Cover: Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods, from Harvard University PressCover: Statistics on the Table in PAPERBACK

Statistics on the Table

The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods

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Product Details


$33.00 • £26.95 • €29.50

ISBN 9780674009790

Publication: September 2002


504 pages

5-7/8 x 8-15/16 inches

24 line illustrations, 34 tables


In Statistics on the Table, statistician and historian of science Stephen M. Stigler collects and revises 22 of his scholarly and often witty essays from the past 25 years reflecting the combination of detective work and statistical thinking that characterize his research.—Valerie M. Chase, American Scientist

[This book’s] title comes from a letter written to the London Times in 1910 by the statistician Karl Pearson, exhorting critics of one of his studies to set aside mere opinions and put their ‘statistics on the table.’ Stigler uses this and other stories to relate the history of his subject, describing along the way the idiosyncratic individuals who have brought logic and mathematical rigor to a frequently confusing area of analysis. The reader who is not alarmed by the occasional graph or simple equation will find this a penetrating and entertaining account.Science News

Stephen Stigler’s 1986 book The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900 was greeted with enthusiasm by both staticians and historians for its penetrating overview of developments in probabilistically oriented statistics before 1900. This new volume, too, will be of interest to both statisticians and historians… What is the same in this book—or, indeed, even better—is the sparkling and witty style… This book should without question have a place on the bookshelf of every person interested in the history of statistics.—Ida H. Stamhuis, ISIS

It is great to have these essays collected in one volume… Irony and self-referencing humor abound in this book, making it entertaining; and clear exposition, thorough research, and insightful descriptions of key developments and personalities make it very much worth your time and money.—Russell V. Lenth, American Statistician

Mainstream statistical topics (e.g., maximum likelihood, degrees of freedom, regression toward the mean) and various statistical writers (particularly Karl Pearson, Jevons, Edgeworth, Galton, Bayes, Gauss and Cauchy) are discussed, as well as some historical curiosities… Any biometrician should find plenty in it to fascinate, enlighten and entertain.—D.A. Preece, Biometrics

[This is] a lively and controversial history…well captured in the second major book on the history of statistics by Stephen M. Stigler… In reading this collection, I was struck with the amount of scholarship and thought that went into each of the essays and with the liveliness and wit of the author’s writing style.—Paul S. Levy, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

If you have an interest in the history of statistics and also history in relationship to statistics, you will want this book. The standard for scholarship within the statistical community has never been any higher than it is here.Technometrics

Stigler’s useful, readable, and valuable book, with its numerous illuminating illustrations and plentiful insights, is an authoritative and definitive work in the early development of mathematical statistics, and a delightful examination in witty detail of the contributions of Gauss, Laplace, deMoivre, Bayes, Galton, Lexis, James Bernoulli, Quetelet, Edgeworth, and others. With humor and conviction, Stigler describes vividly the events leading to the emergence of statistical concepts and methods.—D.V. Chopra, Choice

A well-selected collection of 22 essays—some involving major central mathematical ideas, others of a more popular nature—that vividly explore a number of interesting topics about a subject with so many diverse applications.—Nestor Osorio, Library Journal