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Tyler James Doro

What is probability and statistics? Well it turns out that the principles of probability and
statistics have been around for a long time; however the exact definitions of these terms were not
introduced until much later. The origin of probability can be traced back to 1200 BC. Back then
they used a crude biased dice to play different games. These games turned into some of the
earliest forms of gambling. With the improvement of dice and other gambling games different
mathematicians started to make generalizations about different outcomes. These different
mathematicians all made different contributions to the fields of probability and statistics.
The first name we see is Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) (who was a serious gambler and
considered the father of probability. Cardano looked into the probability of drawing an ace or
rolling a seven with two die. He reported these findings along with others in his book The
Gambling Scholar. The next few names such as Luca Pacioli (1445-1509), Cardano, and Nicola
Fontana (1499-1557) all looked into points in a mathematical system. Although they all tried
none of them succeeded. This problem was later solved in collaboration by Blaise Pascal (1623-
1662) and Pierrre de Fermat (1601-1665) thus creating mathematical theory of probability. It
wasnt until 1657 that Christian Huygen (1629-1695) wrote a treatise on probability called On
reasoning in games of chance.
The story line of statistics starts a little grimmer. The first person to draw statistical
analyses from data was John Graunt (1620-1674). He created his observations based on mortality
rates from weekly reports of burials. Graunt is considered the Father of Statistics. Following
Graunt a mathematician Edmund Halley (1656-1742) in which he made a careful study of
annuities (Lightner 627). Abraham Demoivre (1667-1754) wrote Doctrine of Chances in
1718 which was the first English treatise on the subject. Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) showed
how calculus could be applied to probability. After Bernoulli, Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-
1827) in 1812 he published Analytical theory of probability which was a compilation of all
that was known at the time about probability and statistics. Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
focused on the normal curve and its equation. In 1829 statistical analysis of census data was
completed by Lamber Adophe Jacquess Quetelet (1796-1874). Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) used
probability to relate genetics and hybridization. Francis Galton (1822-1911) in 1877 discovered
the correlation coefficient and the law of regression. In 1894 Karl Pearson (1857-1936) created
biometrics with the application of probability. Andrey Markov (1856-1922) developed a chain
theory for probabilities. Also Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) created cybernetics by expressing that
probability was the link to physics and mathematics.
With so many contributors making statistics and probability what it is today it is nice to
know that statistics and probability are used in a wide variety of fields. A few fields of study
include; quality controls (sampling of products), statistical finance (emergent properties of
financial markets), statistical physics (probability theory to solve problems), population ecology
(how different species interact with the environment), Biostatistics (medical statistics), and
epidemiology (factors that affect health and illness of populations). These are just a few of the
almost countless fields that use probability and statistics.
I am taking Ind Eng 467 because I no longer have any required math classes to take
at UWM. I always enjoyed math and I thought that this would be close to a math class. Also
this class is required so that ultimately made my decision. I hope to take away from this
class the skills needed to use probability and statistics in my future engineering carrer.