Statistical politicians


Last week we had the pleasure of Professor Stephen Pollock (University of Leicester) visiting our Department, best known in academic circles for his work on time series filtering (see his papers, and his excellent book). But he has another career as a member of the UK House of Lords (under the name Viscount Hanworth – he is a hereditary peer).

It made me wonder how many other politicians have PhDs (or equivalent) in statistics, or at least in mathematics. I realise that a lot of mathematicians before the 20th century were often involved in politics, in one way or another, especially in France. Also, the notion of a PhD is a relatively recent invention. But if we restrict the time to 1950 onwards, there must be quite a few politicians with doctorates in the mathematical sciences.

I could not locate any other statistical politicians, but a quick web search surfaced the following mathematicians:

  • Alexander Lubotzky, PhD in mathematics, Bar-Ilan University. Member of the Israeli Knesset, 1996-1999.

  • Ahmed Chalabi, PhD in mathematics from the University of Chicago. Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, 2005-2006.

  • Faustin-Archange Touadéra, Mathematics doctorat, Lille University of Science and Technology, France, & University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon. Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, 2008-2013.

  • Sergio Fajardo, PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Governor of Antioquia, 2012-present.

  • Daniel Biss, PhD in mathematics from MIT. Member of the Illinois Senate since 2013. I’m sure there are many more, especially before 1996. Please add to the list in the comments.

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