Statistics for Environmental Engineers

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The book is organized into short chapters. The goal was for each chapter to stand alone so one need not study the book from front to back, or in any other particular order. Total independence of one chapter from another is not always possible, but the reader is encouraged to “dip in” where the subject of the case study or the statistical method stimulates interest. For example, an engineer whose current interest is fitting a kinetic model to some data can get some useful ideas from Chapter 25 without first reading the preceding 24 chapters. To most readers, Chapter 25 is not conceptually more difficult than Chapter 12. Chapter 40 can be understood without knowing anything about t-tests, confidence intervals, regression, or analysis of variance.


There are so many excellent books on statistics that one reasonably might ask, Why write another book that targets environmental engineers? A statistician may look at this book and correctly say, “Nothing new here.” We have seen book reviews that were highly critical because “this book is much like book X with the examples changed from biology to chemistry.” Does “changing the examples” have some benefit? We feel it does (although we hope the book does something more than just change the examples).


A number of people helped with this book. Our good friend, the late William G. Hunter, suggested the format for the book. He and George Box were our teachers and the book reflects their influence on our approach to engineering and statistics. Lars Pallesen, engineer and statistician, worked on an early version of the book and is in spirit a co-author. A. (Sam) James provided early encouragement and advice during some delightful and productive weeks in northern England. J. Stuart Hunter reviewed the manuscript at an early stage and helped to “clear up some muddy waters.” We thank them all.

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