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Professor Vic D. Barnett

It is with great sadness that we report the death of the environmental statistician Vic Barnett, who died on his 76th birthday on February 16, 2014.

Vic was an active member of the Royal Statistical Society since becoming a fellow in 1960. He was honorary treasurer for the Society for a decade (1993-2003), was on the editorial panel for the series B Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in the early seventies and was editor of series C during the late seventies. He was a member of the Society’s Professional Affairs Committee and the Education Strategy Group, and until 2012, he chaired the Society’s General Applications Section. He received a Chambers medal from the Society in 1998 for outstanding services to the Society.

Vic studied statistics at Manchester University, and after gaining his PhD, worked in the universities of Bath and Newcastle before becoming professor at the University of Bath in 1974. He went on to head up the Department of Probability and Statistics at the University of Sheffield where he remained until 1991; he then worked at the Rothamsted Experimental Station and the University of Nottingham before joining Nottingham Trent University in 1999.

It was in environmental statistics that Vic took particular interest. In 1990 he established SPRUCE (Statistics in Public Resources, Utilities and Care of the Environment) with a number of other statisticians. During the 1990s Vic published a series of books on statistics in the environment and in 1995 he became Professor of Environmental Statistics at the University of Nottingham. In 2003 he published the book Environmental Statistics: Methods and Application and in 2008 Environmental Statistics: Analysing Data for Environmental Policy.


In 2013 the Royal Statistical Society established the Barnett award, aimed at encouraging and promoting the application of statistical methods to environmental sciences, its name recognising the service delivered by Vic Barnett to the Society over the years.


In his personal life, Vic was a passionate county level bridge player and he played the game for more than fifty years. He was also a qualified bridge director and tutor and was instrumental in introducing many new people to the game in his work as director of the U3A bridge classes in Derbyshire. His other great loves were gardening, horse riding, antique map collecting and theatre. He is survived by his wife Audrey, daughters, Kate and Emma and granddaughters, Hannah and Amy.


Our sincerest condolences go out to Vic’s family at this time. A memorial service for friends and family took place in Bakewell, Derbyshire, on 27 February. A full obituary will be published in the Series A Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in due course.



This article first appeared on the Royal Statistical Society’s StatsLife website.