NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF CORRELATION
1) As I have often stated, Laplace anticipated Gauss by some 40 years. In his memoir of 1783, Histoire de I'Acadimie, pp. 423-467, he gives the expression for the probability integral and suggests* (p. 433) its tabulation as a useful task. It is clear that to do this is to recognise the -existence of the probability-curve or in its doubly projected form Laplace's investigation while not proceeding from the very simple axioms .of Gauss, which lead directly to the above equation, is more
... n, is more satisfactory than Gauss' because we see better the nature of the-approximations by which the curve is reached and get hints of how to generalise it Many years ago I called the Laplace-Gaussian curve the normal curve, which name, while it avoids an international question of priority, has the disadvantage of leading people to believe that all other distributions of frequency are in one sense or another ' abnormal' That belief is, of course, not justifiable. It has led many writers to try and force all frequency by aid of one or another process of distortion into a ' normal' curve. Gauss starting with a normal curve.as the law of distribution of errors reached at once the method of least squares. To understand the origin of the correlational calculus we must really go back to Gauss' fundamental memoirs on least squares, namely the Theoria combinationis obtervcUionum errortbus minimit obnoxiae of 1823 and the Shipplemmtum of 1826.