One hundred years of the design of experiments on and off the pages of Biometrika

Anthony C. Atkinson, Rosemary Anne Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The earliest important papers on planned experiments in Biometrika appeared within a year of each other in 1917 and 1918. Roughly speaking, one was concerned with design optimality and industrial experiments, the other with agricultural trials and blocking. We find this approximate division of the subject into two parts helpful in describing its development and growth. As a result of the hostility between Fisher and Karl Pearson, much of the development of designs for agriculture in the 1920s and 1930s occurred off the pages of Biometrika. Despite this, we are able to trace a coherent history of the development of the subject from field trials and response surface methods to clinical trials and Bayesian versions of design optimality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-97
Number of pages45
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • clinical trial
  • factorial experiment
  • incomplete block design
  • neighbours
  • optimum design
  • randomisation
  • response surface methods


Dive into the research topics of 'One hundred years of the design of experiments on and off the pages of Biometrika'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this