Campus Life

Statistician Cliff Spiegelman Honored With Special Journal Issue

April 19, 2017

Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Statistics Clifford H. Spiegelman often applies his professional expertise to make a difference in the courtroom, helping to provide justice for those wrongly convicted of crimes on the basis of flawed forensic science.
Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Statistics Clifford H. Spiegelman often applies his professional expertise to make a difference in the courtroom, helping to provide justice for those wrongly convicted of crimes on the basis of flawed forensic science.
By Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Science

Texas A&M University statistician Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman is being celebrated this spring with a virtual special issue of Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, honoring his 30 years of service to both the international publication and the discipline he helped create.

Spiegelman, an expert in statistical and environmental forensics, is a founder within statistics of the field of chemometrics, the science of using data to extract information from chemical systems. Together with four others, he created the publication sponsored by the Chemometrics Society and widely recognized as the top journal in its field, serving as one of its editors for the past three decades.

“The journal got the ball rolling by putting out the traditional call for papers,” Spiegelman said. “Some of the authors, I let know, while others just volunteered. I am honored by all of them as leaders in their respective areas and as my colleagues and friends.”

Dr. Philip K. Hopke, director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science at Clarkson University and a fellow member of the journal’s editorial board, authored the preface for the issue, which is free for public access until August 13. He says the goal was to honor Spiegelman, who became the journal’s first editor emeritus in 2016, for his efforts to apply statistics to chemical and forensic problems with an issue showcasing both high-quality methods and interesting chemical problems.

“This Virtual Special Issue (VSI) has been compiled to honor Cliff Spiegelman for his 30 years of service to Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems as one of its founding editors and for his outstanding service to the chemometrics community and in recent years to the field of forensic science,” Hopke writes. “I first met Cliff as Luc Massart was organizing this journal, and we were excited to have a publication devoted specifically to chemometrics and to bring chemistry and statistics together to support both fields.”

Spiegelman joined the Texas A&M Department of Statistics in 1987 as an associate professor, earning a promotion to full professor in 1990 and to distinguished professor in 2009. He also is a senior research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Before coming to Texas A&M, he spent nine years in the Statistical Engineering Division at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg.

Among his many career highlights, Spiegelman was instrumental in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) decision to stop using compositional bullet lead analysis after he demonstrated it to be flawed. He routinely testifies in criminal matters related to various aspects of statistics, flawed forensic science, probability and the law – often in association with the Innocence Project, the national nonprofit legal clinic dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and other post-verdict methods. In addition to serving as the lead chair for the Statistics and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) 2015-2016 program in forensic science, he is the key statistical advisor to the City of Houston’s crime lab.

An active researcher and scholar, Spiegelman has authored more than 100 refereed publications that have appeared in the Annals of Statistics and at least 20 other statistics journals. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) as well as an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). A two-time recipient of the ASA Statistics in Chemistry Award for best paper, Spiegelman also has received the 2007 Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research recognizing innovation in statistical science and most recently the San Antonio Chapter of the ASA’s 2016 Don Owen Award for excellence in research, contributions to editorial activities and service to the statistical community.

“He has been an outstanding scholar as well as providing valuable service to the chemometrics, forensics and statistical communities through his research, editing, reviewing, testifying and conference-organizing activities,” Hopke said. “It has been a great experience to have him as a colleague, collaborator and editor and wish him well into the future.”

Read the full issue or visit the main website to learn more about Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems.


Media contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237, via e-mail or Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman, (979) 845-3141 or 


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