I have seen Gauss claim in certain literature that he had been using the principle of least squares even before Legendre defined it. (It was probably a document calculating the orbit of the asteroid Ceres.)

However, I don't think it claims ownership of ordinary least squares, so I'm asking a question. Did Gauss ever explicitly claim ordinary least squares as his own? If Gauss claimed ownership, in what literature did he make the claim?

  • $\begingroup$ Why are you creating a new account for each question? And "I don't think it claims" based on what? $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Jun 7 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold There are two main reasons for creating a new account for each question. First, I never want my identity to be identified, so I leave as little evidence as possible. Second, since I have a personality that is close to myeloid, I don't want to have to go through the hassle of clearing my Internet history every time, so I use the secret tab every time I use the math history exchange. Therefore, I create a new account every time I use it. $\endgroup$
    – Lie.
    Commented Jun 7 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold And there is no specific basis for ‘I don’t think it claims’. I might answer, 'Because Gauss did not explicitly claim ordinary least squares as his own,' but to be a little more honest, it's just my feeling. I hope this answers you. :) $\endgroup$
    – Lie.
    Commented Jun 7 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Gauss did claim priority in Theoria Motus (1809), when he first published it, 4 years after Legendre. And then he repeatedly prodded Olbers for seven years to confirm that he knew least squares before Legendre's 1805 publication until Olbers finally indulged, and then reluctantly. However, there is circumstantial evidence that Gauss did use least squares in 1799, see Stigler, Gauss and the Invention of Least Squares. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Jun 7 at 8:25


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