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Changing Faces: The Mistaken Portrait of Legendre (2009) [pdf] (ams.org)
14 points by jstrieb 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments

Actual caricature portrait of Adrien-Marie Legendre (not reproduced in the article): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Legendre...

Legendre made many major contributions to mathematics, but perhaps the most well-known (for folks here) is the method of least squares for curve fitting.

For those interested in the science and politics of the French Revolution period and how methods like least squares were first applied, a wonderful history (in which Legendre plays a supporting role) is Ken Alder’s The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World. (“The truth belongs to everyone, but error is ours alone.”)

The article references this as being the cover (and thanks the graphics editor for doing that digging). Full issue (warning slow PDF link) at https://www.ams.org/journals/notices/200911/200911-full-issu...

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