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The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics…

The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the…

by David Salsburg

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3441131,845 (3.49)4



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An interesting overview of important men and women in the field of statistics from a statistics PhD holder. The author could not decide if he wanted it to be an entry-level statistics textbook, a set of small biographies of important people in the field of statistics or an autobiography. Ultimately, it was a poor mix of these and fell flat in trying to cover too much material from each of the three categories. The book also feels extremely dated, that author kept referring to "high-speed computers" and "digital computers" which made me think he might not have used them that often prior to retirement. ( )
  pbirch01 | Sep 12, 2014 |
Overview of the development of 20th century statistical methodology, particularly the "revolution" which replaced 18th century scientific belief in a clockwork universe with the emergence of messier probabilistic ideas, presented as a series of mini-biographies of the major figures of the field and their research interests.
  EdKupfer | May 7, 2013 |
overview of statistical thought and progress in 20th century; needed more math, needed to show links between thought, needed actual examples rather that mere description of where used
  FKarr | Oct 31, 2011 |
A bunch of mini biographies of statisticians, along with sort-of descriptions of why what they did was important. I say sort-of because there was often not enough for me to really understand why what they did was important—I will certainly accept that the difference between parametric and nonparametric statistics is vital and has real-world implications, but this isn’t the book to explain why, and maybe such a book would have to be a textbook. To me, the book hung awkwardly between “popular” and “science,” and I would have liked more on the latter. ( )
  rivkat | Sep 13, 2011 |
This book was not that great but worth checking out.
  hccucctest | Oct 11, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805071342, Paperback)

Science is inextricably linked with mathematics. Statistician David Salsburg examines the development of ever-more-powerful statistical methods for determining scientific truth in The Lady Tasting Tea, a series of historical and biographical sketches that illuminate without alienating the mathematically timid. Salsburg, who has worked in academia and industry and has met many of the major players he writes about, shares his subjects' enthusiasm for problem solving and deep thinking. His sense of excitement drives the prose, but never at the expense of the reader; if anything, the author has taken pains to eliminate esoterica and ephemera from his stories. This might frustrate a few number-head readers, but the abundant notes and references should keep them happy in the library for weeks after reading the book.

Ultimately, the various tales herein are unified in a single theme: the conversion of science from observational natural history into rigorously defined statistical models of data collection and analysis. This process, usually only implicit in studies of scientific methods and history, is especially important now that we seem to be reaching the point of diminishing returns and are looking for new paradigms of scientific investigation. The Lady Tasting Tea will appeal to a broad audience of scientifically literate readers, reminding them of the humanity underlying the work. --Rob Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:01 -0400)

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