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History of statisticsThe history of statistics can be said to start around 1749 although, over time, there have beenchange...
and classification of data generally in the early 19th century. It was introduced into English in 1791by Sir John Sinclair...
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History of statistics


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History of statistics

  1. 1. History of statisticsThe history of statistics can be said to start around 1749 although, over time, there have beenchanges to the interpretation of the word statistics. In early times, the meaning was restricted toinformation about states. This was later extended to include all collections of information of all types,and later still it was extended to include the analysis and interpretation of such data. In modern terms,"statistics" means both sets of collected information, as in national accounts and temperature records,and analytical work which requires statistical inference.Statistical activities are often associated with models expressed using probabilities, andrequire probability theory for them to be put on a firmtheoretical basis: see History of probability.A number of statistical concepts have had an important impact on a wide range of sciences. Theseinclude the design of experiments and approaches to statistical inference such as Bayesian inference,each of which can be considered to have their own sequence in the development of the ideasunderlying modern statistics.By the 18th century, the term "statistics" designated the systematiccollection of demographic and economic data by states. In the early 19th century, the meaning of"statistics" broadened to include the discipline concerned with the collection, summary, and analysis ofdata. Today statistics is widely employed in government, business, and all the sciences.Electronic computers have expedited statistical computation, and have allowed statisticians to develop"computer-intensive" methods.The term "mathematical statistics" designates the mathematical theories of probability and statisticalinference, which are used in statistical practice. The relation between statistics and probability theorydeveloped rather late, however. In the 19th century, statistics increasingly used probability theory,whose initial results were found in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly in the analysis of games ofchance (gambling). By 1800, astronomy used probability models and statistical theories, particularlythe method of least squares, which was invented by Legendre and Gauss. Early probability theory andstatistics was systematized and extended by Laplace; following Laplace, probability and statistics havebeen in continual development. In the 19th century, statistical reasoning and probability models wereused by social scientists to advance the new sciences of experimental psychologyand sociology, andby physical scientists in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The development of statisticalreasoning was closely associated with the development of inductive logic and the scientific method.Statistics can be regarded as not a field of mathematics but an autonomous mathematical science,like computer science and operations research. Unlike mathematics, statistics had its origins in publicadministration. It is used in demography and economics. With its emphasis on learning from data andmaking best predictions, statistics has a considerable overlap with decisionscience and microeconomics. With its concerns with data, statistics has overlap with informationscience and computer science.EtymologyLook up statistics in wiktionary, the free dictionary.The term statistics is ultimately derived from the New Latin statisticum collegium ("council of state")and the Italian word statista ("statesman" or "politician"). The German Statistik, first introducedby Gottfried Achenwall (1749), originally designated the analysis of data about the state, signifying the"science of state" (then called political arithmetic in English). It acquired the meaning of the collection
  2. 2. and classification of data generally in the early 19th century. It was introduced into English in 1791by Sir John Sinclair when he published the first of 21 volumes titled Statistical Account of Scotland.[1]Thus, the original principal purpose of Statistik was data to be used by governmental and (oftencentralized) administrative bodies. The collection of data about states and localities continues, largelythrough national and international statistical services. In particular, censuses provide frequentlyupdated information about the population.The first book to have statistics in its title was "Contributions to Vital Statistics" by Francis GP Neison,actuary to the Medical Invalid and General Life Office (1st ed., 1845; 2nd ed., 1846; 3rd ed., 1857).1654 -- Pascal -- mathematics of probability, in correspondence with Fermat1662 -- William Petty and John Graunt -- first demographic studies1713 -- Jakob Bernoulli -- Ars Conjectandi1733 -- DeMoivre -- Approximatio; law of error (similar to standard deviation)1763 -- Rev. Bayes -- An essay towards solving a problem in the Doctrine of Chances, foundation for "Bayesianstatistics"1805 -- A-M Legendre -- least square method1809 -- C. F. Gauss -- Theoria Motus Corporum Coelestium1812 -- P. S. Laplace -- Théorie analytique des probabilités1834 -- Statistical Society of London established1853 -- Adolphe Quetelet -- organized first international statistics conference; applied statistics to biology;described the bell-shaped curve1877 -- F. Galton -- regression to the mean1888 -- F. Galton -- correlation1889 -- F. Galton -- Natural Inheritance1900 -- Karl Pearson -- chi square; applied correlation to natural selection1904 -- Spearman -- rank (non-parametric) correlation coefficient1908 -- "Student" (W. S. Gossett) -- The probable error of the mean; the t-test1919 -- R. A. Fisher -- ANOVA; evolutionary biology1930s -- Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson (son of Karl Pearson) -- type II errors, power of a test, confidenceintervals