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Questions tagged [statistics]

For questions about the science that deals with classification, analysis and interpretation of numerical facts and data.

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Data that motivated early discussions about the mean and about error distributions

The way in which scientists should deal with errors in observations of natural phenomena was a subject of much debate over a period of about 150 years between around 1720 and 1870. The history is well ...
CrimsonDark's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did Ronald Fisher ever say anything on varying the threshold of significance level?

There has been a growing chorus against the conventional NHST (Null Hypothesis Significance Testing). One thing is the blind usage of a monolithic significance level $5\%.$ In a recent thread at CV, ...
User1865345's user avatar
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Why is the standard deviation bias correction factor called c₄?

The term to remove bias from an estimate of standard deviation for a normal distribution is referred to as $c_4$. What is the origin or reason for using that notation for the correction factor?
feetwet's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Who coined the term "signal-to-noise ratio" and when did statisticians start using the term "noise" to describe randomness?

I'm writing about the history of the concept of noise and am having trouble tracking down references from when the term "noise" started being associated with statistical noise such as ...
vy32's user avatar
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1 answer
133 views

Where to find average man/woman drawings as proposed by Quetelet?

Where to find average man/woman drawings as proposed by Adolphe Quetelet? Drawings along the years would be very nice. He proposed the idea of average man in 1835 (see https://historyofinformation.com/...
Humberto José Bortolossi's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
95 views

Were many (famous) theoretical laws in science based on "Statistical Regression"?

In a essay about the meaning of life, the famous scientist Schrodinger once said "Physical laws rest on atomic statistics and are therefore only approximate" (http://www.whatislife.ie/...
stats_noob's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
114 views

Historical examples of frauds discovered because someone tried to mimic a uniform random sequence

So, I'm preparing a talk about the well known fact that humans are bad at the task of generating uniformly random sequences of numbers when asked to do so. I would like to spice the talk a bit by ...
Swike's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
129 views

What factors influence whether an invention is not patented?

Various inventions that have become well-known were never patented, including matches, emoticons, and the magnetic strip. Other noteworthy examples include the polio vaccine (Jonas Salk), monoclonal ...
Max Muller's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
200 views

When did E. Hopf say "ergodic theory is statistics and statistics is measure theory"?

In the archived version of Kolmogorov's Foundations of the Theory of Probability, at the very end of the book, p. $84,$ few books have been listed, one being E. Hopf's Ergodentheorie, where it is ...
User1865345's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
138 views

Why Was Sequential Analysis Classified?

In the Introduction of his "Sequential Analysis" Wald writes that Because of the usefulness of the sequential probability ratio test in development work on military and naval equipment, it ...
hyportnex's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
123 views

Kolmogorov on frequentists versus Bayesians

What was Kolmogorov's attitude regarding the frequentist versus Bayesian statistics controversies? Did he ever write or speak about his own views on Fisher or de Finetti, Jeffreys, etc.? Or were those ...
hyportnex's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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What is the S notation in Student's The Probable Error of a Mean?

In William S. Gosset's The Probable Error of a Mean (JSTOR), he begins to derive the $t$ sampling distribution as follows. Samples of $n$ individuals are drawn out of a population distributed ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

What is the earliest use of the $\perp\!\!\!\!\perp$ symbol in statistics to denote statistical independence?

The symbol $\perp\!\!\!\!\perp$ in statistics is a way to denote statistical independence of a collection of random variables. I have seen two forms of it. The first is highly suitable in writing ...
Galen's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
55 views

Can anyone recommend sources on the standardisation of research methods in modern (20th-21st c) science?

I’m interested in learning more about how statistical methodology and research design has changed over the course of the 20th and 21st century. I’m particularly interested in ways in which research ...
Know-Nothing-Bozo's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
143 views

Where does the abomination that is probability notation come from? [closed]

Those with experience may deny it, having suffered too long ago. But it stares you in the face with the somnolent, expressionless eyes of every student being exposed the first time. Probability ...
Mitch's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
304 views

Are statistics racist?

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is a proposition and an area of study of medicine for which I am very fond. However, a few days ago, talking to some friends, I was confronted with a very critical ...
Sullo's user avatar
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1 answer
128 views

Why some calculations noted as "sym^2" and "sym", while others noted as "symA" and "symB", where "symB" is the square root of "symA"?

