R. A. Bailey: home page

Who am I?

Research interests

Design Seminars

PhD Students



My timetable


Who am I?

I am Professor Emerita of Statistics in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London. The street address and phone and fax numbers are given below. From September 1999 to August 2003 I was Head of School. I retired at the end of September 2012.

I obtained a DPhil in Mathematics from the University of Oxford under the supervision of Graham Higman. My thesis was about finite permutation groups. I spent six years working in the Faculty of Mathematics at the Open University. In the middle of that period I had a post-doctoral research fellowship at Edinburgh University, where I worked with Desmond Patterson of the Agricultural Research Council's Unit of Statistics and converted myself into a statistician. I put my new knowledge into practice in 10 years in the Statistics Department of Rothamsted Experimental Station. Following that I was Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, before moving to my present position.

In June 2007, my colleagues held a birthday conference for me.

In July-August 2008 I was coorganizer of a programme on the Design of Experiments at the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge. I was also coorganizer of the six-month programme on the Design and Analysis of Experiments held at INI from July to December 2011.

I have served on the British Combinatorial Committee, Council of the London Mathematical Society, the Research Section of the Royal Statistical Society, the Committee of the UK TeX Users' Group, the Joint Mathematical Council, and the Council of the International Biometric Society. From November 2000 to November 2002 I was president of the British Region of the International Biometric Society.

Research interests

My major research interest is in the design of experiments, particularly those with one or more nuisance factors and in which the treatment factors are qualitative. Some specific topics within that are listed below.

Related to this are certain finite combinatorial objects (such as Latin squares, incomplete block designs, association schemes) and their automorphism groups.

Some specific topics

Collaboration with other scientists

Like most other statisticians, I devote part of my time to collaborating with non-mathematical scientists. Recent topics include abstraction in the drawing of maps, the effect of plant spacing on insect populations, the behaviour exhibited by groups of people playing computer games, a cross-over grazing trial, the consistency between different human assessors of malnutrition in people, two-phase variety trials, biomaterials, ecology of river systems, biodiversity in freshwater systems.

I also made a very modest mathematical contribution to some air navigation software.

Design of Experiments seminars at QMUL

Seminars on the design of experiments are held on some Thursday afternoons during term. See a list of forthcoming talks.

PhD students

See my students.


Click here for details of recent teaching at QMUL and advanced courses elsewhere.


Public Understanding of Statistics and Mathematics

I do care about the public understanding of science, especially statistics and mathematics. I was president of the Mathematical Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science from 1997 to 1998. I was a contributor to the booklet Making Sense of Statistics launched by Sense About Science on 29 April 2010.

This is linked to concern about pre-university education. I contributed to the booklet A new level published by Reform on 16 June 2009.

A photo


My vision of a university was succintly described by David L. Kirp, writing in The Times Higher on 9 April 2004. It is “the belief in

I believe that university students should be able to be confident that they are being taught by people who are immersed in the subject in other ways than teaching. I collaborate with a range of scientists on the design of their experiments and the analysis of their data, so I teach Statistics. I still prove theorems in Combinatorics and Algebra, so I also teach those subjects.

Another statement

In March 2012 I attended a conference held in Paris in honour of my long-term statistical friend and colleague André Kobilinsky. Here I reproduce, with permission, one of the slides in the opening presentation.

André, un vrai chercheur ...
  • Celui qui suit ses idées et non pas celles de la mode du jour.
  • Celui qui ne prend pas pour acquis ce qu'on lit dans les journaux scientifiques mais s'attache à comprendre par lui-même.
  • Quelqu'un qui va jusqu'au bout de ce qu'il entreprend.
  • Une belle citation de J. B. Denis, un de ses collègues de longue date: “Avançant orthogonalement aux autres, il accroît la dimension de nos espaces. ”

I find it hard to imagine a better tribute to a researcher.


School of Mathematical Sciences
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS

Telephone: +44 20 7882 5517
Fax: +44 20 7882 7684
Email: r.a.bailey AT qmul DOT ac DOT uk

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Page modified 18/01/13