Leo Goodman, Who Transformed Sociology With Stats, Dies at 92

Leo Goodman, Who Transformed Sociology With Stats, Dies at 92

It is part of a series about people who died in the obesity coronovirus epidemic. Read about others Here.

Leo A. until the early 1950s. Goodman did not begin his work on statistics until then social science researchers had a problem. It was fairly easy to determine the relationship between two numerical measurements – say, how height is related to income levels. But what about non-generic categories like race and occupation?

Like physics, statistical methods were available from the natural sciences, but they were crude and impenetrable when applied to population data. At the same time, America after America was seeing an upsurge in all kinds of statistics: census research, public surveys, marketing surveys, and mountains of information from millions of people who served in World War II.

It was a gold mine for sociologists, and Professor Goodman gave them the tools to dig into it.

He arrived at the University of Chicago in 1950 as a 22-year-old assistant professor of sociology and statistics and almost immediately began churning out historical papers that revolutionized his two fields. During his nearly 70-year career – he did not retire until 2017, when he was 89 – he developed the framework not only for analyzing the vast set of hierarchical data, but to show the relationships between those categories Statistical tool.

His work had an immediate and lasting impact on the study of subjects such as poverty and social mobility. And as sophisticated quantitative analysis moved into other fields, so did their methods: Today their influence can be felt in specific areas such as management studies and computer science, where some of their statistical modeling tools can be applied to machine learning. Used to be.

Professor Goodman died on December 22 in a hospital in Berkeley, California. He was 92 years old. The reason for this was the complications of Kovid-19, his son Andy said.

“Leo analyzed hierarchical data,” said Yu X, a sociologist at Princeton. “He was a genius.”

Leo Aria Goodman was born on August 7, 1928 in Brooklyn. His parents, Abraham Goodman and Mollie (Sachs) Goodman, were Ukrainian Jews living in the Borough Park neighborhood, where Leo grew up. His father worked for his mother’s father, who owned a textile factory in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

He was only 16 when he graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan; Four years later he was the valedictorian of his class at Syracuse University, where he studied mathematics and sociology. It took him just two years to complete his doctorate in mathematics at Princeton.

Perhaps going against the personality type for a math prodigy, Professor Goodman was outgoing and edgy to become friends: at the University of Chicago, he became close with the novelist. Saul said And sociologist David russmanAn author ofLonely crowd. “

She married children’s book writer Ann David in 1960, just before transferring to the University of Cambridge, England, where Professor Goodman had a fellowship. There Ms. Goodman reunites with her Smith College roommate, the poet Sylvia plath, Who pounced on her friend’s new husband.

“I can’t tell you how much he influenced us,” she wrote in a letter to Ms. Goodman. “So brilliant, kind, versatile and so beautiful. One match, one match.”

A few months later, Goodman became the deity for Ms. Plath’s first child, Frida Hughes.

He and his wife later divorced. In addition to his son, he is survived by another son, Tom; His sister, Janice Towers; And five grandchildren.

Professor Goodman did his early work with a mathematician at William University, University of Chicago. Three of the analytical tools they developed, and which bear their names – Goodman-Kruskal Lambda, Gamma, and Tau – are still widely used in statistical software.

He moved to the University of California at Berkeley in 1986, a few years after developing a rare form of cancer. His doctors wanted to dissect his legs, but he dug into medical literature and discovered that chemotherapy and new forms of therapy could save him.

Although doctors eventually removed three of his four quadriceps, he barely limped after years of physical therapy. When colleagues would pass him on campus and ask how he was, he would answer, “Not good” – after a defeat, “Fantastic!”



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