Bento José Ferreira Murteira, a retired full professor at ISEG, died yesterday, the 18
th of July, 2018. His body will lie at the Church of Santo António do Estoril today, Thursday, as from 18:30, followed by a Mass at 19:00. The Presential Mass will take place tomorrow, Friday the 20
th, at 10:00, followed by the funeral.
Bento Murteira was an outstanding professor who will be remembered for his contribution to the development and modernisation of our School, and for the advances in the teaching of Economics, Econometrics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics in Portugal.
A student of Bento de Jesus Caraça, and a follower and assistant to Professor Leite Pinto since 1947, Bento Murteira directed the teaching of Statistics from 1951, and headed up the new chair of Econometrics from 1953 and for decades left his mark on the modernisation of the teaching of Applied Mathematics for Economics in Portugal.
Previously, Statistics and Applied Mathematics for Economics were very rudimentary. They were limited to the construction of graphs and the calculation of averages and other descriptive statistics, but did not develop methods of estimation and inference applied to Mathematical Statistics. Taking advantage of the better mathematical preparation of the then ISCEF students resulting from the reforms of 1949, Bento Murteira radically transformed the study of Statistics, modernised the teaching of Econometrics, and raised the level and rigour of Quantitative Economics Studies at our School. This modernisation came to be applied to all the Schools of Economics and Management in our country.
His Probabilities for Statistics, from his lecture notes, became the reference manual for Statistics in Portugal. Even today, renamed as “An Introduction to Statistics”, having been updated and expanded by three of his ex-students and colleagues, this is still the reference manual used in our School, and in others in Portugal.
Operational Research was another subject that Bento Murteira introduced in our country. He was responsible for delivering the first lectures on Linear Programming, Game Theory and Decision Theory.
In 1953, he studied for his doctorate on ‘Self-Corrective Processes’, under the supervision of Maurice Kendall, one of the great statisticians of the 20
th Century. He developed an early interest in the study of Time Series and Forecasting, which he promoted as a study subject in the early 1980s, when such topics were still very little known in our country.
At the same time, he introduced the Bayesian perspective for the study of statistics, and produced an excellent and voluminous introduction text on the subject, as was his habit for all the subjects he studied and introduced. Returning to the study of Descriptive Statistics in the 1990s, he again innovated the teaching of this subject by placing emphasis on Exploratory Data Analysis, as a precursor to contemporary interest in the study of “Big Data”.
Bento Murteira is one of those rare experts in his subject, who for decades and decades contributed to innovate both himself and teaching scientifically – he was one of the rare experts in his field whose influence has spread, and indeed is still being propagated today in teaching and research.
The Dean’s Office
ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics & Management
Universidade de Lisboa