Dr. Clifford Spiegelman

Texas A&M University statistician Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman has been appointed as the inaugural Official Statistician of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Spiegelman was unanimously accepted and approved by the commissioners of Austin-based organization at the group’s April 20 quarterly meeting, held just days prior to Monday’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day and U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s proclamation marking the week-long Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.

“The stellar recommendation Chairman [Peter] Tarlow made on your behalf at the meeting, combined with the examples of your outstanding project experience you have previously shared with me, made for an easy and complete vote by our commissioners,” said William McWhorter, executive director.

Spiegelman, a member of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics since 1987, a distinguished professor of statistics since 2009 and a senior research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, is an expert in statistical and environmental forensics. He is a founder of the field of chemometrics, the science of using data to extract information from chemical systems by data-driven means to investigate and address problems in chemistry, biochemistry and chemical engineering. In addition, Spiegelman is a leader in the field of statistical forensics and was instrumental in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) decision to stop using compositional bullet lead analysis after he demonstrated it to be flawed. He routinely testifies in criminal matters related to various aspects of statistics, flawed forensic science, probability and the law and serves as the key statistical advisor to the City of Houston’s crime lab.

McWhorter says Spiegelman’s knowledge and accomplished background will prove key to the success of one of the Commission’s biggest upcoming projects: a survey to be sent to all Texas high school and middle school history teachers, seeking input on what they know and teach about the Holocaust. In addition to helping to design the survey, Spiegelman will provide statistical analysis of the resulting responses.

Spiegelman is a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) as well as an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). A two-time recipient of the ASA Statistics in Chemistry Award for best paper, Spiegelman also has received the 2007 Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research recognizing innovation in statistical science and the San Antonio Chapter of the ASA’s 2016 Don Owen Award for excellence in research, contributions to editorial activities and service to the statistical community. Most recently, he was celebrated with a virtual special issue of Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems honoring his 30 years of service to both the international publication and the discipline he helped create.