David Harold Blackwell
(April 24, 1919 – July 8, 2010) was Professor Emeritus of Statistics
at the University of California, Berkeley
, and is one of the eponyms of the Rao–Blackwell theorem
. Born in Centralia
, he was the first African American
inducted into the National Academy of Sciences
, and the first black tenured faculty member at UC Berkeley.
In 1935, aged 16, Blackwell entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
with the modest intent to teach elementary school mathematics. In 1938 he earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics, a master's degree in 1939, and was awarded a Ph.D.
in mathematics in 1941 at the age of 22, all by the University of Illinois.
He did a year of post-doctoral studies as a fellow at Institute for Advanced Study
. He departed when he was prevented from attending lectures or undertaking research at nearby Princeton University, which the IAS has historically collaborated with in research and scholarship activities.Seeking a permanent position, he wrote letters of application to 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities
; he felt at the time that a black teacher would be limited to teaching only at black colleges.He also sought a position... Read More