Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Statistical Fun Fact of the Day

From the Wikipedia article on the Student's T-Test:
The t-statistic was introduced in 1908 by William Sealy Gosset, a chemist working for the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Ireland ("Student" was his pen name).[1][2][3] Gosset had been hired due to Claude Guinness's innovative policy of recruiting the best graduates from Oxford and Cambridge to apply biochemistry and statistics to Guinness' industrial processes.[2] Gosset devised the t-test as a way to cheaply monitor the quality of stout. He published the test in Biometrika in 1908, but was forced to use a pen name by his employer, who regarded the fact that they were using statistics as a trade secret. In fact, Gosset's identity was unknown to fellow statisticians.[4]

I think most people learning statistics think that "the Student's T-Test" is called that because it's a relatively simple and straightforward statistical test (i.e. perfect for students)... but the truth is much more interesting.