23 votes
Accepted

Hypothesis testing: Fisher vs. Popper vs. Bayes

According to Mayo, Popper did not designate statistical tests implementing his logic of falsification, or as Hilborn and Mangel put it "Popper supplied the philosophy, and Fisher, Neyman and ...
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  • 66k
19 votes

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

It is not random. These names are of Greek origin, and -ic or -ics are Anglicizations of the Greek suffix -ikos, which meant "pertaining to". In other languages it can be rendered as -ika or -ica, ...
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14 votes

Was fake/rigged data common prior to the 20th century?

The notion of "rigged data" evolved with time. Some ancient scientists are accused (by modern scientists) in rigging of the data. One notable example is Ptolemy. I do not want to discuss ...
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12 votes
Accepted

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

The quote is from Lenin, in his instructions to Popov when discussing the project of organizing Soviet statistics in summer of 1918:"Statistics, as any other scientific discipline, poses problems ...
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11 votes
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Quotation about $\pi$ and the number of deaths

Almost. E P Wigner (1960), Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13 1–14 The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences THERE IS A story about two friends, who were ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Where does Markov operator come from?

This is a continuous analog of (transposed) stochastic matrix, the transition matrix in a Markov chain with discrete set of outcomes. These were introduced in 1906 by Markov apparently to disprove ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Who introduced random variables into probability?

Concerning the notation $\text{Pr}(|\xi|>\varepsilon)$ here's what I've found so far: Cajori's 1929 A History of Mathematical Notations says nothing on probability theory, which suggest that the ...
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8 votes

Who introduced random variables into probability?

This question has no definitive answer, because people were operating with random variables long before any rigorous definition was given. Probability theory begins in 16-th century, if not earlier. ...
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6 votes

How was the idea of observation error introduced?

Astronomers had to deal with experimental errors to parametrize their geometric models at least as early as Hipparchus, and possibly earlier. There are some techniques and ad hoc methods that can be ...
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6 votes
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Law of the Unconscious Statistician - history of the term?

This was discussed on Math Forum. According to Elliot, Halmos called it Fundamental Theorem of the Unconscious Statistician as early as 1946, and according to Bernier, Introduction to the Techniques ...
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6 votes
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Where does $M$ for expected value in Russian papers come from?

One would think that Russian usage stems from Kolmogorov's seminal works on probability. However, in Über die Summen durch den Zufall bestimmter unabhängiger Größen (1928) he uses $\mathfrak{M}$ to ...
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6 votes
Accepted

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

Depending on how narrowly the point is pinpointed the dating can be spread out, but it is old, some of it predates the official introduction of NHST by Fisher, see Nickerson, Null Hypothesis ...
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5 votes

Was fake/rigged data common prior to the 20th century?

Charles Babbage (the grandfather of the computer) in the Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, and on Some of Its Causes (1830) writes about misconduct in science and criticizes British ...
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5 votes

How is the word kernel associated with distributions?

Rationalizations that "make sense" are often urban legends after the fact, people who introduce terms rarely make a point of it or report their reasons. The process of spreading is largely by accident ...
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5 votes
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Why is a time series not called a time sequence?

As @Dave L Renfro noticed, the distinction between series and sequence is not old, and it was possible for the same author to use the two terms with different meanings (also in the same article). ...
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4 votes

Hypothesis testing: Fisher vs. Popper vs. Bayes

Into Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934 - 1st Engl.ed.1959) you can find CH.VIII : Probability and several Appendces devoted to probability theory. Bayes [Bayes,Th. 144, 168n, 288–9] ...
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4 votes

When did error propagation become prominent in physics?

I came across this question while trying to figure out when the "law of propagation of error" was first stated, which resulted in this question: When was the "Law of Propagation of ...
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4 votes

Why statistical moments are called moments?

The Oxford English Dictionary shows moment of a force appearing in 1830 in A Treatise on Mechanics by Henry Kater and Dionysius Lardner. So perhaps it is reasonable to guess that Stieltjes and/or ...
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4 votes

Why statistical moments are called moments?

This seems to depend on who you call a statistician, mathematician, or mechanician. Certainly Pearson sounds like he’s using, as a matter of course, a term also found in e.g. Stieltjes (1894, p. 48; ...
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4 votes
Accepted

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

According to this article (in Italian) by Maurizio Codogno, the origin is in an article by Pearson dated 1895 (Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Evolution. II. Skew Variation in Homogeneous ...
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4 votes
Accepted

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

BMI is now widely used for detecting obesity, but Quetelet's motivation was in defining the characteristics of an ‘average man’. Quetelet was one of the early enthusiasts of what we now call ...
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4 votes
Accepted

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

It is easy to name some of these "smart people". Andrei Kolmogorov proposed a mathematical model for probability in his book Grundbegriffe der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung (Foundations of ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Are statistics racist?

In general it is important to check scientific results and methods for racism and other biases, so it's a fair question. One needs to distinguish, however, between the historical origins and the ...
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3 votes

Why statistical moments are called moments?

Moments in mechanics and statistics are defined by the same formula: $$\int x \rho(x)dx,$$ for the first moment. In mechanics, $x$ is distance, and $\rho$ is the mass density. In statistics, $x$ is ...
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3 votes

Hypothesis testing: Fisher vs. Popper vs. Bayes

Please allow a correction: I think your statement "he says that one should sincerely try to disproof hypotheses – and I am quite certain that he didn’t mean the null hypothesis that Fisher formulated ...
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3 votes

Who developed Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) and applied it to machine learning?

The idea of using Gaussian mixtures was popularized by Duda and Hart in their seminal 1973 text, Pattern Classification and Scene Analysis.
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3 votes
Accepted

Galileo and normal distribution discovery

Even aside from the fact that Galileo knew nothing of differential equations, or derivatives for that matter (he lived before Newton and Leibniz), and that the normal distribution was not discovered ...
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3 votes
Accepted

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

It is not a story, Newcomb published his observation in a two page Note on the Frequency of Use of the Different Digits in Natural Numbers (American Journal of Mathematics Vol. 4, No. 1 (1881), pp. 39-...
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3 votes
Accepted

How did Weibull derive the three parameter Weibull distribution?

The paper "Strength of materials and the Weibull distribution" by Eric S. Lindquist in Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics 9 (1994) 191-194 probably has what you want. I found several online copies ...
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