[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 11, 1962


JAMA. 1962;181(6):550-551. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050320088009

John Arbuthnot, physician to Queen Anne, was as well known in the literary world for his satire and wit as he was in London for his medical skill. John was born in 1667 near Bervie on the coast of Scotland. His father, the Jacobite Episcopalian clergyman of Arbuthnott, lost his parish because he would not embrace Presbyterianism in the revolution of 1688. When his father died shortly after, John moved to London, lectured in mathematics, and employed the applied science at the gaming table. The translation from Latin to English of Huygens' essay, "Of the Laws of Chance," was assumed to be the work of Arbuthnot. An especially enlightening statement in the preface noted that1

The whole art of gaming, where there is anything of hazard, is to calculate, in dubious cases, on which side there are most chances; and the principles here laid down would enable anyone, even

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview