Adrian Smith (statistician)

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Adrian Smith
Born Adrian Frederick Melhuish Smith
1946 (age 71–72)
Dawlish, England[1]
Residence UK
Nationality UK
Alma mater University of Cambridge
University College London
Awards Guy Medal (Bronze, 1977) (Silver, 1993) (Gold, 2016)
Scientific career
Fields Statistics
Institutions Imperial College London
Queen Mary, University of London
Doctoral advisor Dennis Lindley[2]
Doctoral students David Spiegelhalter

Sir Adrian Frederick Melhuish Smith, FRS (born 1946) is a distinguished British statistician and was Principal of Queen Mary, University of London from 1998 to 2008.

From 1977 until 1990, he was Professor of Statistics and Head of Department of Mathematics at the University of Nottingham. He was previously at Imperial College, London, where he was head of the mathematics department. Smith is a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of London and became Vice-Chancellor of the university on 1 September 2012.[3]

Smith is a member of the governing body of the London Business School. He served on the Advisory Council for the Office for National Statistics from 1996–1998, was Statistical Advisor to the Nuclear Waste Inspectorate from 1991–1998 and was advisor on Operational Analysis to the Ministry of Defence from 1982–1987.

He is a former President of the Royal Statistical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. His FRS citation included "his diverse contributions to Bayesian statistics. His monographs are the most comprehensive available and his work has had a major impact on the development of monitoring tools for clinicians."

In statistical theory, Smith is a proponent of Bayesian statistics and evidence-based practice—a general extension of evidence-based medicine into all areas of public policy. With Antonio Machi, he translated Bruno de Finetti's Theory of Probability into English. He wrote an influential paper in 1990 along with Alan E. Gelfand, which drew attention to the significance of the Gibbs sampler technique for Bayesian numerical integration problems. He was also co-author of the seminal paper on the particle filter (Gordon, Salmond and Smith, 1993). Smith was educated at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and University College London where his PhD supervisor was Dennis Lindley.

In mathematics and statistics education, Smith led the team which produced the Smith Report on secondary mathematics education in the United Kingdom.

In April 2008, Smith was appointed as Director General of Science and Research at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (since merged with another department to form the UK's BIS). He took up his post in September 2008. His annual remuneration for this role is £160,000.[4]

Smith was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours.[5]

Honorary doctorates

In 2011, Smith was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Plymouth University and in 2015, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from The Ohio State University.


  • Gelfand, A. E.; Smith, A. F. M. (1990). "Sampling-Based Approaches to Calculating Marginal Densities". Journal of the American Statistical Association. 85 (410): 398–409. doi:10.2307/2289776.
  • N.J. Gordon, D.J. Salmond, and A.F.M. Smith. "Novel Approach to Nonlinear/Non-Gaussian Bayesian State Estimation." IEE Proceedings-F, 140, 107–113, 1993.
  • Smith, Adrian (2004). Making Mathematics Count: The Report of Professor Adrian Smith's Inquiry into Post-14 Mathematics Education. London, England: The Stationery Office.

See also


  1. ^ Upton, Graham; Cook, Ian. "Adrian Smith". A Dictionary of Statistics. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Adrian Smith at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "New Vice-Chancellor of the University of London". IQuad. Royal Holloway, University of London. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Top civil servant salary list published". Directgov. 1 June 2010. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  5. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 1.

External links

  • Making Mathematics Count (Smith report)
  • There is a photograph at "Adrian F M Smith" on the Portraits of Statisticians page
Academic offices
Preceded by
Geoffrey Crossick
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London
Succeeded by
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