大卫 Blackwell had a distinguished career while living an extraordinary life. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Era, Blackwell’s life is one of inspiration. From the very beginning, Blackwell overcame insurmountable odds to become an influential contributor to the world of mathematics and statistics. Blackwell started as a kid from Southern Illinois with modest yet noble goals of becoming an elementary school teacher. 他 would be the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, which would start his remarkable journey culminating with twelve honorary Doctorates and numerous awards, honors, and leadership roles throughout his life.
Blackwell came from humble beginnings to being one of the most influential figures in the field of statistics. 博rn April 24, 1919 to a homemaker and an Illinois Central Railroad worker in Centralia, IL, 大卫 H. Blackwell would become the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, seventh overall in the United States. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
Blackwell graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, thanks in part to advancing twice to higher-grade levels during elementary school. In a time of segregation with whites-only schools and black-only schools, Blackwell went to an integrated mixed school where he was unaware of a lot of the racial discrimination that was plaguing the country at that time. It was in a high school geometry class that Blackwell discovered his passion for mathematics.
“直到一年我完成演算后，这是唯一我当然让我看到，数学是真的很漂亮，富有创意，” – Blackwell, regarding his high school geometry course. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
With goals to become an elementary educator, Blackwell enrolled at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1935. Even with a four-year scholarship from the state of Illinois, Blackwell worked as a dishwasher, waiter, and a laboratory cleaner to try to spare his family financial burden for the costs of his education. (Albers, 2008) It was during his junior/senior years that Blackwell decided to pursue a graduate degree as he had now set his sights on teaching in higher education. Blackwell completed his B.A. in Mathematics by 1938 and subsequently completed his M.A. by 1939. In 1941, under the tutelage of Professor 约瑟夫 L. Doob of Mathematics, Blackwell completed his dissertation titled “Some Properties of Markov’s Chains”.
“不，我不能来，但我有一些好学生，和Blackwell是最好的。但是当然他是黑人。并且尽管事实是，我们是在推动真实民主事业的一战，它可能没有传遍我们自己的土地“。 - 约瑟夫·杜布，1942年，为应对加州大学伯克利试图招募杜布为加州大学伯克利分校的数学系大学的耶日·尼曼。 （数学人：个人资料和面试，1985年）（cattau，2010）
An illustrious career as an educator, researcher, and statistician would follow Blackwell’s graduation from the University of Illinois, but not without racial discrimination serving as temporary roadblocks along the way. The guidance of Professor Doob helped Blackwell secure the Rosenwald Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS). At that time, it was customary for IAS members to receive visiting fellow appointments from the nearby Princeton University. However, due to racial discrimination, Princeton objected to Blackwell’s appointment and did not allow him to attend lectures or conduct research at the university. (Hunter, 2010) The president of Princeton even got involved in the controversy as they felt the IAS was abusing the university’s hospitality by admitting a black man. The university later withdrew their objection upon the insistence of the IAS director and his thesis advisor, 约瑟夫 Doob to allow Blackwell to maintain his fellow and courtesy title of assistant professor. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003) (Grimes, 威廉, 2010) (柯hoe, 2015) Blackwell would remain unaware of the internal struggles between Princeton and the IAS for many years. 他 finished his first year at the IAS making connections that would lead to a lifetime of groundbreaking contributions to the world of statistics.
While working at the IAS, Blackwell worked with 约翰 von Neumann, considered the father of modern game theory. Von Neumann had requested a meeting with Blackwell to discuss his college dissertation, but Blackwell wrote off the renowned mathematician’s request. Naively, he did not believe von Neumann was truly interested in mentoring students or hearing about his dissertation. During this time of avoiding a meeting with von Neumann, Blackwell would audit a course taught by world-renowned mathematician, Samuel Wilks. Known for his work in developing the field of mathematical statistics, Wilks would be a founding member of the Institute of Mathematical 统计 (IMS). Eventually, Blackwell would follow through on von Neumann’s request for a meeting to sit down and discuss his thesis on Markov Chains.
“他（冯诺依曼）听我讲这个默默无闻的主题，十分钟后，他知道更多关于它比我做到了，” - 对冯·诺依曼布莱克威尔。 （克兰茨，2005）
After leaving the IAS, Blackwell applied for faculty positions across the country, expecting only to get offers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. After 105 applications to HBCUs, only 3 offers came in 1942, Blackwell began his educator career at Southern University at Baton Rouge from 1942-43 and followed by a year at Clark College in Atlanta, GA from 1943-44. Blackwell had hoped to get an offer from UC-Berkeley in 1942, but the offer never came. (Cattau, 2010) In 1944, Blackwell secured a position at Howard University in Washington D.C. 他 remained there for the following 10-years until 1954. Starting his career at Howard University as an Assistant Professor, by 1947 Blackwell would have the position of Professor and Chairman of the Mathematics Department.
