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Mathematical Treasure: Airy on Theory of Observational Error

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

George Biddell Airy (1801-1892) was an English mathematician and astronomer. In his On the Algebra and Numerical Theory of Errors of Observation (1861), he joined the company of such mathematicians as Gauss, Legendre, and the American, Robert Adrain, in attempting to mathematically understand the behavior of error patterns in the process of taking observations.

His computations led to the formation of a normal distribution for errors.


This material was obtained through the courtesy of the Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Airy on Theory of Observational Error," Convergence (July 2016)

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