brief summary of the development of statistics

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brief summary of the development of statistics

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Statistics

9/18/2014

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.

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