Peter Armitage

Mar 8, 2024, 10:45 AM

It is very sad to report the death last month of Peter Armitage. Our sincere condolences go out to Peter’s family and friends at this time. You can find more details about Peter’s life in Statistics here:,-1924%E2%80%932024/  

What you might not know is the positive influence Peter had on PSI. Professor John Lewis shares his memories of Peter below.  

Memories of Peter Armitage

In the early seventies, Peter Armitage was one of only two professors of Medical Statistics in the UK, the other being David Newell at the University of Newcastle. There were many more professors of statistics, but not medical, as the growth of medical statistics at universities was yet to occur. So Peter’s perspective was different in an important way. When PSI was in the process of formation, many academic statisticians questioned why a separate organisation was called for, rather than a new section of the Institute of Statisticians or of the RSS.  Peter Armitage was not one of those voices, preferring to support pharmaceutical industry statisticians in their separate endeavours.  

His support for PSI continued throughout his later academic career. When I submitted a paper for publication to the RSS on the subject of statistical developments in the pharmaceutical industry, Peter encouraged the RSS to make it a ‘read’ paper [J.R.Statist.Soc. A (1983), 146, Part b4, pp 362-393]. As RSS president he chaired the meeting and opened the discussion. It thus offered a unique opportunity for PSI statisticians to make their voices heard in academia; the names of the discussants of that paper provides an informative list of PSI members active in the early years: Caroline Franks, Deana Leadbeter, Mike Stevens, John Shelton, Jan Poloniecki, Jorgen Seldrup.  

Another later memory of Peter Armitage relates to a working party that he set up to shape the post-doctoral researches of John Matthews in the area of crossover trials. The other three members of the working party were Alan Ebbutt and me from PSI, and David Cox.  As always, Peter wanted research to be directed by practically important questions, and how better to achieve this than by involving PSI statisticians. 

PSI was fortunate indeed to have the support of Peter Armitage over many years. 

John Lewis 

Upcoming Events

Latest Jobs