1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Prob/Stats History of Data Analysis?

  1. Feb 9, 2015 #1
    Is anyone aware of any book(s) that presents the history of data analysis techniques? I'm most interested in how scientists during the enlightenment dealt with uncertainties and how techniques for dealing with uncertainty developed over time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2015 #2
    Thanks for the post! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
  4. Feb 14, 2015 #3
    Thanks for asking...
    Lately I've been reading a bit about the history of science. There are many good books that detail the development of theory. For example, Rene Dugas' A History of Mechanics which was published back in the 1950s does an excellent job of detailing the history of the development of the principle of virtual velocity/work and many other aspects of mechanics - from correct conclusions reached by incorrect procedures to how the same conclusions were reached with better developed mathematics.

    There are also many good books on data analysis, but none that I have found detail anything about history. I am simply curious about the history of the rigor of measurement. The language of error analysis must have developed in tandem with the formalization of statistics, but I have been unable to locate any books that detail the history of these ideas.

    I recognize that deductive reasoning still played a major role in the development of early Newtonian physics, but scientists at the time also based conclusions on empirical evidence. Even Kepler's rejection of circular orbits was based on data not fitting a model. What kind of criteria did early scientists use to claim that data was in support of their hypotheses? How did the formalization of statistics change this?

    I suppose I could try to locate original papers and see what some famous scientists did...perhaps I will if no such source exists.
  5. Feb 14, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know about historic papers (although I never saw very detailed data analysis there), but the statistical methods used are still improving. If you compare papers from 1980 with modern papers in particle physics, for example, there is a huge difference. Many things that were neglected back then are taken into account now. And the increasing complexity of the detectors and physics models does not make that easier.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted