More
than 200 years ago, the Reverend
Thomas Bayes described a general
solution for the computation of conditional probabilities in an
excellent article entitled "An
essay towards solving a problem in the doctrine of changes".
This
article was published after Bayes' death in 1763
in the Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society, London (53, 370518).
The
method described by Bayes is of pivotal importance for the theory
of evaluation of diagnostic tests. The term "theorem"
is not really justified; in fact, Bayes' formula is a mathematical
truism.
