Irish leader give medal to UW statistician

St. Patrick's Day Medal
University of Washington statistician-sociologist Adrian Raftery, at left, receives the St. Patrick’s Day Medal from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. (Nick Crettier Photo)

It takes more than the luck o’ the Irish to win the St. Patrick’s Day Medal from Science Foundation Ireland, but the University of Washington’s Adrian Raftery has what it takes.

Raftery was born in Dublin but has been a statistician and sociologist on UW’s faculty for 30 years. He’s the founding director of UW’s Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, and Thomson Reuters named him the world’s most cited researcher in mathematics for 1995-2005.

Those are the right qualifications for the St. Patrick’s Day Medal. SFI, the Irish government’s primary agency for funding and promoting research and science education, established the annual award in 2014 to honor Irish-born scientists who live and work in the United States.

“It means a lot to me to be honored by my own country,” Raftery said in a UW report on the ceremony.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny awarded the medal for academic achievement to Raftery on March 15 at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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