How Probability and Statistics Came About
Probability is the likely hood of something occurring. During the 1650’s in France, Probabilities made its debut. Gambling was popular, stylish and had no rules applied to it. As gaming gained in popularity, games became more complicated. Risk factor was raised, and there was a necessity to be able to compute mathematical chance. A gambler by the name of De Mere looked toward a math man by the name Blaise Pascal for answers. Pascal reached out to his friend Pierre Fermat, and the two came up with the beginnings of Probability. The pair’s findings are understood to be Classic Probabilities which requires a game to be broken down into equal chances. Another type of probabilities is called the frequency method which is when a game is repeated, the probability of winning is determined by the outcome of the played games. In modern times, the study of probabilities is called Measure Theory (“Probability and statistics | mathematics,” 2018).
Important Mathematicians in Probabilities
Blaise Pascal – French
Blaise Pascal was born June 19, 1623, in Clermont-Ferrand, France. He was very versatile. He was an inventor, writer, philosopher, physicist, as well as a mathematician. His father educated him, and Pascal was a child prodigy. When he was a teenager, Pascal he spent much of his time on trying to invent a machine to compute math and in the process made over 50 proto-types before finally creating a working machine. Blaise Pascal was known for his creation of the mechanical calculator, but he also contributed significantly to research areas such as probability theory (Chew, 2018). The communication between Pascal and a colleague became the foundations for Mathematics Probabilities. He is a central force behind the development of probabilities. Pascal’s health was poor, and he died on August 19, 1662, at the age of 39.
Jacob Bernoulli- Swiss
Jacob Bernoulli was a Swiss mathematician who was born on January 6, 1665, in Basel, Switzerland. He had two brothers, and his father was an important person in the town in which the lived. Bernoulli graduated from the University of Basel receiving a master’s degree in philosophy in 1671. In 1683, Bernoulli was employed by the University of Basel and taught mechanics. He also began studying the new discoveries in the field of mathematics and started his own research on the topic. What Bernoulli exposed was that if an experiment is repeated numerous times, then the relative frequency with which an event happens is the probability of the event. Later, he came up with the Law of Large Numbers in Probability Theory. Bernoulli died August 16, 1705 at the age of 41 (“Jakob Bernoulli | Swiss mathematician,” 2018).
Statistics is the study of gathering, studying, and forming conclusions from a set of data. In the 9th century, an Islamic Mathematician named Al-Kindi was the first to use statistics to decode messages using a frequency algorithm. There was quite a substantial break in time before statistics came to the head again. In 1749 at a German University Gottfried Achenwall used the word statistik. Statistik means political science of different countries. Then in the late 19th and early 20th century more work with statistics began again. William Gosset came up with systems for decision making based on small set of data. During this time, several statisticians were also active in evolving new methods, theories and application of statistics. Today, the availability of electronic computers is undeniably a substantial factor in the modern development of statistics (“Probability and statistics | mathematics,” 2018).
Important Mathematicians in Statistics
David Harold Blackwell – African-American
An important African- American statistician was a man by the name of David Harold Blackwell and he was born April 24, 1919. He was a mathematician who made crucial contributions to game theory, probability theory, information theory, and Bayesian statistics. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was to study elementary school mathematics and he had planned to become a teacher. In 1938, Blackwell received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in 1939, and was awarded a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1941 when he was just 22 years old, all from the University of Illinois.
After college, Dr. Blackwell taught at many African-American colleges before becoming employed at the University of California, Berkeley in their Statistics department. In 1969, he wrote a Bayesian, Basic Statistics textbooks which was one of the first of its kind. Blackwell also became President of the American Statistical Society and the very first Black faculty member of University of California at Berkley. He had an enormous impact on Math and Statistics. Blackwell died in 2010 from a stroke (“Blackwell, David Harold (1919-2010) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed”, 2018).
Karl Pearson- English
Karl Pearson was born March 27, 1857, in London, England. Pearson was a British statistician and a leading founder of the modern field of statistics. In 1875, he attended the University of Cambridge on a scholarship. In 1884, Pearson became a professor of applied mathematics and mechanics at University College, London. He taught graphical methods to engineering students, and his work became the basis for his first interest, statistics. Pearson played an important role in the making of modern statistics. He highlighted measuring correlations and making data fit curves, and he established the new chi-square distribution. Pearson’s findings were vital to not only mathematics and statistics but also to fields like biology, medicine, psychology and social history. He died on April 27, 1936 at the age of 79 (“Karl Pearson | British mathematician,” 2018).
How Probability and Statistics Came About