Cover: The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900, from Harvard University PressCover: The History of Statistics in PAPERBACK

The History of Statistics

The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900

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Product Details


$42.00 • £33.95 • €38.00

ISBN 9780674403413

Publication Date: 03/01/1990

Academic Trade

432 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

28 halftones, 25 line illustrations

Belknap Press


  • Introduction
  • I. 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 Euler
      • 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
      • The Genesis of Inverse Probability
      • Laplace’s Memoirs of 1777–1781
      • The Error Curve of 1777
      • Bayes and the Binomial
      • Laplace the Analyst
      • Nonuniform Prior Distributions
      • The Central Limit Theorem
    • The Gauss–Laplace Synthesis
      • Gauss in 1809
      • Reenter Laplace
      • A Relative Maturity: Laplace and the Tides of the Atmosphere
      • The Situation in 1827
  • II. The Struggle to Extend a Calculus of Probabilities to the Social Sciences
    • 5. Quetelet’s Two Attempts
      • The de Keverberg Dilemma
      • The Average Man
      • The Analysis of Conviction Rates
      • Poisson and the Law of Large Numbers
      • Poisson and Juries
      • Comte and Poinsot
      • Cournot’s Critique
      • The Hypothesis of Elementary Errors
      • The Fitting of Distributions: Quetelismus
    • 6. Attempts to Revive the Binomial
      • Lexis and Binomial Dispersion
      • Arbuthnot and the Sex Ratio at Birth
      • Buckle and Campbell
      • The Dispersion of Series
      • Lexis’s Analysis and Interpretation
      • Why Lexis Failed
      • Lexian Dispersion after Lexis
    • 7. Psychophysics as a Counterpoint
      • The Personal Equation
      • Fechner and the Method of Right and Wrong Cases
      • Ebbinghaus and Memory
  • III. A Breakthrough in Studies of Heredity
    • 8. The English Breakthrough: Galton
      • Galton, Edgeworth, Pearson
      • Galton’s Hereditary Genius and the Statistical Scale
      • Conditions for Normality
      • The Quincunx and a Breakthrough
      • Reversion
      • Symmetric Studies of Stature
      • Data on Brothers
      • Estimating Variance Components
      • Galton’s Use of Regression
      • Correlation
    • 9. The Next Generation: Edgeworth
      • The Critics’ Reactions to Galton’s Work
      • Pearson’s Initial Response
      • Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
      • Edgeworth’s Early Work in Statistics
      • The Link with Galton
      • Edgeworth, Regression, and Correlation
      • Estimating Correlation Coefficients
      • Edgeworth’s Theorem
    • 10. Pearson and Yule
      • Pearson the Statistician
      • Skew Curves
      • The Pearson Family of Curves
      • Pearson versus Edgeworth
      • Pearson and Correlation
      • Yule, the Poor Law, and Least Squares: The Second Synthesis
      • The Situation in 1900
  • Appendix A. Syllabus for Edgeworth’s 1885 Lectures
  • Appendix B. Syllabus for Edgeworth’s 1892 Newmarch Lectures
  • Suggested Readings
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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