Adrien-Marie Legendre

b. 18 September 1752 d. 9 January 1833
  • R. W. Farebrother


In 1805, Legendre published the first description of the method of least squares as an algebraic fitting procedure. It was subsequently justified on statistical grounds by Gauss and Laplace.


Eighteenth Century Statistical Justification French Revolution Minor Official Practical Scientist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Legendre, A.M. (1805). Nouvelles Méthodes pour la Détermination des Orbites des Comètes. Courcier, Paris. Pages 72–75 of the appendix reprinted in Stigler (1986, p. 56). English translation of these pages by H.A. Ruger and H.M. Walker in D.E. Smith, A Source Book of Mathematics. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1929, pp. 576–579.Google Scholar
  2. Legendre, A.M. (1820). Note par M.*** Second supplement to the third edition of Legendre (1805), pp. 79–80 in a separate pagination. English translation by Stigler (1977).Google Scholar
  3. Plackett, R.L. (1972). The discovery of the method of least squares, Biometrika, 59, 239–251.MathSciNetMATHGoogle Scholar
  4. Stigler, S.M. (1977). An attack on Gauss published by Legendre in 1820, Historia Mathematica, 4, 31–35.MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Stigler, S.M. (1981). Gauss and the invention of least squares, Annals of Statistics, 9, 465–474.MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Stigler, S.M. (1986). The History of Statistics: the Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.MATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Farebrother

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations