The Kaplan-Meier method of survival estimation is named for the two scientists - Edward Kaplan and Paul Meier - that independently came up with the mathematics involved in this technique (described below). Both separately submitted this concept to the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and were subsequently convinced by the journal’s editor (John Tukey) to combine their work, giving this analysis its now widely-recognizable name.
Of the two methods that Prism offers for survival analysis, the nonparametric method utilizing the Kaplan-Meier (product limit) estimator to generate survival curves is much easier to compute, and the rest of this section covers the details of exactly how these calculations can be done by hand. Fortunately, Prism takes care of all of this math for you, so all you need to do is enter your data: Prism takes care of the rest. To learn more about how to perform Kaplan-Meier survival analysis in Prism, skip to this How-to page. To see how you can perform these calculations manually, continue to the next page on the mathematics of Kaplan-Meier survival analysis!