Richard Eugene Barlow
Born (1931-01-12) January 12, 1931 (age 90)
Alma materKnox College
University of Oregon
Stanford University
AwardsJohn von Neumann Theory Prize
Scientific career
FieldsReliability theory
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
ThesisApplications of Semi-Markov Processes to Counter and Reliability Problems (1961)
Academic advisorsSamuel Karlin
Doctoral studentsTelba Irony
Yosi Ben-Dov

Richard Eugene Barlow (born January 12, 1931 in Galesburg, Illinois) is an American mathematician and mathematical statistician, who is considered with Frank Proschan as the founder of modern reliability theory. He was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1963 until his retirement in 1999.

He introduced the concept of "Total Time on Test" processes in reliability theory.[1] He and Proschan cowrote the book Mathematical Theory of Reliability.


Barlow received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Knox College in 1953 and his master's degree from the University of Oregon in 1955.[2] In 1961 he received his doctorate in mathematical statistics from Stanford University under Samuel Karlin. His dissertation was titled Applications of Semi-Markov Processes to Counter and Reliability Problems.[3] After graduation, he worked at the Institute for Defense Analyses for a year. He was from 1963 until his retirement in 1999 a professor at UC Berkeley. While at Berkeley, he mentored several doctoral students in operations research.

He was a guest scientist at the Boeing Laboratories in 1966 and at Florida State University in 1975 and 1976 (with Frank Proschan). From 1963 to 1969 he was an advisor to the Rand Corporation.

In addition to reliability theory, he dealt with probabilistic modeling in Bayesian statistics and statistical data analysis.

In 1991 he was awarded the John von Neumann Theory Prize with Frank Proschan. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the American Statistical Association, and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Personal life

He is married since 1956 and has four children.


  1. ^ Hayakawa Yu; Irony Telba Zalkind; Xie Min (21 December 2001). System And Bayesian Reliability: Essays In Honor Of Professor Richard E Barlow On His 70th Birthday. World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-4489-34-8.
  2. ^ "Richard E. Barlow". Informs. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Richard Barlow". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved 18 August 2019.