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Journal Article

Life and Statistical Legacy of Charles Hugo Kummell

Asta Shomberg and James Tattersall
Mathematics Magazine
Vol. 86, No. 5 (December 2013), pp. 323-339
DOI: 10.4169/math.mag.86.5.323
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Page Count: 17

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Topics: Longitude, Statistics, Geodetic surveys, Civil engineering
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Life and Statistical Legacy of Charles Hugo Kummell
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Summary European statistical research flourished in the years 1770 to 1850 whereas statistical research in the United States did not develop fully until the latter half of the nineteenth century. The establishment of the United States Coast Survey, the Lake Survey, and the Nautical Almanac in 1807, 1841, and 1849, respectively, encouraged the rapid advancement of interest in statistics and the development of statistical methods. It was pioneered by Robert Adrain, Benjamin Peirce, his son Charles Sanders Peirce, Simon Newcomb, and Erastus Lyman De Forest, whose work is well researched. In this article we focus on life and the statistical accomplishments of Charles Hugo Kummell, a statistician for the Lake Survey and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and an active member of the Philosophical Society of Washington. We describe his research into laws of errors of observations and his contributions to the development of the least-squares method.

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