Susie Bayarri (1956-2014)

Susie Bayarri was born on September 16, 1956 in Valencia, Spain. She studied at the University of Valencia, receiving Masters (1979) and PhD (1984) degrees in mathematics, with a thesis on Bayesian statistics under the direction of José-Miguel Bernardo.

Bayarri started her career in 1978 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research at the University of Valencia, becoming Full Professor in 1998 at Carnegie Mellon University, and remaining at the Valencian university for the rest of her career.

A life dedicated to Bayesian statistics.

Bayarri was one of the most prominent Bayesian statisticians in the world. As one of the few early female Bayesian statisticians, she also served as a role model for many students and younger researchers (male and female).

She major contributions to both the theory and methodology of Bayesian statistics, helping it become the prominent part of the scientific landscape that it is today. Her continuing long-term interests were selection models and weighted distributions; objective Bayesian methods; Bayesian analysis of queueing systems; Bayesian robustness; model criticism and p-values; model uncertainty and multiple comparisons; and calibration and validation of complex computer models.

She was author or editor of five books and nearly 70 scientific research papers, three of which won major awards, including the 2006 Frank Wilcoxon Award and the 2008 Jack Youden Prize. She was also highly active in major interdisciplinary collaborations: recently, she had been working with scientific collaborators to develop a quantitative methodology for assessing the risk associated with catastrophic pyroclastic flows from volcanoes.

Leadership in statistics

Susie Bayarri had major leadership roles, including serving as President of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) in 1998 and Presidenta de la Sociedad Española de Biometría from 2001–03. One of her last leadership roles in Spain was serving as the principal investigator of the Biostatnet project, a web-based collaboration of 180 investigators at universities inside and outside Spain and at biomedical institutions. Susie also served on 13 editorial boards, including being Coordinating Editor of the Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference from 2001–07, and was an organizer of 38 international meetings and conference.

Susie received numerous honors, including being elected Fellow of the ASA in 1997, elected to the International Statistical Institute in 1997, elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) in 2008 and, in a bittersweet ceremony during the World Conference of ISBA in July, 2014, was in the first elected class of ISBA Fellows. 

The Susie Bayarri Lecture, delivered at the ISBA World Meetings by outstanding young researchers under 35 years of age, was established in her honour in 2016 . The lecture is supported by an endowment fund started in November 2014 by Susie’s colleagues and friends, Jim Berger’s family, and the Duke Department of Statistical Science,

References

Berger, J. (2014). Obituary: Susie Bayarri. ISBA Bulletin, 21(3).

https://bayesian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/1409.pdf

Institute of Mathematical Statistics (2014). Obituary: Susie Bayarri, 1956–2014.

https://imstat.org/2014/10/01/obituary-susie-bayarri-1956-2014/