Journal Article

The median is the message: Wilson and Hilferty’s reanalysis of C.S. Peirce’s experiments on the law of errors


Roger Koenker

Published Date

1 February 2009


Journal Article

Data is reanalyzed from an important series of 19th century experiments conducted by C. S. Peirce and designed to study the plausibility of the Gaussian law of errors for astronomical observations. Contrary to the findings of Peirce, but in accordance with subsequent analysis by Frechet and Wilson and Hilferty, we find normality implausible and medians an attractive alternative to means for the analysis.