Gauss and the Method of the Least Squares
The following article describes the history of the discovery of the method of least squares. Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) developed this method and applied it at first in astronomy and geodesy. In recent time this method became important to the analysis of statistical data in economics and social sciences and to the application of statistical methods in econometrics. The author describes both justifications of the method and lists several fields where Gauss applied the principle of the yet non-existing method of the least squares before Legendre'a relevant publication of 1805. He also establishes that, contrary to a recently formulated opinion, Gauss had indeed communicated his discovery, again before 1805, to several colleagues.
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Volume (Year): 219 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3+4 (September)
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