# Alex Peek blog

List of posts Blog archive About

Thursday, August 23, 2018

## Richard von Mises and applied statistics

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Smithsonian Institution

Richard von Mises (1883-1953) was an Austrian statistician and physicist best known for his contributions to solid mechanics and probability theory. He is also the brother of economist Ludwig von Mises. Wikipedia says,

"Although best known for his mathematical work, von Mises also contributed to the philosophy of science as a neo-positivist, following in the line of Ernst Mach." (Wikipedia: Richard von Mises, 7.9.21 UTC 04:28)

Wikipedia also says

"In aerodynamics, von Mises made notable advances in boundary-layer-flow theory and airfoil design. He developed the distortion energy theory of stress which is one of the most important concepts used by engineers in material strength calculations." (Wikipedia: Richard von Mises, 7.9.21 UTC 04:28)

The rest of this post is some quotes from von Mises.

### Probability

"If the concept of probability and the formulae of the theory of probability are used without clear understanding of the collectives involved, one may arrive at entirely misleading results." (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1928)

"In games of chance, in the problems of insurance, and in the molecular processes we find events repeating themselves again and again." (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1928)

"It has been asserted - and this is not overstatement - that whereas other sciences draw their conclusions from what we know, the science of probability derives its most important results form what we don't know." (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1928)

### Philosophy of mathematics

"I am prepared to concede without further argument that all the theoretical constructions, including geometry, which are used in the various branches of physics are only imperfect instruments to enable the world of empirical fact to be reconstructed in our minds." (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1928)

### Reason

"No contradiction exists, if the events are correctly interpreted." (Probability, Statistics and Truth, 1928)