posted January 15, 2007

Elliot Tanis Co-Authors Statistics Text

 Dr. Elliot Tanis, professor emeritus of mathematics at Hope College, is co-author of a new textbook for introductory mathematical statistics classes.

He wrote the book, "A Brief Course in Mathematical Statistics," with Dr. Robert V. Hogg, who is retired from the statistics faculty at the University of Iowa. It has been published by Prentice Hall Inc. of Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Tanis and Hogg are also the co-authors of the textbook "Probability and Statistical Inference," which was first published in 1977 and was released in its seventh edition in 2006. The new book is designed for a one-semester course, an approach based on the way they have seen instructors use their first book, which was written for a one-year sequence.

"A lot of people use the full-year book for a one-semester course," he said. "So what we tried to do is develop something that would be sufficient for that use, plus a little extra, so that it can work for a three- or four-credit course."

Economy, Tanis noted, was an important consideration for the two authors. They hoped to develop a text that wouldn't require students in one-semester courses to pay for material that they wouldn't even get to use.

The book includes material from "Probability and Statistical Inference," revised as appropriate for the new presentation, as well as new material.

It also includes a family connection for Tanis. His son, Joel Schoon Tanis, who is an artist, painted the illustration that appears on the front and back covers. The illustration, titled "Toss-Up," depicts a hand flipping a coin.

Charles Sommer of the faculty of SUNY College at Brockport praised the book, noting, "The authors have years of experience analyzing real data, have collected excellent examples to illustrate statistical concepts and anomalies, and are proven writers in the discipline."

A specialist in statistics, Tanis retired in May 2000 as a professor emeritus of mathematics after 35 years on the Hope faculty. His four books on probability and statistics also include "Probability and Statistics: Explorations with MAPLE," co-authored with Dr. Zaven Karian of the Denison University faculty, and he is also the author of 30 articles concerning probability and statistics.

He is a past chairperson and governor of the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America, which presented him with its Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award in 1992 and a Distinguished Service Award in 1996.

Tanis served as interim dean for the natural sciences at Hope in 1993. He received the Hope Outstanding Professor Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award from the graduating senior class in 1989.

He holds his master's and doctorate from the University of Iowa. His undergraduate degree is from Central College in Pella, Iowa.