The medal rewards the best statistics paper published the previous year in a peer-reviewed journal by a South African statistician. The medal came into existence in 1997 in memory of Professor Sichel, a statistician who made great advances in both theoretical and applied statistics, pioneering the science of Geostatistics as well as Operations Research in South Africa.
To quote the newsletter of the South African Statistical Association
This year six papers were submitted for the award, which is more than we have had in recent years, and it is encouraging that several of them were by young members of SASA. The panel of judges, comprising Doug Hawkins (University of Minnesota), Sarah Radloff (Rhodes University), Maxim Finkelstein (University of the Free State) and Paul Fatti (Wits University) used the four criteria of Impact, Innovation, Relevance and Quality of Writing to rank the papers, and while they differed in their rankings, there was very close agreement about the winning paper. We would like to congratulate Melvin Varughese of the University of Cape Town for his most interesting paper entitled: “On the accuracy of a diffusion approximation to a discrete state- space Markovian model of a population” which appeared in Theoretical Population Biology 76 (2009). While Melvin was recently awarded his PhD at the University of Cape Town, the paper was actually an extension of the work done for his MSc dissertation at Wits University.