Eagle staff report
Clifford H. Spiegelman, a distinguished professor of statistics at Texas A&M, died Thursday in College Station. He was 71.
Spiegelman came to Texas A&M in 1987 as an associate professor in the Department of Statistics. In 2009, Spiegelman was appointed as a distinguished professor of statistics, which is A&M’s highest honorific rank for a faculty member. Spiegelman was designated a Regents Professor for 2018-2019.
“Cliff was a leading applied statistician of his generation,” said Valen E. Johnson, Texas A&M distinguished professor of statistics and dean of science, in a statement.
“Aside from his well-known work in chemometrics, he was one of the nation’s leading forensic statisticians and had a huge impact in reforming evidentiary standards in criminal prosecutions. For example, he was instrumental in excluding bullet lead and bite mark analyses. As a consequence of his work, a number of convictions based on misleading statistical claims were overturned.:
Spiegelman served as the official statistician of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and was the statistics adviser to the Texas Forensic Science Commission and Houston Forensic Science Center. Spiegelman was also was the key statistical adviser to the city of Houston’s crime lab for many years.
“Not only was he an outstanding statistician, but he was also an outstanding citizen,” Johnson said.
Spiegelman wrote more than 200 peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in the Annals of Statistics and at least 20 other statistics journals. He also contributed to five books as well as dozens of conference proceedings, reviews and editorials.
“Cliff was a person who voluntarily helped others,” said Texas A&M statistician Samiran Sinha in a statement. “He was there whenever the department needed someone, whether in presenting the department at the college level, talking with other departments, or improving or restructuring courses. I communicated with him last week regarding a paper review. He was truly a helpful person.”
A virtual memorial service for Spiegelman will be held Tuesday through Hillier Funeral Home of College Station.