Francis Galton

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Sir Francis Galton, FRS (16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911), half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian era polymath: a statistician, sociologist, psychologist, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, and psychometrician. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was knighted in 1909.

Galton had a prolific intellect, and produced over 340 papers and books. He created the statistical concept of correlation and widely promoted regression toward the mean. He was the first to apply statistical methods to the study of human differences and inheritance of intelligence, and introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities, which he needed for genealogical and biographical works and for his anthropometric studies. He was a pioneer of eugenics, coining the term itself in 1883, and also coined the phrase "nature versus nurture". His book Hereditary Genius (1869) was the first social scientific attempt to study genius and greatness.

As an investigator of the human mind, he founded psychometrics (the science of measuring mental faculties) and differential psychology, as well as the lexical hypothesis of personality. He devised a method for classifying fingerprints that proved useful in forensic science. He also conducted research on the power of prayer, concluding it had none due to its null effects on the longevity of those prayed for. His quest for the scientific principles of diverse phenomena extended even to the optimal method for making tea.

As the initiator of scientific meteorology, he devised the first weather map, proposed a theory of anticyclones, and was the first to establish a complete record of short-term climatic phenomena on a European scale. He also invented the Galton Whistle for testing differential hearing ability.

See also

External link

  • Galton.org - Including various material on Galton, including all his published books, all his published scientific papers, and popular periodical and newspaper writing, as well as other previously unpublished work and biographical material.
  • Galton at Project Gutenberg

On Galton

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.