Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pediatrics. 2005 Sep;116(3):732-5.

William Sealy Gosset and William A. Silverman: two "students" of science.

Author information

Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch Center for Developmental Biology and Perinatal Medicine, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20878, USA.


In 1908, William Sealy Gosset, a chemist in an Irish brewery, published his second article on statistics in Biometrika under the pseudonym "Student." He chose this pseudonym because his company did not allow its scientists to publish confidential data. In the article, Gosset described a procedure to assess population means by using small samples. This was the origin of the "Student's t test." Dr William Silverman (1917-2004), a pioneer neonatologist, also used the pseudonym "Student." He sent thousands of notes, clippings, anecdotes, and quotations to Pediatrics with the signature line "Submitted by Student" that appeared as blurbs at the ends of articles since 1977. Both Gosset and Silverman were rigorous students of science. Silverman chose pseudonyms to seek readers' responses to the message rather than the messenger. He also wished that one would remain a perpetual student, ready to say "I don't know," and strive to understand the human side of medicine. This brief article provides a perspective on these 2 "students" of science.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center