Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

A History of the Central Limit Theorem

From Classical to Modern Probability Theory

Authors: Fischer, Hans

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About this book

This study aims to embed the history of the central limit theorem within the history of the development of probability theory from its classical to its modern shape, and, more generally, within the corresponding development of mathematics. The history of the central limit theorem is not only expressed in light of "technical" achievement, but is also tied to the intellectual scope of its advancement. The history starts with Laplace's 1810 approximation to distributions of linear combinations of large numbers of independent random variables and its modifications by Poisson, Dirichlet, and Cauchy, and it proceeds up to the discussion of limit theorems in metric spaces by Donsker and Mourier around 1950. This self-contained exposition additionally describes the historical development of analytical probability theory and its tools, such as characteristic functions or moments. The importance of historical connections between the history of analysis and the history of probability theory is demonstrated in great detail. With a thorough discussion of mathematical concepts and ideas of proofs, the reader will be able to understand the mathematical details in light of contemporary development. Special terminology and notations of probability and statistics are used in a modest way and explained in historical context.

Reviews

From the book reviews:

“Fischer provides thorough mathematical descriptions of the development of the central limit theorem as it evolves with increasing mathematical rigor. … Fischer has probably written what will be the definitive history of the central limit theorem for many years to come. … Fischer overflows with detail, insight and excellent commentary.” (David Bellhouse, Historia Mathematica, Vol. 39, 2012)

“The book will be of interest not only to professionals in the area of probability and statistics but to a wider audience. … The author has been using a huge amount of sources and archives, including his own works, and he is successful in his goal to describe a comprehensive picture of the development of the CLT. … the book would be an excellent source for student projects on topics from probability and its applications.” (Jordan M. Stoyanov, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1226, 2012)

“This work details the history of the central limit theorem and related probabilistic limit theorems roughly from 1810 through 1950, but focuses on 1810 to 1935. … Hans Fischer … authors many papers on the history of mathematics. His skill in both these areas allows him to reveal here the historical development of this important theorem in a way that can easy be adapted to the lecture hall or used in independent study.” (Tom Schulte, The Mathematical Association of America, February, 2011)

“The history of the CLT deserves a place of its own, and this book by Hans Fischer is the best … in tracing its development in meticulous historical detail and with mathematical precision. … The book by Hans Fischer is highly recommended as a well-researched comprehensive history of the CLT. One finds here the story of a galaxy of brilliant mathematicians … engaging in the quest for, and debates on, the true meaning and the correct derivation of a beautiful intriguing result.”­­­ (Rabi Bhattacharya, SIAM Review, Vol. 53 (4), 2011)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Fischer, Hans

    Pages 1-16

  • The Central Limit Theorem from Laplace to Cauchy: Changes in Stochastic Objectives and in Analytical Methods

    Fischer, Hans

    Pages 17-74

  • The Hypothesis of Elementary Errors

    Fischer, Hans

    Pages 75-138

  • Chebyshev’s and Markov’s Contributions

    Fischer, Hans

    Pages 139-189

  • The Way Toward Modern Probability

    Fischer, Hans

    Pages 191-269

Buy this book

eBook $149.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-87857-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-87856-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-2701-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A History of the Central Limit Theorem
Book Subtitle
From Classical to Modern Probability Theory
Authors
Series Title
Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Copyright
2011
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-87857-7
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-87857-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-387-87856-0
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-2701-8
Series ISSN
2196-8810
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 402
Topics