London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
LEGENDRE, Adrien-Marie (1752-1833). Nouvelles méthodes pour la détermination des orbites des comètes; avec un supplement. Paris: Courcier, 1806. 2 parts in one volume, 4° (239 x 194mm). Engraved plate (some leaves foxed or browned). Contemporary marbled boards (spine a little rubbed).
FIRST EDITION, second issue 'of the work by which he is chiefly known in the history of statistics, Nouvelles méthodes pour la détermination des orbites des comètes ... For stark clarity of exposition the presentation is unsurpassed; it must be counted as one of the clearest and most elegant introductions of a new statistical method in the history of statistics. In fact, statisticians in the succeeding century and three-quarters have found so little to improve upon that ... the explanation of the method could almost be from an elementary text of the present' (Stigler). For information on Legendre's pure mathematical works see DSB. Stigler, The History of Statistics, pp.11-13.
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