What Is The Historical Background Of Statistics?


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Cormac Reynolds answered
In order to determine the historical background of statistics, it is important to first look at what it means. Statistics can be defined as the classification and interpretation of such data in accordance with probability theory and the application of methods such as hypothesizing testing to them and to mathematically analyze the theoretical nature of such distributions and tests.

The first known use of historical statistics is 'Nuova Cronica' (a history of Florence) by Giovanni Villani (a Florentine official) in the 14th century.

Using the above definition, the mathematical strand of statistics is associated with the history of probability and did not emerge until the later 16th century when Gerolamo Cardono, (an Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician and astrologer) published 'Liber de Ludo Aleae' where he calculated the probability of dice throws. 
However, it was not until the late 17th century when Pascal (an influential French mathematician and philosopher) and Fermat (a French lawyer and amateur mathematician) created the mathematical theory of probability.
Today, statistics are no longer solely associated with mathematics and probability and are used to understand data and make informed decisions in a number of fields including agricultural research, public health concerns and industrial quality control.
Founders of statistics include:
  • John Gaunt (1620 - 1674)
  • Thomas Bayes (1702 - 1761)
  • Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749 - 1827)
  • William Playfair (1759 - 1827)
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855)
  • Adolphe Quetelet (1796 - 1874)
  • Florence Nightingale (1820 -1910)
  • Francis Galton (1822 - 1911)
  • Throvald N. Thiele (1838 - 1910)

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