Harold Hotelling

American statistician and econometrician (1895-1973)

Harold Hotelling (September 29, 1895 – December 26, 1973) was a mathematical statistician and an influential economic theorist.


  • Research in statistical theory and techniques is necessarily mathematical, scholarly, and abstract in character, requiring some degree of leisure, detachment, and access to a good mathematical and historical library. The importance of continuing such research is very great, though it is not always obvious to those whose interest is entirely in practical applications of already existing theory. Excepting in the presence of active research in pure science, the application of the science tend to drop into a deadly rut of unthinking routine, incapable of progress beyond a limited range predetermined by the accomplishments of pure science, and are in constant danger of falling into the hands of people who do not really understand the tools that they are working with and who are out of touch with those that do. ... It is in fact rather absurd, though quite in line with the precedents of earlier centuries, that scientific men of the highest talents can live only by doing work that could be done by others of lesser special abilities, while the real worth of their most important work receives no official recognition.
    • Harold Hotelling (24 Feb. 1940) "Memorandum to the Government of India", quoted from Deming, William Edwards (1950), Some Theory of Sampling, Dover reprint from Wiley, p. 135 
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