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Cautionary Tales in Designed Experiments

By David Salsburg

Cautionary Tales in Designed Experiments aims to explain statistical design of experiments (DOE), Ronald Fisher’s great innovation, to readers with minimal mathematical knowledge and skills. The book starts with historical examples and goes on to cover missteps, mismanaged experiments, learnings, the importance of randomization, and more. In later chapters, the book covers more statistical concepts, such as various designs for experiments, analysis of variance, Bayes’ theorem in DOE, measurement, and when experiments fail. The book concludes by citing the ubiquity of statistical design of experiments.

David Salsburg has been a naval officer, college professor, scientific researcher, and, now, author. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors in History in 1952, then spent three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. After five years in the kosher meat business, he returned to school for a master’s degree in Mathematics from Trinity College, Hartford, and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Connecticut. He has taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut, and Connecticut College. For 27 years, he engaged in research at Pfizer, Inc., working on the development of new drugs, where he rose to the top of the company’s scientific ladder. David retired from Pfizer in 1995 and has since taught courses at Harvard and Yale Universities. He has many scientific publications, including three academic books. David has also written popular science books, The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century and Errors, Blunders, and Lies: How to Tell the Difference.

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