I. W. Burr - Department of Statistics - Purdue University Skip to main content

I. W. Burr


Professor Irving Wingate Burr (1908-1989) was born in Fallon, Nevada in 1908.

Burr received his B.S. from Antioch College in 1930 and his M.S. from the University of Chicago in 1935. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1941.

He began as an instructor at Antioch College in 1930 and left there in 1941 as the department chair. He joined Purdue University as Assistant Professor in 1941. He became Associate Professor in 1945 and Professor in 1949. His work included consulting in industry with many firms and teaching in over 100 intensive short courses in statistical methods and quality control for industrial clients. He was the chair of the Department of Statistics from 1962 to 1964 and acting chair for the department between 1968 to 1969. He was a frequent speaker at statistical meetings through the years.

Burr belonged to many associations during his career. He was Fellow of the American Society for Quality Control, where he was also editor of the monthly Industrial Quality Control from 1961 to 1965. He was on the standards committee and was President of the Indianapolis chapter from 1949 to 1950. As Fellow of the American Statistical Association he was member of the joint committee which established the quarterly journal Technometrics, including work as the chair of the Section on Physical and Engineering Science. He was also member of the Indiana Academy of Science, the International Association for Statistics in Physical Sciences, the Biometrics Society, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Ornithological Union. He was the President of the Indiana Audubon Society from 1961 to 1962.

He received the Brumbaugh Award for the American Society for Quality Control in 1950, the Shewart Medal of American Society for Quality Control in 1959 and the Edward J. Oakley Citation of the Midwest Conference Board of the American Society for Quality Control in 1971. He was President of the Society of the Sigma Xi, Purdue Chapter from 1955 to 1961.

Burr's research interests included quality control, non-normality, order statistics and distributions. He authored "Engineering Statistics and Quality Control", in 1953.

Among the names of Burr's Ph.D. students one will find M.A. Hatke, M.M. Lemme, F.C. Leone, P. Irick, O.B. Moan, John Hamblen, W. J. Zimmer, Louis A. Foster, and Richard E. James.

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