University of Rochester

Kuno Ruben Gabriel, Pioneer of Statistics, Dies

May 30, 2003

Kuno Ruben Gabriel, professor emeritus of statistics at the University of Rochester and resident of Rochester since 1975, died on May 25, 2003, of pancreatic cancer. He was 74 years old.

Gabriel was born in Germany and raised in Israel. He studied at the London School of Economics and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, earning a doctorate in demography in 1957. He was on the faculty of the Department of Statistics at Hebrew University for many years, including a term as chair, and joined the University of Rochester as Professor of Statistics, serving as chair from 1981 to 1989 and retiring in 1997. While at the University, he also served as Professor of Biostatistics in the Medical Center, collaborating on medical research with faculty in many departments.

Professor Gabriel had a distinguished statistical research career, with 150 scientific publications, and was honored as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Of special note was his "biplot," a graphical data analytic tool to assist in the understanding of the structure of an array of data, now widely used in data analysis in many fields.

He also was well known and respected for his significant role in statistical meteorology, especially in weather modification experiments ("rain making"); he was a major initiator and promoter of sound statistical design and analysis in this field. He served as a research collaborator and visiting professor at many institutions around the world, including the University of North Carolina, Stanford, Princeton, University of Kansas, and several universities and research agencies in France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Argentina, and Australia. He lectured and wrote in five languages.

Mr. Gabriel is survived by three daughters: Orna Samuelly of San Francisco, Osie Adelfang of Huntsville, Alabama and Shira Gabriel of Buffalo; and one granddaughter, Anna Adelfang. His last days were spent in the care of his friend and companion, Sara Eapen of Boston. Interment was in Kibbutz Givat HaShlosha in Israel, where he spent his childhood years.