的1948至50年夏天时，布莱克威尔将努力为在兰德公司一名数学家。他寻求外部刺激的数学从霍华德大学了。还有，布莱克威尔将一起工作的统计学家安倍girshick。布莱克威尔已经首先在华盛顿的美国统计协会会议上遇到girshick。 girshick给了序贯分析和瓦尔德方程，挑战布莱克威尔的讲座。这次演讲会是什么引发了布莱克威尔在统计的兴趣。 （阿尔伯斯，2008）讲座后，布莱克韦尔构造沃尔德的方程的反例，并邮寄它girshick。虽然Blackwell的例子证明是错误的，这促使girshick邀请布莱克威尔与他见面。本次会议将引发一场持久的友谊和comradery这将推动Blackwell的事业推向新的高度，并迎来了他对数理统计的世界舞台。
While at the RAND Corp. Blackwell began to work in the field of game theory. Blackwell and Girshick started on the theory of duels – or the duelist’s dilemma –, which involves any two-person, zero-sum game, such as a traditional duel with firearms, a playground game of rock-paper-scissors, or even a game of checkers. One of Blackwell’s achievements was connecting the idea that topology and game theory could go hand-in-hand through a game-theoretic proof of the Kuratowski Reduction Theorem. Blackwell would only briefly look beyond zero-sum games by exploring the 肯定的事的原则，这是在兰德公司被另一Blackwell的导师提出带来了一个想法，吉米野人。 Blackwell的道德品行作为一个科学家结束的这进一步研究 肯定的事的原则 部分是因为负方面的数学响应可能对社会，心理，或经济结果。随着冷战的军备竞赛临近， 肯定的事的原则 was on display between the United States and the Soviet Union having to choose between either further arming or disarming against not knowing what the enemy was doing. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
“我开始在特定的游戏工作，其中确定的事情原理导致的行为，这不是最好的。于是，我停止了它的工作，” – Blackwell. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
经过约与在兰德公司经济学家空军研究预算的讨论。这不顺利，布莱克威尔找到了野蛮的指导。与野蛮打开Blackwell的看法谈话对统计推断一个全新的观点 - 贝叶斯方法。从这点上来说，贝叶斯方法会影响Blackwell的工作向前发展。
Blackwell had previously interviewed at UC-Berkeley back in 1942, but did not secure a position under the guise of the department wanting to hire a woman due to wartime efforts. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003) Blackwell would later in his career find out the then head of the math department’s wife protested Blackwell’s hiring. It was customary to host faculty members in their home and the wife objected to hosting a black man in her house.
“ - 是不会有她家里的黑人，” - 布莱克威尔回忆自己学到了什么年后什么样的加州大学伯克利分校的数学系主任的妻子在听到布莱克威尔在1942年可能被聘用跟老公（圣路易斯邮报，2010）（cattau，2010）
As the Civil Rights era began to unfold in the United States, Blackwell began his tenure at UC-Berkeley, where he befriended Dr. Jerzy Neyman, the Mathematics Department Chair who interviewed him twelve years prior. 他aded up by Neyman, the Statistics Laboratory separated from the Mathematics Department in 1955. It was also in 1955 that Blackwell received a promotion to full professorship in the newly formed Statistics Department. By 1956, Blackwell became Chair of the UC-Berkeley Statistics Department. Blackwell served as Chair of the 统计 Department until 1961 and continued his career at Berkeley until his retirement in 1988. Between 1964 and 1975, Blackwell served in various roles while still maintaining his research and teaching fulltime. From 1964-68, Blackwell served as the Assistant Dean of the College of Letters and Science and from 1973-75 served as Director of the University of California Study Center for the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003) (Hunter, 2010) (Grimes, 威廉, 2010)
“人有不同的学习风格，抽象的，具体的，视觉，听觉，空间，等等。因此有必要对教师反映教学这些学习方式，如果他们希望自己的学生体会到他们是什么教学之美” – Blackwell on reflecting on his style of teaching. (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
布莱克韦尔收到科学学位在他的职业生涯中的十二个名誉博士学位;伊利诺伊州（66），密歇根州立大学（69），南500万彩票网（71），卡内基 - 梅隆大学（80），莱索托国立大学（87），阿默斯特学院，哈佛大学（88），霍华德大学，耶鲁大学大学，沃里克（90），锡拉丘兹大学（91），以及南加州大学（92）的大学。布莱克威尔将继续保持整个职业生涯中许多著名的领导角色，其中包括：从1968年至1971年美国数学学会副会长;国际协会1973年在物理科学统计的总裁;从1975-78国际统计学会副会长; 1976年当选英国皇家统计学会荣誉院士;并于1979年在1978年美国统计协会的副会长，布莱克韦尔收到了约翰·冯·诺依曼理论奖，布莱克威尔最早的专业导师之一命名。布莱克韦尔获得此奖，他在马尔可夫决策过程的工作，而他在概率论，数理统计和博弈论的贡献。
In October of 2014, then U.S. President, Barack Obama announced the recipients of the 2014 National Medal of Science award. Blackwell posthumously received the country’s highest distinction for contributions to scientific research and for his work in mathematics and statistics. (柯hoe, 2015) It was also in 2014 that the first 布莱克韦尔讲座 to honor 大卫 Blackwell for his contributions to statistics and overcoming adversity was held by the Institute of Mathematical 统计. (Bickel, 2012)
他创立 - - 他在博弈论，更新理论，动态规划，饶布莱克韦尔定理的实验比较工作是一切只是一个小的证明了他的数学和统计科学的诸多贡献。然而，与所有他对世界的贡献，他的许多发表的论文和书籍，在他的领导角色，而他的奖项和荣誉，布莱克威尔最得意他最大的成就，他的家人。
“我在生活中做过的最好的事情就是结婚对我的妻子，” – Blackwell (Agwu, 工匠, & Barry, 2003)
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