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A History of Mathematical Statistics from 1750 to 1930 (Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics) 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0471179122
ISBN-10: 0471179124
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Editorial Reviews


"This book is a great asset to all statisticians...an educational, insightful, and quite enjoyable book." (Chance, April-June 2002)

From the Publisher

Within this text, the author will discuss not only the history of mathematical statistics and applications from 1750 to 1930, but will also include the life stories and works of the great philosophers who participated in the development of probability theory and statistics. Provides a detailed look at the development and interaction of four topics: direct probability theory and games of chance; inverse probability by Bayes and Laplace; the normal distribution, the method of least squares, and the central limit theorem, and selected topics in estimation theory.

Product Details

  • Series: Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics (Book 314)
  • Hardcover: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition (April 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471179124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471179122
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,631,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Hald is a well known Danish statistician who previously published a book titled "A History of Probability and Statistics and Their Application before 1750". This book is a sequel to that one. I have not read his earlier work but have read other fine historical accounts by Stigler, Porter and most recently "The Lady Tasting Tea" by Salsburg. This book is up to the high standards set by these other fine authors.
Prior to the late 1800s there was very little theory for statistics. There were many interesting developments in probability prior to 1750 and nearly all of them dealt with gambling situations. One does not need to read Hald's earlier work to be up on these writings as he summarizes many of the key works of James and Nicholas Bernoulli, and de Moivre in Chapter 2 along with the post 1750 work of Laplace and Lagrange.

His Preface describes the aim of the book and relates it to other works. Chapter 1 then maps out the plan of the book. The first three parts of the book cover the period from 1750 to 1853 and the final part covers selected developments in estimation theory from 1830-1935. Part 1 deals with direct or frequentist probability as it developed from 1750 to 1805. Part 2 deals with inverse probability or subjective (Bayesian) probability as it developed from the posthumous publication of Bayes' treatise by Price in 1764 (Bayes died in 1761) and developed as a principle of probability by Laplace in 1774 to its continued development through 1812. Laplace's principle of indifference was rekindled with further developments in Bayesian methods by Jeffreys in the 1930s. Part 3 begins with Gauss in 1809 and covers the early history of the central limit theorem, least squares and the normal distribution.
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