zbMATH — the first resource for mathematics

On the history of the statistical method in astronomy. (English) Zbl 0553.62001
As in his prior papers on history of statistical methods in sciences [ibid. 22, 323-371 (1980; Zbl 0456.62004); ibid. 26, 241-286 (1982; Zbl 0494.01001), and ”On the history of statistical method in meteorology.” ibid. 31, 53-95 (1984)] the author subdivides the history of statistical methods in three stages and here he studies mainly the second one. His main objects are Titius-Bode-law, minor planets, sunspots, Michell’s problem, proper motion of stars, the statistical method, Newcomb and the theory of probability. Special attention is given to W. Herschel (1738), J. C. Kapteyn (1851-1922), S. Newcomb (1835-1909), R. A. Proctor (1837- 1888) and F. G. W. Struve (1793-1864). The reviewer is missing a hint to E. L. Scott, Statistics in astronomy in the United States, in D. B. Owen (ed.), On the history of statistics and probability (1976; Zbl 0371.62004), pp. 317-331; G. U. Yule, Why do we sometimes get nonsense-correlations between time-series? A study in sampling and the nature of time-series. J. R. Stat. Soc., Ser. 2, 89, 1-64 (1926); and to R. J. Trumpler and H. F. Weaver, Statistical astronomy. (1953). 160 references.
Reviewer: H.Grimm

62-03 History of statistics
85-03 History of astronomy and astrophysics
85A35 Statistical astronomy
01A45 History of mathematics in the 17th century
01A50 History of mathematics in the 18th century
01A55 History of mathematics in the 19th century