Robert R. Sokal (1926–2012)

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Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 816
DOI: 10.1126/science.1224101

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Robert R. Sokal, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, passed away on 9 April 2012 in Stony Brook, New York. He was 86 years old. He was renowned for his contributions to quantitative analysis in biology, especially in ecology, evolutionary biology, and systematics. As a cofounder of “numerical taxonomy,” he devised methods for classifying organisms (later applied much more widely) that foreshadowed the development of phylogenetic analysis. He honed a wide variety of statistical tools, especially for analyzing spatially distributed data, and contributed abundantly to analyzing patterns of human genetic variation. His textbook Biometry, coauthored with F. J. Rohlf, profoundly influenced training and data analysis in ecology and evolutionary biology.