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Mathematical Treasure: Poincaré on Probability

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher of science. This talented scientist was also a prolific author. Among his many influential works was Calcul des Probabilités, originally published in 1907. At the time, Poincaré was Professor of Mathematical Physics and Probability at the Sorbonne in Paris. The contents of his book reflected his Sorbonne lectures. The title page above is from the revised 1912 edition.

On pages 252-253, Poincaré directed the reader’s attention to calculating the “first power” of the errors.

The Special Collections staff at the Linderman Library of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is pleased to cooperate with the Mathematical Association of America to exhibit this and other items from the Library’s holdings in Mathematical Treasures. In particular, Convergence would like to thank Lois Fischer Black, Curator, Special Collections, and Ilhan Citak, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, for their kind assistance in helping to make this display possible. You may use these images in your classroom; all other uses require permission from the Special Collections staff, Linderman Library, Lehigh University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Poincaré on Probability," Convergence (June 2014)