This is the <i>Leonardo da Vinci Lecture</i> given in Milan in March 2006. It is a survey on the concept of space-time over the last 3000years: it starts with Euclidean geometry, discusses the contributions of Gauss and Riemannian geometry, presents the dynamic concept of space-time in Einsteins general relativity, describes the importance of symmetries, and ends with Calabi-Yau manifolds and their importance in todays string theories in the attempt for a unified theory of physics.
It is a great honor for me to be invited by Tsinghua University to talk today. Tsinghua has, in its history, made many contributions to mathematics. The two most famous mathematicians in modern Chinese history have both been closely related to Tsinghua University. One is Professor Hua Lo-Keng, the other is Prof essor Chern Shiing-Sheng. Especially since Professor Chern is my teacher, I feel proud to be able to say some words in the opening ceremony for the Center for Advanced Study. I chose the title of my talk also for this reason. Due to my critical comments, I have decided to spend most of my time in giving a general talk in English. The remainder of the talk will be in Chinese.
This volume presents selections of Peter J. Bickels major papers, along with comments on their novelty and impact on the subsequent development of statistics as a discipline. Each of the eight parts concerns a particular area of research and provides new commentary by experts in the area. The parts range from Rank-Based Nonparametrics to Function Estimation and Bootstrap Resampling. Peters amazing career encompasses the majority of statistical developments in the last half-century or about about half of the entire history of the systematic development of statistics. This volume shares insights on these exciting statistical developments with future generations of statisticians. The compilation of supporting material about Peters life and work help readers understand the environment under which his research was conducted. The material will also inspire readers in their own research-based pursuits. This volume includes new photos of Peter Bickel, his biography, publication list, and a list of his students. These give the reader a more complete picture of Peter Bickel as a teacher, a friend, a colleague, and a family man.