Edwin Thompson Jaynes
|E. T. Jaynes|
Edwin Thompson Jaynes (1922–1998), photo taken circa 1960.
July 5, 1922|
|Died||30 April 1998
St. Louis, Missouri
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Doctoral advisor||Eugene Wigner|
|Known for||MaxEnt interpretation, Bayesian theory|
Edwin Thompson Jaynes (July 5, 1922 – April 30, 1998) was Wayman Crow Distinguished Professor of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis. He wrote extensively on statistical mechanics and on foundations of probability and statistical inference, initiating in 1957 the MaxEnt interpretation of thermodynamics, as being a particular application of more general Bayesian/information theory techniques (although he argued this was already implicit in the works of Gibbs). Jaynes strongly promoted the interpretation of probability theory as an extension of logic.
A particular focus of his work was the construction of logical principles for assigning prior probability distributions; see the principle of maximum entropy, the principle of transformation groups and Laplace's principle of indifference.
Jaynes' last book, Probability Theory: The Logic of Science gathers various threads of modern thinking about Bayesian probability and statistical inference, develops the notion of probability theory as extended logic, and contrasts the advantages of Bayesian techniques with the results of other approaches. This book was published posthumously in 2003 (from an incomplete manuscript that was edited by Larry Bretthorst). An unofficial list of errata is hosted by Kevin S. Van Horn.
- Clark J.W., Norberg R.E., Bretthorst G.L. (January 2000). "Edwin Thompson Jaynes". Physics Today 53: 71. Bibcode:2000PhT....53a..71.. doi:10.1063/1.882948.
- Jaynes, E.T. (1957). "Information theory and statistical mechanics" (PDF). Physical Review 106 (4): 620–630. Bibcode:1957PhRv..106..620J. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.106.620.
- — (1957). "Information theory and statistical mechanics II" (PDF). Physical Review 108 (2): 171–190. Bibcode:1957PhRv..108..171J. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.108.171.
- — (September 1968). "Prior Probabilities" (PDF). IEEE Trans. on Systems Science and Cybernetics 4 (3): 227. doi:10.1109/TSSC.1968.300117.
- — (December 1973). "The Well-Posed Problem" (PDF). Found. Phys. 3 (4): 477–492. Bibcode:1973FoPh....3..477J. doi:10.1007/BF00709116.
- Edwin Thompson Jaynes at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Edwin Thompson Jaynes. Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Cambridge University Press, (2003). ISBN 0-521-59271-2.
- Early (1994) version (fragmentary) of Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Book no longer downloadable for copyright reasons.
- A comprehensive web page on E. T. Jaynes's life and work.
- ET Jaynes' obituary at Washington university
- http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/articles/entropy.concentration.pdf Jaynes' analysis of Rudolph Wolf's dice data