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The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This magnificent book is the first comprehensive history of statistics from its beginnings around 1700 to its emergence as a distinct and mature discipline around 1900. Stephen M. Stigler shows how statistics arose from the interplay of mathematical concepts and the needs of several applied sciences including astronomy, geodesy, experimental psychology, genetics, and sociology. He addresses many intriguing questions: How did scientists learn to combine measurements made under different conditions? And how were they led to use probability theory to measure the accuracy of the result? Why were statistical methods used successfully in astronomy long before they began to play a significant role in the social sciences? How could the introduction of least squares predate the discovery of regression by more than eighty years? On what grounds can the major works of men such as Bernoulli, De Moivre, Bayes, Quetelet, and Lexis be considered partial failures, while those of Laplace, Galton, Edgeworth, Pearson, and Yule are counted as successes? How did Galton's probability machine (the quincunx) provide him with the key to the major advance of the last half of the nineteenth century?

Stigler's emphasis is upon how, when, and where the methods of probability theory were developed for measuring uncertainty in experimental and observational science, for reducing uncertainty, and as a conceptual framework for quantative studies in the social sciences. He describes with care the scientific context in which the different methods evolved and identifies the problems (conceptual or mathematical) that retarded the growth of mathematical statistics and the conceptual developments that permitted major breakthroughs.

Statisticians, historians of science, and social and behavioral scientists will gain from this book a deeper understanding of the use of statistical methods and a better grasp of the promise and limitations of such techniques. The product of ten years of research, The History of Statistics will appeal to all who are interested in the humanistic study of science.

Book News Annotation:

Paperbound edition of a 1986 work focusing on the introduction and development of explicitly probability-based statistical methods in the predisciplinary period before 1900.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Stigler shows how statistics arose from the interplay of mathematical concepts and the needs of several applied sciences including astronomy, geodesy, experimental psychology, genetics, and sociology. His emphasis is upon how, when, and where the methods of probability theory were developed for measuring uncertainty in experimental and observational science, for reducing uncertainty, and as a conceptual framework for quantative studies in the social sciences.

Synopsis:

"The History of Statistics" will appeal to all who are interested in the humanistic study of science.

About the Author

Stephen M. Stigler is Professor of Statistics at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART 1: The Development of Mathematical Statistics in Astronomy and Geodesy before 1827

1. Least Squares and the Combination of Observations

Legendre in 1805
Cotes's Rule
Tobias Mayer and the Libration of the Moon
Saturn, Jupiter, and Enter
Laplace's Rescue of the Solar System
Roger Boscovich and the Figure of the Earth
Laplace and the Method of Situation
Legendre and the Invention of Least Squares

2. Probabilists and the Measurement of Uncertainty

Jacob Bernoulli
De Moivre and the Expanded Binomial
Bernoulli's Failure
De Moivre's Approximation
De Moivre's Deficiency
Simpson and Bayes
Simpson's Crucial Step toward Error
A Bayesian Critique

3. Inverse Probability

Laplace and Inverse Probability
The Choice of Means
The Deduction of a Curve of Errors in 1772-1774

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674403413
Author:
Stigler, Stephen M.
Publisher:
Belknap Press
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Statistics
Subject:
Probability & Statistics - General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Modern - General
Subject:
Statistics -- History.
Subject:
Mathematics | Probability and Statistics
Subject:
Business & Economics-Statistics
Subject:
MATHEMATICS / Probability & Statistics/General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 1990
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
28 halftones; 25 line illustrations
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 23 oz

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Related Subjects

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Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » Statistics

The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900 New Trade Paper
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$35.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Belknap Press - English 9780674403413 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Stigler shows how statistics arose from the interplay of mathematical concepts and the needs of several applied sciences including astronomy, geodesy, experimental psychology, genetics, and sociology. His emphasis is upon how, when, and where the methods of probability theory were developed for measuring uncertainty in experimental and observational science, for reducing uncertainty, and as a conceptual framework for quantative studies in the social sciences.
"Synopsis" by , "The History of Statistics" will appeal to all who are interested in the humanistic study of science.
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