in the town of Nykøbing Mors, Denmark. In 1903, she
graduated from the
University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen with a degree in
mathematics and physics. After, she worked as secretary to astronomer
and statistician Thorvald Thiele and later with the International
Council for the Exploration of the Sea for which she authored several
volumes on fish populations.
In 1916, Smith was admitted for doctoral training at the University of
Karl Pearson had founded the first university statistics
department. She was a student of Pearson who described her as
“brilliant” in a letter to Ronald Fisher. At London, she
produced an influential paper in the journal
Biometrika on minimum
chi-squared estimation of the correlation coefficient.
Disagreements about aspects of her work led to increased friction
between Pearson and Fisher.
In her dissertation, which was published in 1918 (see below), she
invented optimal design where she computed G-optimal designs for
polynomial regression of order up to 6. After finishing her
doctorate she moved to Copenhagen, where she worked as a researcher
for the Commission for Ocean Research 1918 to 1924 and with Johannes
Schmidt at the
Carlsberg Laboratory from 1920 to 1921. She
eventually left research after obtaining her teaching credentials to
become a high school teacher.
Selected statistical papers
Smith, K. (1916). On the ‘best’ values of the constants in
frequency distributions. Biometrika, 11(3), 262–276.
Smith, K. (1918). On the standard deviations of adjusted and
interpolated values of an observed polynomial function and its
constants and the guidance they give towards a proper choice of the
distribution of observations. Biometrika, 12(1/2), 1–85.
Smith, K. (1922).The standard deviations of fraternal and parental
correlation coefficients. Biometrika, 14(1/2), 1–22.
^ a b Gumpertz, M.L. Thumbnail biography of
Kirstine Smith (Accessed
23 August 2013).
^ a b Crary Group (Accessed 23 August 2013 via Google archive).
Archived 10 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b c d Guttorp, P.; Lindgren, G. (2009). "
Karl Pearson and the
Scandinavian school of statistics". International Statistical Review.
77: 64. doi:10.1111/j.1751-5823.2