Gauss and the Invention of Least Squares
The most famous priority dispute in the history of statistics is that between Gauss and Legendre, over the discovery of the method of least squares. New evidence, both documentary and statistical, is discussed, and an attempt is made to evaluate Gauss's claim. It is argued (though not conclusively) that Gauss probably possessed the method well before Legendre, but that he was unsuccessful in communicating it to his contemporaries. Data on the French meridian arc are presented that could, conceivably, permit a definitive verification of the claim.
Permanent link to this document: http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aos/1176345451
Digital Object Identifier: doi:10.1214/aos/1176345451
Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet): MR615423
Zentralblatt MATH identifier: 0477.62001