Re: [R] [OT] "normal" (as in "Guassian")

From: Katharine Mullen <kate_at_few.vu.nl>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 22:19:24 +0100 (CET)

There is some information and references regarding the name 'normal' in the internet article 'Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics (N)', http://members.aol.com/jeff570/n.html, by John Aldrich.

It contains the comment, "Galton does not explain why he uses the term "normal" but the sense of conforming to a norm ( = 'A standard, model, pattern, type.' (OED)) seems implied."

On Sun, 2 Mar 2008 Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> Apologies to anyone who'd prefer not to see this query
> on this list; but I'm asking because it is probably the
> forum where I'm most likely to get a good answer!
>
> I'm interested in the provenance of the name "normal
> distribution" (for what I'd really prefer to call the
> "Gaussian" distribution).
>
> According to Wikipedia, "The name "normal distribution"
> was coined independently by Charles S. Peirce, Francis
> Galton and Wilhelm Lexis around 1875."
>
> So be it, if that was the case -- but I would like to
> know why they chose the name "normal": what did they
> intend to convey?
>
> As background: I'm reflecting a bit on the usage in
> statistics of "everyday language" as techincal terms,
> as in "significantly different". This, for instance,
> is likely to be misunderstood by the general publidc
> when they encounter statements in the media.
>
> Likewise, "normally distributed" would probably be
> interpreted as "distributed in the way one would
> normally expect" or, perhaps, "there was nothing
> unusual about the distribution."
>
> Comments welcome!
> With thanks,
> Ted.
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 02-Mar-08 Time: 13:04:17
> ------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------
>
> ______________________________________________
> R-help_at_r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>



R-help_at_r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Sun 02 Mar 2008 - 21:23:10 GMT

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.2.0, at Sun 02 Mar 2008 - 22:30:19 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help. Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.

list of date sections of archive