New theatre to honour Professor Evan Williams

May 14 / 135

Professor Chris Lloyd at the opening of the Evan Williams Lecture Theatre.
Professor Chris Lloyd at the opening of the Evan Williams Lecture Theatre.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has opened a new lecture theatre, named in honour of Professor Evan Williams.

The lecture theatre, located on the ground floor of the Richard Berry building, is a dedicated teaching space for mathematics and statistics Masters students. 

Professor Richard Huggins, Deputy Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said the naming recognised Professor Williams’ long service at the University and his contributions to the field of statistics.

“Evan played a central role in the development of modern statistics in Australia and in the education of a generation of statisticians,” he said.

“His attitude that practitioners of statistics should have a thorough grounding in mathematics and statistical theory, as well as being able to develop their solutions to the point of practical application, still influences the development of statistics here.”

Professor Williams was Head of the Department of Statistics at the University from 1964 to 1982, having worked as Senior Principal Research Officer with the CSIRO Division of Mathematical Statistics since 1960.

He was president of the Central Council of the Statistical Society of Australia and served two terms as president of the Victorian Branch of the society. 

He was awarded the Pitman Medal in 1993 in recognition of his contributions to statistics over 50 years.

Professor of Business Statistics at Melbourne Business School Chris Lloyd studied for his PhD under Professor Williams, and praised his instinctive approach to statistics. 

“In class, he punctuated his theorems and proofs with ‘intuitive comments’ to clarify the meaning, without which the symbols do not take on any life,” he said. 

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