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Willem Jacob 's Gravesande

b. 26 September 1688, in 's Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
d. 28 February 1742, Leiden, the Netherlands

The Dutch scientist 's Gravesande became professor of mathematics at the University of Leiden in 1718. The collection Oeuvres philosophiques et mathématiques de Mr G.J. 'sGravesande (1774) was published as two volumes 30 years after his death. Here are Volumes I and Volume II. The second volume contains three items of interest with respect to probability and statistics..

We mention first the Introduction a la Philosophie attributed to him. This work was originally published in Latin, but the French translation was approved by 's Gravesande. It contains an elementary exposition of probability

A response to Arbuthnot's paper that had been published in the Philosophical Transactions No. 328 of 1710 was written by 's Gravesande. He presented his argument before he was 24 years old in his Démonstration mathématique du soin que Dieu prend de diriger ce qui se passe dans ce monde, tirée du nombre des garçons & des filles qui naissent journellement. ("A mathematical demonstration of the care that God takes to direct that which passes in this world, drawn from the number of boys and girls who are born daily.) This appeared in the Oeuvres philosophiques et mathématiques de Mr G.J. 'sGravesande, pp. 221-236. An earlier account of it was published in a work by Bernard Nieuwentijt of 1715 entitled Het regt gebruik der wereldbeschouwingen. A French edition published in 1727 exists as l'Existence de Dieu démontrée par les merveilles de la nature. The account of 'sGravesande's work is on page 176 of it.

Nicolas I Bernoulli corresponded with 'sGravesande and with Pierre Rémond de Montmort regarding the regularity of births. The surviving letters interchanged between Nicolas and 'sGravesande show Nicolas in the heat of the dispute.