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Samuel Kotz (30 August 1930 Harbin, China – 16 March 2010 Silver Spring, Maryland) was a professor and research scholar in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science at The George Washington University since 1997 until his death on March 16, 2010. He was an author or editor of several standard reference works in statistics and probability theory.

Early life

Kotz was born in Harbin, China, to a Jewish family who has left Russia following the Russian Revolution. He moved to Israel in 1949, serving in the Israeli Air Force. Kotz immigrated to the United States in the 1950s and become an American citizen in the 1970s.[1]


Kotz studied electrical engineering at the Harbin Institute of Technology, graduating with honors in 1946. He obtained an M.A. with honors in mathematics in 1956 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in Mathematical Statistics from Cornell University.


In 1964 he joined the University of Toronto as associate professor. He then moved to Temple University, Philadelphia, as a professor of mathematics in 1967 and the University of Maryland, College Park, as a professor in the College of Business and Management in 1979. In 1997 he joined the Operations Research Department at George Washington University. His visiting positions included Bowling Green State University, Bucknell University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and University of Guelph.


Kotz married Raysel Greenwald in 1962. They had their first child, Tamar Kotz, in 1965. Followed by Harold David Kotz in 1966 and Pnina Kotz in 1973. His first two children were born in Toronto, but moved to Philadelphia in 1967.


He and Norman L. Johnson founded the Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences (1982–1999), of which he was editor-in-chief. He was also a co-author of the four-volume Compendium on Statistical Distributions (First Edition 1969–1972, Second Edition 1993–1997).[2] Over the course of his career he authored or co-authored a total of three Russian-English scientific dictionaries, over three dozen volumes/books/monographs in the field of statistics and quality control and over 280 papers.[3]


Kotz was awarded honorary doctorates from Harbin Institute of Technology in 1982, University of Athens in 1995 and Bowling Green State University in 1997. He was a fellow of the American Statistical Association, fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

  • Awarded by the Washington Academy of Sciences in 1998[4]

See also

  • Saralees Nadarajah (2004) A Conversation with Samuel Kotz, Statistical Science, 17, 2, 220–233. [1]


  1. "A. Martin Eiband; Samuel Kotz; Sheau-Ching Luh; Carl Norton; Edward O'Connell; Joe Parks". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  2. Samuel Kotz and Norman L. Johnson, ed (1997). Breakthroughs in statistics, Volume III. Springer Series in Statistics: Perspectives in Statistics. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-94988-7. 

External links

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