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Gertrude Mary Cox (January 13, 1900 – October 17, 1978) was an influential American statistician and founder of the department of Experimental Statistics at North Carolina State University. She was later appointed director of both the Institute of Statistics of the Consolidated University of North Carolina and the Statistics Research Division of North Carolina State University. Her most important and influential research dealt with experimental design; she wrote an important book on the subject with W. G. Cochran. In 1949 Cox became the first female elected into the International Statistical Institute and in 1956 she was president of the American Statistical Association.

Gertrude Cox was born in Dayton, Iowa on January 13, 1900. Cox at first intended to become a Methodist Episcopal minister and director of an orphanage, but in college she heeded a new calling of statistics to help Iowan farmers make better agricultural research. She graduated from Iowa State College with a B.S. degree in Mathematics and received her Masters degree in statistics in 1931 from Iowa State.

Gertrude Cox studied at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, graduating in 1918. At this time she decided to become a deaconess in the Methodist Church and worked towards that end. However, in 1925, she decided to continue her education at Iowa State College in Ames where she studied mathematics and statistics and was awarded a B.S. in 1929 and a Master's degree in statistics in 1931.

From 1931 to 1933 Cox undertook graduate studies in statistics at the University of California at Berkeley, then returned to Iowa State College as assistant in the Statistical Laboratory. Here she worked on the design of experiments. In 1939 she was appointed assistant professor of statistics at Iowa State.

In 1940 Cox was appointed professor of statistics at North Carolina State University at Raleigh. There she headed the new department of Experimental Statistics.

In 1945 she became director of the Institute of Statistics of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, and the Statistics Research Division of the North Carolina State College which was run by William Gemmell Cochran. In the same year of 1945 Cox became the editor of Biometrics Bulletin and of Biometrics and she held this editorship for 10 years. In 1947 she was a founder member of the International Biometric Society.

In 1950 she published a joint work with Cochran, Experimental Design, which quickly became a classic text.

In 1960 she took up her final post as Director of Statistics at the Research Triangle Institute in Durham, North Carolina. She held this post until she retired in 1964.

Cox received many honours. In 1949 she became the first woman elected into the International Statistical Institute. In 1956 she was elected President of the American Statistical Association while in 1975 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
References

M. Nichols, Gertrude Mary Cox in Louise S. Grinstein (Editor), Paul J. Campbell (Editor) (1987). Women of Mathematics: A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-313-24849-8. 26 - 29

This article incorporates material from Gertrude Cox on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
External links

Gertrude Mary Cox Collection, 1918-1983 (North Carolina State University Libraries)
"Gertrude Cox", Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College
MacTutor biography
ASA: Gertrude M. Cox
NC State University Gertrude Cox Award

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