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William Feller

William Feller 
(July 7, 1906, Zagreb - January 14, 1970, New York).
 

William Feller is a famous mathematician, but paramount is his role of an apostle of the probabilistic knowledge: he wrote the famous book "An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications'".


A few quotations from the book "An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications'':

"...Probability is a mathematical discipline whose aims are akin to those, for example, of geometry or analytical mechanics. In each field we must be careful to distinguish three aspects of the theory:
(a) the formal logical content,
(b) the intuitive background, and  (c) applications.
The character, and the charm, of the whole structure cannot be appreciated without considering all three aspects in their proper relation''.


"...Nowadays small boys betting and shooting dice, newspapers report on samples of public opinion, and the magic of statistics embraces all phases of life to the extent that young girls anxiously watch the statistics of their chances to get married''.

"...The history of probability (and of mathematics in general) shows a stimulating interplay of theory and applications: progress in theory opens new fields of applications, and each new application creates new theoretical problems and influences the direction of research''.



 

Feller's book have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Polish, Spanish and Hungarian. The first Russian translation of Volume I appeared just a year after the appearance of the book in 1950; also the first Russian translation of Volume II appeared just a year after the appearance of the book in 1966! Feller himself provided corrections of the English 1966 edition for the 1967 Russian edition of Volume II.

Russian editions:

1. Feller, V.: Vvedenie v teoriyu veroyatnostei i ee prilozeniya. (Diskretnye raspredeleniya.) (Russian) [An introduction to probability theory and its applications. (Discrete distributions.)] Izdat. Inostrannoj Literatury, Moscow, 1951. 427 pp.

2. Feller, V.: Vvedenie v teoriyu veroyatnostej i ee prilozheniya. Tom 1. (Russian) [An introduction to probability theory and its applications. Vol. 1] Translated from the English by R. L. Dobrusin, A. A. Juskevic and S. A. Molcanov. Edited by E. B. Dynkin, with an introduction by A. N. Kolmogorov. Second edition, reprinted Izdat. ``Mir'', Moscow 1964 and 1967 (reprinted 1964 edition). 498 pp.

3. Feller, V.: Vvedenie v teoriyu veroyatnostej i ee prilozheniya. Tom 2. (Russian) [An introduction to probability theory and its applications. Vol. 2] Translated from the English by Ju. V. Prohorov Izdat. ``Mir'', Moscow 1967 752 pp.

4. Feller, V.: Vvedenie v teoriyu veroyatnostej i ee prilozheniya. Tom 1. (Russian) [An introduction to probability theory and its applications. Vol. 1] Translated from the third English edition and with a preface by Yu. V. Prokhorov. Second edition. With a preface by A. N. Kolmogorov. ``Mir'', Moscow, 1984. 528 pp.

5. Feller, V.: Vvedenie v teoriyu veroyatnostej i ee prilozheniya. Tom 2. (Russian) [An introduction to probability theory and its applications. Vol. 2] Translated from the second English edition and with a preface by Yu. V. Prokhorov. Second edition. ``Mir'', Moscow, 1984. 752 pp.



 

From the Introduction to the second Russian edition to Feller's book (Volume I, Moscow 1964), written by A.N. Kolmogorov:

"The first edition of Feller's book already obtained a widespread approval in the USSR. Now we bring to the reader's attention the translation of the second English edition, improved and added to by the author in many details. ...It is precisely this choice of material which enables Feller's book to occupy an independent place in the literature on probability theory. ...By the choice of problems Feller brings to light their solving by ``direct'', and specifically probabilistic means. This tendency to see behind analytical transformations their "probabilistic" sense, belongs to the most valuable features of Feller's book. Deserving our attention is also the author's effort in the book in clearly illustrating the character of effects of probabilistic laws on carefully chosen examples. In many cases the author manages to introduce the reader into really interesting questions of comparing statistical data and probabilistic theory of events''.

 

 
 

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