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Chapter5Bwd - Chapter Number and Title 265 P Producing Data...

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Producing Data: Samples, Experiments, and Simulations Producing Data 5 P A R T II

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266 Chapter Number and Title RONALD A. FISHER The Father of Statistics The ideas and methods that we study as “statistics” were invented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by peo- ple working on problems that required analysis of data. Astronomy, biology, social science, and even surveying can claim a role in the birth of statistics. But if anyone can claim to be “the father of statistics,” that honor belongs to Sir Ronald A. Fisher (1890–1962). Fisher’s writings helped organize statistics as a distinct field of study whose methods apply to practical problems across many disciplines. He systematized the mathematical theory of statistics and invented many new techniques. The randomized comparative experiment is perhaps Fisher’s greatest contribution. Like other statistical pioneers, Fisher was driven by the demands of practical problems. Beginning in 1919, he worked on agricultural field experiments at Rothamsted in England. How should we arrange the planting of different crop varieties or the application of different fertilizers to get a fair comparison among them? Because fertility and other variables change as we move across a field, experiments used elaborate checkerboard planting arrangements to obtain fair comparisons. Fisher had a better idea: “arrange the plots deliberately at random.” This chapter explores statistical design for producing data to answer specific questions like “Which crop vari- ety has the highest mean yield?” Fisher’s innovation, the deliberate use of chance in producing data, is the central theme of the chapter and one of the most important ideas in statistics. Like other statistical pio- neers, Fisher was driven by the demands of practi- cal problems.
Producing Data Introduction 5.1 Designing Samples 5.2 Designing Experiments 5.3 Simulating Experiments Chapter Review c h e r a p t 5

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