The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant fro by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian…

bySharon Bertsch Mcgrayne

Paperback | September 25, 2012

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Bayes' rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok.

In the first-ever account of Bayes' rule for general readers, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years—at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information (Alan Turing's role in breaking Germany's Enigma code during World War II), and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer. Today, Bayes' rule is used everywhere from DNA de-coding to Homeland Security.

Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.

About The Author

Sharon Bertsch McGrayne is the author of numerous books, including Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries and Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World. She lives in Seattle.

Details & Specs

Title:The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian…Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.13 inPublished:September 25, 2012Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300188226

ISBN - 13:9780300188226

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"McGrayne holds the hand of the general reader as she lays out the history of the theorem and how it is now used in just about every walk of life… Science writing at its absolute peak."—The Bookseller