Today I learnt that the standard deviation is calculated as square root of the mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic mean of the distribution. The mean of the squares of the ...
Arunabh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
141 views

Why was the term random "variable" applied to a mapping?

I think I'm correct in saying a random variable is a mapping from the sample space to the real line (or more generally to $\mathbb{R}^n$. If I'm right then random variable seems a very odd way for a ...
TonyK's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
256 views

Who said that math or statistics is not free from class interest?

I'm not 100% sure this is the right site for this question, but here it goes. An already dead professor said in a lecture that Stalin (or perhaps another communist leader) wrote once something along ...
lfba's user avatar
  • 171
-1 votes
1 answer
197 views

Did Egon Pearson have a PhD?

Did the statistician Egon Pearson have a PhD? If not, to what extent did he write a dissertation?
user551504's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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Who was the first person to propose the idea that consciousness arises from complexity?

The origin of consciousness has been a major scientific and philosophic debate since ever. Sometimes the origin is considered a philosophical issue, while others consider it a physics issue. Most ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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1 answer
138 views

Where can I find the historical information or the stats related to Winning WW2 with the minimum actions using The Bombe Machine of Alan Turing?

I am doing a marathon of data visualizations with real world datasets. I am interested in historical war datasets. Does anybody know about the historical data on The Bombe Machine cracking the codes ...
rubengavidia0x's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
242 views

Markov chains origins and how is Christianity involved

In a book called Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View by Cosma Rohilla Shalizi, page 405, the first instance of "Markov process" is accompanied by a footnote which reads ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
150 views

In which work was Gibbs' Inequality introduced?

Gibbs' inequality $$-\sum\limits_{i=1}^n p_{i} \cdot \log{p_{i}} \le -\sum\limits_{i=1}^n p_{i} \cdot \log{q_{i}}$$ is such a popular thing that I cannot find where it was introduced. My findings I ...
Charlie's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
212 views

How long have people been debunking the P value (statistical significance) as commonly used in the human sciences: medicine, psychology and so on?

I have been puzzled for a long time at the way psychologists and medical researchers state that they have 'significant' results, and at the way this statement is relayed to the public who are misled ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
102 views

Examples of when statistical distributions like Binomial or Normal distribution was critical in a law/policy decision, in a court case or otherwise

This was closed as off-topic on math.se, and it was suggested I post this here, so here goes. Firstly, I am aware that this thread exists, and I'll definitely be ordering a copy of the book, "...
Adam Rubinson's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
131 views

Stories about the consequences of statistical simplification?

I am currently preparing a presentation about the value of more complex (specically: non-Gaussian) statistical inference. I thought it might be interesting to start the presentation with a small real-...
J.Galt's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
120 views

Where was statistics taught in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Here is a fragment from Anders Hald's A History of Probability and Statistics and Their Applications before 1750: The original meaning of statistics is thus a collection of facts of interest to a ...
Pedro's user avatar
  • 191
2 votes
0 answers
102 views

Why is William Playfair seldom heard about in mathematics?

William Playfair was a Scottish engineer and economist, who invented the pie and bar charts as well as the line graph, which have all played an indubitably ubiquitous role in modern statistics. I hadn'...
TheQuantumObsession's user avatar
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162 views

How was mathematics used in World War II to "act on the right amount of intelligence"?

In the movie "The Imitation Game", Alan Turing along with his team crack the German encryption machine Enigma but advises his superiors to not act on all decrypted intelligence, as that might lead to ...
Train Heartnet's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
267 views

Why is a time series not called a time sequence?

In pure mathematics, a sequence is a list of terms, for instance $1, \frac12, \frac14, \dots, \frac{1}{2^k},\dots$, and a series is the sum of an infinite sequence, for instance $\sum_{k=1}^\infty \...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
111 views

Significance level $\alpha$ values - who devised to use $\alpha = 5 \%$?

In a statistical hypotheses testing a significance level $\alpha$ has to be set. The most often, $\alpha$ is set to be 5 %, sometimes 1 % and 10 % values are used. Value of $\alpha$ tells us what is ...
Martin Vesely's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
415 views

Quotation about $\pi$ and the number of deaths

I read more than once a story which took place, if memory serves me well, in England, in the XIXth century. A statistician (or a mathematician) was making computations about life expectancy (or ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
166 views

How did Weibull derive the three parameter Weibull distribution?

