London: Taylor and Francis, 1900. 1st Edition. BOUND FIRST EDITION OF A SEMINAL PAPER IN THE HISTORY OF STATISTICS, Pearson’s 'chi-squared' goodness of fit test, "one of the most useful of all statistical tests" and "one of Pearson's greatest single contributions to statistical methodology" (DSB). Pearson had found “the exact chi-square distribution from the family of Gamma distributions” — the import of this being that statisticians could now use statistical methods that did not depend solely on the normal distribution to interpret their findings (Magnello, “Karl Pearson”, Rutherford Journal, I, 2005-2006). Where Galton thought all “data had to conform to the normal distribution, Pearson emphasized that empirical distributions could take on any number of shapes” (ibid). His efforts would substantially raise the practice of mathematical statistics and “ushered in a new kind of decision making” (Huber-Carol, Goodness of Fit Tests, 10). Karl Pearson (1857-1936) was a British literary polymath; the quest of his life was to find what he called “philosophical, spiritual and numerical truth” (Karl Pearson and the Origins of Modern Statistics). At Cambridge Pearson had learned to apply mathematics as a pedagogical tool for determining ‘truth’. ”In 1900 Pearson attacked the problem of curve fitting. Having fitted the best available curve to a series of data he asked what the probability that a sample from a population truly represented by his curve should fit it as badly as, or worse than, the sample in question But the question arises `what is a bad fit?' Pearson solved this problem by the invention of the function of observations called Chi-Square, which increases as the fit becomes worse. This has turned out to be an immensely powerful tool, and is used on a huge scale it is used as a test of agreement with hypothesis wherever the hypothesis is tested by counting individuals He obtained a solution of a problem which was of such generality that it had entirely unexpected applications" (J.B.S. Haldane, in Pearson and Kendall, Studies in the History of Statistics and Probability, Volume I, pp. 433). “Pearson’s legacy of establishing the foundations to contemporary mathematical statistics helped to create the modern world view, for his statistical methodology not only transformed our vision of nature, but it also gave scientists a set of quantitative tools to conduct research, accompanied with a universal scientific language that standardized scientific writing in the twentieth century” (Magnello). In an article entitled "Trial by Number", [Ian] Hacking says that the goodness of fit chi-square test introduced by Karl Pearson… places among the top 20 discoveries since 1900 considering all branches of science and technology" (C.R. Rao, "Karl Pearson Chi-Square Test: The Dawn of Statistical Inference”). Item #751
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Taylor and Francis. Complete bound volume, inclusive of 5 plates. 4to (8.75 x 5.75 inches; 219 x 144mm). , 624, , 4. Bearing discreet library stamp on the title page and slight ghosting from an old paper label at the spine. Handsomely and solidly bound in contemporary three quarter brown calf over marbled paper boards; scuffing, chipping, and rubbing at the edges of both the boards and the spine. Five gilt-ruled raised bands at the spine; gilt armorial devices in the compartments. Gilt-lettered morocco spine labels. There is some toning to the five plates at the end, otherwise clean and bright.