Bienaymé. (English) Zbl 0347.01008

Proc. of the 40th Session (Warsaw, 1975), Vol. 2. Invited papers. Bull. Int. Stat. Inst. 46, No. 2, 318-331 (1975).
Summary: This paper is intended to summarize the main scientific contributions of I.-J. Bienaymé [1796–1878]. Bienaymé was a civil servant and academician; he had broad interest and published in the areas of probability and statistics, demography and social statistics. His activities encompassed most of the main statistical interest of his day; linear least squares, life tables and life insurances, population growth, jury modelling, stability of means and electoral analysis. He was partial to controversies and was involved in a violent one with Cauchy; and much concerned with defending and elaborating the work of Laplace. Most importantly, Bienaymé had a number of striking theoretical insights whose significance was little appreciated in his time. These contributions were forgotten and later authors have been credited with a number of his important discoveries. The most significant among these include the notion of a sufficient statistic [Soc. Philomat. Paris, Extraits, 37–43 (1840)] and the criticality theorem for branching processes [ibid., Ser. 5, 37–39 (1845)]. Bienaymé is ordinarily only remembered today for his elucidation [C. R. Acad. Sci., Paris 37, 309–324 (1853)] of least squares theory; and in connection with the so-called (Bienaymé-) Chebyshev inequality.


01A55 History of mathematics in the 19th century
60-03 History of probability theory
62-03 History of statistics

Biographic References:

Bienaymé, Irénée-Jules