History of the Department

By court decree on 12.11.1774, statistics was installed as an independent discipline during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa, albeit without its own professorship. The lectures were held by Prof. Christoph Schmid until 1790. From 1790 to 1793 Heinrich Josef Watteroth, and from 1793 to 1810 Ignaz de Luca taught the subject of European and General Statistics.


The first professor whose exclusive field of teaching was statistics was Johannes Zizius, who was appointed full professor in 1810 and taught until 1824 (main work: Theoretical preparation and introduction to statistics, Vienna 1810). From 1825 to 1828 the chair was filled by Dr. Franz Kerschbaumer.


It was not until 1828 that Johann Springer was appointed full professor of statistics, a post he held until 1864 (major work: Statistics of the Austrian Imperial State, Vienna 1840). His successor was Leopold Freiherr von Neumann, who resigned in 1881 (main work: Outline of contemporary European international law, 1855).


He was succeeded in 1881 by Karl Theodor von Inama-Sternegg. This scholar (most important works: Austrian Statistics, Statistical Manual) conducted the first census with counting machines in 1890. The University of Vienna honours him with a bust in the arcade of the main building on the Ringstraße. After Inama-Sternegg's death in 1908, private lecturers taught the subject of statistics, such as Ignaz Singer, Franz Ritter von Juraschek, Ferdinand Schmid, Ignaz Ritter von Gruber, Walter Schiff, Karl Pribram and Franz Zizek (The Statistical Means, 1908).


In 1922, the Institute for Statistics of Minority Peoples was founded, and Professor Wilhelm Winkler was appointed as its director. Because he did not want to separate from his Jewish wife Klara, he was compulsorily retired in 1938 and personally discriminated against. In 1945 he was rehabilitated and reinstated to his former professorship.


Winkler's successor from 1955 was Prof. Slawtscho Sagoroff (main work: Theory of Economic Energy Balances, 1961). In 1968, Prof. Gerhart Bruckmann was appointed as the second full professor.


After Sagoroff's death in 1971, Prof. Leopold Schmetterer moved from the Mathematical Institute to the Institute of Statistics as his successor. In 1974, Prof. Franz Ferschl joined as the third full professor, but he moved to Munich in 1976. His chair was filled again by Günther Vinek, who, however, taught at the newly created Institute of Computer Science from 1995.


Other important dates are:

  • 1988: Appointment of Prof. Georg Pflug
  • 1990: Prof. Leopold Schmetterer retires.
  • 1991: Appointment of Prof. Benedikt Pötscher
  • 1992: Emeritus and retirement of Prof. Gerhart Bruckmann
  • 1993: Appointment of Prof. Walter Schachermayer
  • 1998: Prof. Schachermayer moves to the TU Vienna
  • 2004: Appointment of Prof. Immanuel Bomze
  • 2009: Appointment of Prof. Hannes Leeb
  • 2013: Appointment of Prof. Nikolaus Hautsch
  • 2019: Retirement of Prof. Georg Pflug
  • 2020: Appointment of Prof. Christa Cuchiero, Prof. Moritz Jirak und Prof. Tatyana Krivobokova