David sez, "Paul Meier, who had an extraordinarily high impact/fame ratio, passed away this weekend. Meier is probably best known for the introduction of randomized trials into the evaluation of medical treatments, though his creation of the Kaplan-Meier Estimator likely had as much of an impact due to its importance in all things actuarial."
As early as the mid-1950s, Dr. Meier was one of the first and most vocal proponents of what is called "randomization."
Under the protocol, researchers randomly assign one group of patients to receive an experimental treatment and another to receive the standard treatment. In that way, the researchers try to avoid unintentionally skewing the results by choosing, for example, the healthier or younger patients to receive the new treatment.
(Thanks, David (dr at BB))