John Wilder Tukey

Born June 16, 1915, New Bedford, Mass.; with James Cooley, the creator of the fast Fourier transform (FFT) and possible creator of the word "bit." [See Tropp 1984.]

Education: ScB, chemistry, Brown University, 1936; ScM, Brown University, 1937; MA, Princeton University, 1938; PhD, mathematics, Princeton University, 1939.

Professional Experience: Princeton University: instructor, mathematics, 1939-1941, research associate, Fire Control Research Office, 1941-1945, professor, statistics, 1965-present, Donner Professor of Science, 1976-present; Bell Telephone Laboratories: member, technical staff, 1945-1948, assistant director, Research Communication Principles, 1958-1961, associate executive director, Research Communication Principles Division, 1961-present.

Honors and Awards: DSc (Hon.), Case Institute of Technology, 1962; DSc (Hon.), Brown University, 1965; S.S. Wilks Medal, American Statistical Association, 1965; DSc (Hon.), Yale University, 1968; DSc (Hon.), University of Chicago, 1969; National Medal of Science, 1973; IEEE Medal of Honor, 1982; member, National Academy of Sciences; member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; honorary member, Royal Statistical Society.



Tropp, H.S., "Origin of the Term Bit," Ann. Hist. Comp., Vol. 6, No. 2, Apr. 1984, pp. 152-155.

Significant Publications

Cooley, J.W., and J.W. Tukey, "An Algorithm for the Computation of Complex Fourier Series," Math. of Computation, Apr. 1965.


John Tukey died July 26, 2000 (MRW, 2013).

Portrait added (MRW, 2013)

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