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History of Statistics (up to ~1900)

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Elena Yudovina.

In the 1833-43 Penn Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Statistics is defined as “that department of political science which is concerned in collecting and arranging facts illustrative of the condition and resources of a state. To reason upon such facts and to draw conclusions from them is not within the province of statistics; but is the business of the statesman and of the political economist.”

I will attempt to sketch the evolution of statistics as we know it (which does draw conclusions from data), from the mid-17th century (essentially, combinatorics) to the early 20th century (when it starts requiring a working knowledge of maths).

The talk requires knowing no statistics whatsoever.

This talk is part of the Statistical Laboratory Graduate Seminars series.

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