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[About Fourier:] It was, no doubt, partially because of his very disregard for rigor that he was able to take conceptual steps which were inherently impossible to men of more critical genius.
In P. Davis and R. Hersh, The Mathematical Experience, Boston: Birkhauser, 1981.
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Statisticians of the Centuries
Statisticians of the Centuries, edited by C. C. Heyde, E. Seneta, 2001, Springer-Verlag New York, Paperback, 500pp. $45.95 ISBN: 0387952837. (800)-777-4643 or email@example.com
Through the thumbnail sketches written by some of today’s distinguished statisticians, we get an idea of the culture and the history of statistics from the 16th through the 20th Centuries. These essays are so neatly linked that the text reads as a continuous document written by one individual, a tribute to the excellent work of the editors. This book is a must-have for teachers of statistics from high school to university who want to expose their classes to the biographies of well-known statisticians. As you read through Statisticians of the Centuries, you are gripped by the excitement that must have been experienced by whose who contributed so much to the development of this discipline as they shared their discoveries through written correspondence with their contemporaries. We read about W. Gosset the brewer who influenced R. A. Fisher, considered the father of modern statistics, and Pascal’s communications to Fermat as well as many others.
This text is a valuable contribution to the history of statistics and an important resource for those who teach this subject. Even a graduate student in search of a topic might find his or her interest sparked by the discussion of the contributions of eminent statisticians such as Hotelling and Deming and might choose to explore the literature emerging from their works that is noted in a bibliography after each essay. There is something here for everyone: the statistical historian, the statistics teacher, the student, and the individual reading for general information.
Winston A. Richards, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, Penn State Harrisburg