Richard Peto

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Sir Richard Peto

Born (1943-05-14) 14 May 1943 (age 76) [1]
Nationality United Kingdom
Education Taunton's School
Alma mater University of Cambridge (BA)
Imperial College London (MSc) [1]
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsMedical Statistics, Clinical Trials, Epidemiology of Smoking.
Institutions University of Oxford
Green Templeton College, Oxford
Influences Richard Doll

Sir Richard Peto FRS (born 14 May 1943) [1] is an English statistician and epidemiologist who is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, England. [4] [5] [6]



He attended Taunton's School in Southampton and subsequently studied the Natural Sciences Tripos at Trinity College, Cambridge [ when? ] followed by a Master of Science degree in Statistics at Imperial College London. [1] [ when? ]

Career and research

His career has included collaborations with Richard Doll beginning at the Medical Research Council Statistical Research Unit in London. He set up the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) in Oxford in 1975 and is currently co-director. Peto's paradox is named after him.

Awards and honours

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989 for his contributions to the development of meta-analysis. He is a leading expert on deaths related to tobacco use. "When Sir Richard Peto began work with the late Richard Doll fifty years ago, the UK had the worst death rates from smoking in the world. Smoking was the cause of more than half of all premature deaths of British men." [7] He was knighted for his services to epidemiology and to cancer prevention in 1999, and he received an honorary Doctor of Medical Sciences degree from Yale University in 2011. [8] [9]

Personal life

His brother Julian Peto, with whom he has published work in mathematical statistics (e.g. on the logrank test), is also a distinguished epidemiologist. His family runs a Thai restaurant in the Covered Market, Oxford, of whose parent company he is a director. [10]

Related Research Articles

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Austin Bradford Hill English epidemiologist and statistician

Sir Austin Bradford Hill was an English epidemiologist and statistician, pioneered the randomized clinical trial and, together with Richard Doll, demonstrated the connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Hill is widely known for pioneering the "Bradford Hill" criteria for determining a causal association.

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Sir William Richard Shaboe Doll was a British physician who became an epidemiologist in the mid-20th century and made important contributions to that discipline. He was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems. With Ernst Wynder, Bradford Hill and Evarts Graham, he was credited with being the first to prove that smoking caused lung cancer and increased the risk of heart disease. He also carried out pioneering work on the relationship between radiation and leukemia as well as that between asbestos and lung cancer, and alcohol and breast cancer. On 28 June 2012 he was the subject of a series on Radio Four called The New Elizabethans, a programme broadcast to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, dealing with 60 public figures from her reign.

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Sir Rory Edwards Collins FMedSci FRS is a British physician who is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Clinical Trial Service Unit within the University of Oxford, the head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford. His work has been in the establishment of large-scale epidemiological studies of the causes, prevention and treatment of heart attacks, other vascular disease, and cancer, while also being closely involved in developing approaches to the combination of results from related studies ("meta-analyses").

Dame Valerie Beral AC DBE FRS FRCOG FMedSci is an Australian-born British epidemiologist, academic and a preeminent specialist in breast cancer epidemiology. She is Professor of Epidemiology, a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford and has been the Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford and Cancer Research UK since 1989.

Hunterian Society

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The Hunterian Oration is a lecture of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The oration was founded in 1813 by the executors of the will of pioneering surgeon John Hunter, his nephew Dr Matthew Baillie and his brother-in-law Sir Everard Home, who made a gift to the College to provide an annual oration and a dinner for Members of the Court of Assistants and others. In 1853, the oration and dinner became biennial; it is held on alternate years in rotation with the Bradshaw Lecture. It is delivered by a Fellow or Member of the college on 14 Feb, Hunter's birthday, "such oration to be expressive of the merits in comparative anatomy, physiology, and surgery, not only of John Hunter, but also of all persons, as should be from time to time deceased, whose labours have contributed to the improvement or extension of surgical science". The RCS Oration is not to be confused with the Hunterian Society Oration given at the Hunterian Society.

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Horace Joules LRCP, MRCP, MRCS, FRCP was a British physician, health administrator and health campaigner, who played an important role in promoting public health and preventative medicine; particularly the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer following the work of Richard Doll, Austin Bradford Hill, Ernst Wynder and Evarts Graham, and the adverse effects of air pollution.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Anon (2017). "Peto, Sir Richard". Who's Who . (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.30686.(subscription or UK public library membership required)(subscription required)
  2. "Professor Richard PETO | Jeantet". 1 October 2017.
  3. Knottnerus, J. A. (2008). "The Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine 2008 awarded to Sir Richard Peto". Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 152 (41): 2216–2218. PMID   19009807.
  4. Mann, C. (1990). "Richard Peto: Statistician with a Mission". Science. 249 (4968): 479. doi:10.1126/science.249.4968.479. PMID   17735279 . Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  5. "Royal Society citation".
  6. "Experts Examined - Sir Richard Peto". 13 June 2005 via
  7. "The Life Scientific - Richard Peto on why smoking kills but quitting saves lives - BBC Sounds".
  8. "Sir Richard Peto". University of Oxford. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  9. "Yale University: Honorary Degrees". USA: Yale University. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  10. "Sasi's Thai". Find The Company. UK. Retrieved 24 May 2015.

Selected publications