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Smallpox and the memory of D. Bernoulli. An early example of applied statistics

José Antonio Camuñez Ruiz
Departamento de Economía Aplicada
Universidad de Sevilla
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Francisco Javier Ortega Irizo
Departamento de Economía Aplicada
Universidad de Sevilla

  • Abstract
    An early example of application of the statistics to a real problem of epidemiology can be found in the Memory presented by D. Bernoulli in the Academy of the Sciences of Paris, in 1760, supporting inoculation as a preventive system against the smallpox. From the life table of Halley, and proposing a mathematical model of behavior of the disease, Bernoulli presents another one for a free population of smallpox and does a comparison between them and between their life expectancies. In this article we analyze and value the content of this memory using, in addition, a more ordinary and nearby language.
    Keywords: Smallpox, Inoculation, Life Table, History of the Probability and Statistics, 18th century.
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