Statistical Science

Maty’s Biography of Abraham De Moivre, Translated, Annotated and Augmented

David R. Bellhouse and Christian Genest

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November 27, 2004, marked the 250th anniversary of the death of Abraham De Moivre, best known in statistical circles for his famous large-sample approximation to the binomial distribution, whose generalization is now referred to as the Central Limit Theorem. De Moivre was one of the great pioneers of classical probability theory. He also made seminal contributions in analytic geometry, complex analysis and the theory of annuities. The first biography of De Moivre, on which almost all subsequent ones have since relied, was written in French by Matthew Maty. It was published in 1755 in the Journal britannique. The authors provide here, for the first time, a complete translation into English of Maty’s biography of De Moivre. New material, much of it taken from modern sources, is given in footnotes, along with numerous annotations designed to provide additional clarity to Maty’s biography for contemporary readers.

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Statist. Sci., Volume 22, Number 1 (2007), 109-136.

First available in Project Euclid: 1 August 2007

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Bellhouse, David R.; Genest, Christian. Maty’s Biography of Abraham De Moivre, Translated, Annotated and Augmented. Statist. Sci. 22 (2007), no. 1, 109--136. doi:10.1214/088342306000000268.

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