Francis Galton cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Francis Galton

English polymath: geographer, statistician, pioneer in eugenics

1822   -   1911

country of citizenship: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
native language: English
languages spoken, written or signed: English
educated at: King's College London, Trinity College, King Edward's School, University of Cambridge
occupation: mathematician, explorer, anthropologist, geneticist, psychologist, geographer, meteorologist, statistician, philosopher, sociologist, writer, photographer, inventor, physiologist
award received: Fellow of the Royal Society, Copley Medal, Royal medal, Knight Bachelor, Huxley Memorial Medal, Darwin Medal, Darwin–Wallace Medal, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Sir Francis Galton, FRS FRAI (; 16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911), was an English Victorian era polymath: a statistician, sociologist, psychologist, anthropologist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician and a proponent of social Darwinism, eugenics and scientific racism. He was knighted in 1909. Galton produced over 340 papers and books. He also 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. He was Charles Darwin's half-cousin.
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