b. 18 September 1752 Paris
d. 9 January 1833 Paris
There were a number of different methods proposed to find the most
likely value of a measured quantity. Legendre proposed the method of
least squares. This appeared on pages
72-75 of the appendix
to his work Nouvelles
Méthodes pour la Detérmination des Orbites des
Comètes published in 1805. The remainder of the appendix
applies the technique to the measure of the degrees of the
Legendre read on 24 September 1811 a paper to the Academy with the title "Pour trouver le milieu le plus probable entre les résultats de différentes observations." This was printed in the Mémoires de la Classe des Sciences Mathématiques et Physiques de l'Institut (Vol. 11, 2nd part), pp. 149-154.
A translation of the Appendix into English by George Harvey was published in The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal Vol 7. Pages 292-301.
By 1820 we have Nouvelles méthodes pour la détermination de l'orbite des comètes. Second supplement. Paris.