But the budding statistician’s linguistic aptitude paled in comparison to his comprehension of mathematics. In 1912, Neyman began his studies at Kharkov University in Ukraine. Later, he would become a professor at the university, teaching higher algebra, integration, and set theory.

While teaching at University College in London, Neyman authored a paper on sampling stratified populations that paved the way for the foundations of the Gallup Poll.

After immigrating to the U.S. in 1938, Neyman accepted a position at U.C. Berkeley. There, he helped build a leading center for mathematical statistics, championing concepts such as theories of estimation and testing hypotheses. Neyman shunned math for the sake of math, often demonstrating to his classes the wide real-world application of statistics in fields from meteorology to medicine. “Statistics,” he would tell his students, “is the servant to all sciences.”