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Eugene Lukacs

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Eugene Lukacs

Lukacs, Eugene
Eugene Lukacs (1906–1987)
Born 14 August 1906
Szombathely, Austria-Hungary
Died 21 December 1987
Washington, D.C.
Fields Mathematician, Probabilist, Statistician
Institutions Catholic University of America
Bowling Green State University
Alma mater University of Vienna
Doctoral advisor Walter Meyer
Known for Work in Probability Theory, Characteristic Functions, Characterization of Distributions

Eugene Lukacs (Hungarian: Lukács Jenő, 14 August 1906 – 21 December 1987) was a Hungarian statistician born in Szombathely, notable[1] for his work in characterization of distributions, stability theory, and being the author of Characteristic Functions,[2] a classic textbook in the field.

From six weeks after birth Lukacs lived in Vienna, Austria. There he received primary and secondary education and studied mathematics at University of Vienna. His professors included Hans Hahn, Eduard Helly, Walter Meyer, Leopold Vietoris and Wilhelm Wirtinger. In 1930 he earned his doctorate in geometry under the supervision of Walter Meyer, and a degree in actuarial science in 1931. Eugene met his future wife Elizabeth Weisz (Lisl) in 1927 at the University of Vienna, and they married in 1935. He taught secondary mathematics for two years and later accepted a position with an insurance company, where Eduard Helly and Z. W. Birnbaum were colleagues. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, he decided to emigrate to the United States, arriving in 1939.[3]

In 1953 Eugene joined the Office of Naval Research (ONR) USA, and became the director of Statistics. While at ONR he also taught at American University in Washington, D.C.

Lukacs joined the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1955. There he organized the Statistical Laboratory in 1959 and became its first and only director. Researchers at the Statistical Laboratory included Edward Batschlet, Tatsuo Kawata, Radha Laha, M. Masuyama and Vijay Rohatgi, and many distinguished visitors.

On his retirement from Catholic University in 1972, he moved with his colleagues Laha and Rohatgi to Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he remained until 1976.

His primary interest was in the theory of characteristic functions. Prior to publication of his 1960 monograph, Characteristic Functions, the English language textbooks on the subject were translations of works by Cramer, Gnedenko and Kolmogorov, and Loeve. Lukacs' monograph was the first to present a unified and detailed treatment of the subject, and has remained a classical reference on the subject. The revised and expanded second edition of Characteristic Functions[4] appeared in 1970, followed by Developments in Characteristics Function Theory[5] in 1983. Characteristic Functions has been translated into several languages and continues to be an essential resource on the subject.

Lukacs was an elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics since 1957, and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association since 1969. In 1973 he was elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


Journal articles


See also


  • J Gani and V K Rohatgi (eds.), Contributions to Probability (New York, 1981).
  • J Gani (ed.), The Evolution of a Statistician (Berlin, 1982).
  • V K Rohatgi, Obituary: Eugene Lukacs, J. Applied Probability 25 (1988), 641–646.

External links

  • .

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