Math history: Who was Poisson?

1781–1840;  French mathematician. From 1802 to 1808 he taught at the École, attaining the chair in pure mathematics at the Faculté des Sciences. He published in many branches of mathematics. His major work on probability, published in 1837, was Recherches sur la Probabilité des Jugements en Matière Criminelle et en Matière Civile (Researches on the Probability of Criminal and Civil Verdicts). In this long book (over 400 pages) only about one page is devoted to the derivation of the distribution that now bears his name.


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