On 25 October 2017 the Dean of the SLU Faculty of Forest Sciences at Umeå, Prof. Göran Ståhl, officially opened a new room for statistical consultation dedicated to the living memory of the late Prof. Bertil Matérn on the occasion of the centenary of his birthday.
Bertil Matérn was an eminent Professor in Mathematical Statistics applied to Forest Sciences, who enjoyed a high national and international reputation, particularly in spatial statistics and sampling. Prof. Matérn has founded the tradition of forest biometrics at the Royal College of Forestry and at SLU from 1963 to 1981, which is continued by his successor, Prof. Arne Pommerening, and his team in research, teaching and consultation.
After a short welcome address by Prof. Arne Pommerening on behalf of the Centre for Statistics, the Dean of the Faculty of Forest Sciences characterised the importance of Bertil Matérn and the line of succession of statisticians that followed on from him for SLU today.
Guest speaker Prof. Lennart Bondesson from Umeå University held a much appreciated talk entitled “Bertil Matérn (1917 – 2007), his time and environment”. In his talk, Prof Bondesson reviewed the life of Bertil Matérn in parallel with the development of the Royal College of Forestry that predated SLU. He mentioned many interesting details that allowed the audience to interact and to see personal connections with Bertil Matérn and the wider subject of statistics within forest sciences. As the father of spatial statistics Bertil Matérn is still known by a wide international audience. Matérn also helped to develop the National Forest Inventory in Sweden and Austria.
Prof. Arne Pommerening described the situation of Forest Mathematical Statistics today by introducing his team, his subject area and current and future plans.
Afterwards the organisers and guests proceeded to the new Matérn room. Here the special guests, Prof. Matérn’s daughters Gunhild Matérn and Barbro Nordström said a few well-received personal words about their father. As a token of their appreciation they presented a historic calculator used by their father to the new consultation room. Then the Dean of the Faculty of Forest Sciences cut the ribbon sealing the new room and the audience was invited to take a look at the new facility.
The new room at the Department of Forest Resource Management supports the purpose of making statistics more accessible to students and researchers by offering free consultation. This national service is offered by the SLU Centre for Statistics (Statistics@SLU), which is headed by Prof. Pommerening and Dr. Claudia von Brömssen. The SLU Centre for Statistics is a unique institution contributing to scientific excellence at national and international level.