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ERIC FEIGELSON - Penn State University

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Astrostatistics
When
21 March 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where
201 Thomas Bldg.
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We introduce challenging statistical problems that arise in the study of celestial objects: planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe as a whole.  Historical links between astronomy and statistics, from the ancient Greeks through Laplace and Gauss are reviewed.  However, the communities diverged during the 20th century, developing into a poor state with great needs for advanced methodology but weak links between the fields.  This is ameliorating today with a vibrant subfield of astrostatistics.  The talk then illustrates the diversity of astronomical datasets and outlines some of the methodological problems now under investigation.  Modern challenges include treatments of heteroscedastic measurement errors with known variances, irregularly-spaced time series, data with non-random censoring and truncation patterns, and Bayesian model selection in cosmology and exoplanets.  We end with opportunities for statisticians to become involved in addressing these problems.

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