Steinberg (2008) suggested that the study of statistics is quite interesting and sometimes even amusing. The history of the Student t-test seems to fulfil that promise. Student, was the pen name of W.S. Gosset. Student was interested in the problem of leveraging small sample sizes (Box, 1987).
He integrated techniques learned from Karl Pearson. Student’s research problems were determining how much wider the error limits should be for small sample sizes and what the probability of significance should be (Salsburg, 2001). Student was actually the pen name of WS Gosset who ultimately advanced to be the Head Brewer at Guinness (Box, 1987). As Gosset was about to publish Guinness required annonymity and suggested the experiments should be described as occurring between pupil and student (Salsburg, 2001). By 1912 Student was running experiments testing barley seed from differing pairs of farms, these tests evolved into the Student t test of significance (Salsburg, 2001). So the only thing left to do is go experiment 🙂