© 2003

Most Honourable Remembrance

The Life and Work of Thomas Bayes


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Pages 1-5
  3. Pages 37-100
  4. Pages 101-181
  5. Pages 258-335
  6. Pages 370-383
  7. Pages 384-419
  8. Pages 420-498
  9. Pages 499-525
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 526-668

About this book



Most Honourable Remembrance provides an in-depth discussion of the life and work of Thomas Bayes, an eighteenth-century Presbyterian minister and lay mathematician who planted the seed of modern Bayesian Statistics in 1763 with his posthumous, An Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances. After biographical details of Bayes' ancestors, consideration is turned to what is known of Thomas Bayes, the time in which he lived, and also the town in which he spent the major part of his professional life, Tunbridge Wells.

Bayes' published works, ranging from a theological tract to one on fluxions, are reprinted in full and commented upon. Unpublished works, with commentary, are also included, special attention being given to a manuscript notebook in which some early work on a result from the above mentioned Essay may be found. The book concludes with a chapter on Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, where the Bayes family vault is still to be seen and where many prominent Nonconformists were interred.

This book is the first to provide a biography and full discussion of Bayes' works and will be of interest to modern Bayesian statisticians as well as to mathematicians who may well be surprised at some of the mathematical insights shown by Bayes and which are not generally known to be attributable to him.


Excel history of mathematics probability

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematical StatisticsUniversity of NatalDurban, NatalSouth Africa

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Most Honourable Remembrance
  • Book Subtitle The Life and Work of Thomas Bayes
  • Authors Andrew I. Dale
  • Series Title Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2003
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-387-00499-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4419-1828-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-0-387-21561-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIII, 670
  • Number of Illustrations 12 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Mathematical Sciences
    Statistical Theory and Methods
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


From the reviews:

A.I. Dale

Most Honourable Remembrance

The Life & Work of Thomas Bayes

"Interesting and useful as all this will be for anyone interested in knowing more about Bayes, this is just part of the riches contained in this book . . . Beyond doubt this book is a work of the highest quality in terms of the scholarship it displays, and should be regarded as a must for every mathematical library."—MAA ONLINE

"Andrew Dale explains that his aim was to ‘flesh out the shadowy figure after whom one of the major branches of modern statistics is named’. The extensive and careful work which the author has put in to achieve his aim is evident everywhere in the book. ... he has done much more by his careful and deep analysis of Bayes work as a whole. Beyond doubt this book is a work of the highest quality in terms of the scholarship it displays … ." (Ramachandran Bharath, MathDL The MAA Mathematical Sciences Digital Library, January, 2004)

"Historians of mathematics will be interested in the author’s accounts of Bayes’s few published works. … we have here a book that seriously adds to the history of mathematics; at the same time provides a fascinating study of some aspects of 18th century society in Britain. All this is done with charm and humour: a book to be cherished." (D.V.Lindley, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 90 (517), 2006)

"This book takes the reader back to Bayes’s time and place, to understand and appreciate the contribution Thomas Bayes made to mathematics and theology … . The few primary sources that relate directly to Bayes are supplemented with extensive sources relating to that time and place. … The author is to be commended for a very considerable work of historical scholarship. … I recommend it to give insight into Thomas Bayes and his time." (W. M. (Bill) Bolstad, SIAM Review, Vol. 47 (2), 2005)

"The increasing importance of Bayesian methodology has naturally led to an increasing interest in the inventor. … All of the works are complemented by full discussion and notes … . The book has some delightful light touches … and yet maintains a high standard of scholarship throughout. Altogether it is a monumental achievement … ." (Peter M. Lee, Significance, December, 2004)

"Dale … offers this painstaking and meticulous study of the environment, life, and work of Thomas Bayes, the nonconformist Presbyterian minister whose posthumous 1763 ‘An Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Changes’ profoundly influenced statistics. … A valuable and very scholarly reference that renders Bayes’s scientific opus more easily accessible." (S. J. Colley, CHOICE, February, 2004)