Extensively researched, this book traces the life and work of Abraham De Moivre as well as the state of probability and statistics in eighteenth-century Britain. It is the first extensive biography of De Moivre and is based on recently discovered material and translations, including some of De Moivre’s letters.
The book begins with discussions on De Moivre’s early life in France and his initial work in pure mathematics with some excursions into celestial mechanics. It then describes his fundamental contributions to probability theory and applications, including those in finance and actuarial science. The author explores how De Moivre’s wide network of personal and professional connections often motivated his research. The book also covers De Moivre’s contemporaries and his impact on the field. Written in a clear, approachable style, this biography will appeal to historians and practitioners of the art of probability and statistics in a wide range of applications, including finance and actuarial science.
Table of Contents
Early Life in France. Points of Connection. Getting Established in England. Scotica Mathematica. The Breakthrough: De Mensura Sortis. A Newtonian Intermezzo. Miscellanea Mathematica. The Doctrine of Chances and the Doctrine Disputed. Doctrinal Dissemination and Further Development. De Moivre as Teacher. Life Annuities. The Decade of the Doctrine Enhanced. The Two Thomases. Old Age. Footnotes. Bibliography.
David Bellhouse is a professor in the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. His research interests include statistical theory and methods as well as the history of probability, statistics, actuarial science, and mathematics.