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At a summer tea party in Cambridge, England, a lady states that tea poured into milk tastes differently than that of milk poured into tea. Her notion is shouted down by the scientific minds of the group. But one guest, by the name Ronald Aylmer Fisher, proposes to scientifically test the lady's hypothesis. There was no better person to conduct such a test. For Fisher had brought to the field of statistics an emphasis on controlling the methods for obtaining data and the importance of interpretation. He knew that how the data was gathered and applied was as important as the data themselves.
In The Lady Tasting Tea, readers will encounter not only Ronald Fisher's theories (and their repercussions), but the ideas of dozens of men and women whose revolutionary work affects our everyday lives. Writing with verve and wit, author David Salsburg traces the rise and fall of Karl Pearson's theories, explores W. Edwards Deming's statistical methods of quality control (which rebuilt postwar Japan's economy), and relates the story of Stella Cunliff's early work on the capacity of small beer casks at the Guinness brewing factory.
The Lady Tasting Tea is not a book of dry facts and figures, but the history of great individuals who dared to look at the world in a new way.
...nature of statistical models, where they came from, how they are applied to scientific problems, and whether they are true descriptions of reality...
â€”Barbara A. Bailar, Senior Vice-President, National Opinion Research Center
"Salsburg's book is the story of statistical theory in the 20th century, its time of triumph, and of the mathematical/scientific geniuses who made it happen. He writes with both experience and insight, and with a happy lack of technical barriers between the reader and his subject. Particularly well told is the story of Ronald Fisher, the double genius who founded both mathematical statistics and mathematical genetics. If scientists were judged by their influence on science then Fisher would rank with Einstein and Pauling at the top of the modern ladder."
â€”Brad Efron, Professor of Statistics, Stanford University
Author's Preface | VII | |
Chapter 1 | The Lady Tasting Tea | 1 |
Chapter 2 | The Skew Distributions | 9 |
Chapter 3 | That Dear Mr. Gosset | 25 |
Chapter 4 | Raking Over the Muck Heap | 33 |
Chapter 5 | "Studies in Crop Variation" | 41 |
Chapter 6 | "The Hundred-Year Flood" | 53 |
Chapter 7 | Fisher Triumphant | 61 |
Chapter 8 | The Dose that Kills | 73 |
Chapter 9 | The Bell-Shaped Curve | 83 |
Chapter 10 | Testing the Goodness of Fit | 93 |
Chapter 11 | Hypothesis Testing | 107 |
Chapter 12 | The Confidence Trick | 117 |
Chapter 13 | The Bayesian Heresy | 125 |
Chapter 14 | The Mozart of Mathematics | 137 |
Chapter 15 | The Worm's-Eye View | 151 |
Chapter 16 | Doing Away with Parameters | 161 |
Chapter 17 | When Part is Better than the Whole | 169 |
Chapter 18 | Does Smoking Cause Cancer? | 181 |
Chapter 19 | If You Want the Best Person... | 195 |
Chapter 20 | Just a Plain Texas Farm Boy | 207 |
Chapter 21 | A Genius in the Family | 217 |
Chapter 22 | The Picasso of Statistics | 229 |
Chapter 23 | Dealing with Contamination | 237 |
Chapter 24 | The Man Who Remade Industry | 247 |
Chapter 25 | Advice from the Lady in Black | 257 |
Chapter 26 | The March of the Martingales | 267 |
Chapter 27 | The Intent to Treat | 275 |
Chapter 28 | The Computer Turns upon Itself | 285 |
Chapter 29 | The Idol with Feet of Clay | 293 |
Afterword | 311 | |
Timeline | 313 | |
Bibliography | 317 | |
Index | 327 |
Anonymous
Posted February 6, 2010
This is a very interesting and readable account of many of the important developers of statistics and the application of statistics. Many of those whose names are given to particular test statistics come to life. The author does a very good job of referring to some of the underlying mathematics used by some researchers without becoming dry or too complex for those with (like me) poor mathematical grounding.
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Overview
At a summer tea party in Cambridge, England, a lady states that tea poured into milk tastes differently than that of milk poured into tea. Her notion is shouted down by the scientific minds of the group. But one guest, by the name Ronald Aylmer Fisher, proposes to scientifically test the lady's hypothesis. There was no better person to conduct such a test. For Fisher had brought to the field of statistics an emphasis on controlling the methods for obtaining data and the importance of interpretation. He knew that ...