How did Weibull or any other mathematician arrive at the above expression? I saw the 1951 paper, but it is not clear to me. In 1939 he had published a book called "A Statistical Theory of the Strength ...
boeing777's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
163 views

Where does $M$ for expected value in Russian papers come from?

In modern papers in statistics, it is common to use the symbol $E[X]$ to refer to the expectation of a random variable $X$. While reading (a translated version of) "Convergence Rate of Nonparametric ...
cdwe's user avatar
  • 123
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do many names of technical and scientific subjects end with "ics"?

The names of many technical and scientific subjects, like mathematics, physics, statistics, etc., etc., end with letters "ics". What is meant by this, if anything? Was there any logic behind it or is ...
FAHDI GORSY's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
199 views

How is the word kernel associated with distributions?

I am trying to rationalize the meaning of the term kernel, especially when it is associated with distributions. The English and German etymology all show that the literal meaning is corn (English) and ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,079
1 vote
0 answers
31 views

Introduction of shape parameters in the formulation of probability distribution

I'm familiar with the definition of location, scale, and shape parameters, and the type of distributions they parametrized. I'm interested in understanding how shape parameters became part of the ...
MMphysics's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
153 views

Where did the story about Newcomb observing Benford’s Law come from?

The story goes that in the 1880s Newcomb noticed that logarithm tables were more worn down towards the beginning of the book (where the leading digit of the logs were 1). This led him to formulate an ...
Alice.Sumarno's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
421 views

How did Quetelet discover that the body mass is proportional to the squared height?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) compares body masses on the assumption they scale with height squared, not cubed, an example of allometry. BMI is due to Lambert Quetelet. Why did he settle on this power law?...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 1,720
1 vote
0 answers
79 views

Who came up with a number of the theoretical plates equation?

In chromatography, the signal is shaped like a Gaussian peak, and it is plotted against time vs. instrument's signal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatography#/media/File:Rt_5_12.png (a) One of ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,079
0 votes
1 answer
73 views

Real effects long thought to be coincidences

What examples are there of scientific effects or correlations that we now know to be real, and were known about for a long time but thought to be coincidences? To give an example of the kind of thing ...
user7951's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the etymology of the term "mode" in statistics?

I saw that the word "mode" means "popular" in French, and I was wondering if this might be the etymology of the "mode" of a population in stat? I was wondering if anyone had sources for early use of ...
yberman's user avatar
  • 173
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why statistical moments are called moments?

According to the Jeff Miller's Earliest Known Uses of the Words of Mathematics "Moment was taken into Statistics from Mechanics by Karl Pearson when he treated the frequency-curve (or observation ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,079
0 votes
0 answers
267 views

Statistical Power as a Microscope Metaphor

An answer on this question on the cross validated stack exchange compared statistical power to a microscope, such that "in order to see small things you need a powerful microscope" is analogous to "in ...
Jay Schyler Raadt's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
457 views

Law of the Unconscious Statistician - history of the term?

The "Law of the Unconscious Statistician" states that, for a random variable $X$ with density $f_X(x)$ and a function of it $h(X)$ we have that $$E[h(X)] = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} f_X(x)h(x) dx$$ ...
Alecos Papadopoulos's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
96 views

What is Peirce doing in this pre-Chi-squared example?

In 1878, C. S. Peirce performed a calculation that (I think) would be better done using chi-squared testing — but Pearson hasn’t introduced that yet. What exactly is Peirce doing here in the last ...
JPM's user avatar
  • 171
5 votes
3 answers
235 views

How was the idea of observation error introduced?

The first thing a contemporary student of physics learns is the measurement error. As far as I understand, the idea of imprecision was totally foreign to natural philosophers at least until the end of ...
user58697's user avatar
  • 330
1 vote
0 answers
131 views

Historical development of role of astrology in medicine?

The OED defines "iatromathematics" as Practising medicine in conjunction with astrology. Pre-17th century, it seems most scientists (physicians included) believed in the influence of the stars on ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,371
1 vote
1 answer
305 views

Galileo and normal distribution discovery

If differential equation theory was known and also studied by Galileo, so why he didn't manage to discover a normal distribution (its discovery had to wait for Laplace and Gauss)?
Lil'Lobster's user avatar