International Statistical Review

The Statistical Education of Harold Jeffreys

Journal Article


The paper considers the statistical work of the physicist Harold Jeffreys. In 1933–4 Jeffreys had a controversy with R.A. Fisher, the leading statistician of the time. Prior to the encounter, Jeffreys had worked on probability as the basis for scientific inference and had used methods from the theory of errors in astronomy and seismology. He had also started to rework the theory of errors on the basis of his theory of probability. After the encounter Jeffreys produced a full‐scale Bayesian treatment of statistics in the form of his Theory of Probability.

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