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Drawing the boundaries: Mathematical statistics in 20th-Century America. (English) Zbl 0845.01006
In 1839 a group of researchers from economics, medicine and social reform for whom descriptive statistics served as a tool for study on the society founded the American Statistical Association (ASA), led by Lemuel Shattuck. They published a single volume of Collections of the ASA from 1843-1847. Dr. Edward Javis joined the ASA in 1844 and was its president since 1852 for 32 years. The mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880) developed the first significance test for rejecting of outliers. He played a key role in directing the professionalization of science. His son Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1924) shared his father’s interest in mathematical statistics. But generally publications and courses in mathematical statistics were seldom.
In the 30ies Henry Lewis Rietz (1875-1943) and Crathorne developed mathematical statistics. First evidence of a division between what would become two groups: a mathematical one and a non-mathematical one. In 1929 the mathematician Henry C. Carver (1890-1977) proposed a new journal, the Annals of Mathematical Statistics. In a continuous effort to further their professional interests, in 1935 the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) was founded. A possible affiliation of the IMS with the ASA was in discussion, there were effective financial difficulties. In 1938 the IMS assumed complete financial responsibility for the Annals of Mathematical Statistics.
Since 1933, under the Nazi regime, about 120 mathematicians emigrated from Europe to US, their reception was different. But soon mathematical statisticians played a central role in the defence work in the World War II, they trained workers in methods of statistical quality control and they developed and implemented means of making the equipment used in the war more effective. There arose a willingness of mathematical statisticians to collaborate with the users of statistical techniques, and at the same time called attention to the independent status of the new intellectual domain advancing their professional interests. 84 references.
Reviewer: H.Grimm (Jena)

MSC:
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
62-03 History of statistics
01A74 History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university)
01A80 Sociology (and profession) of mathematics
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