This super-sharp genius pioneered and invented terms in various diverse areas like biology & statistics !!!
Posted February 16th, 2015
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The best form of civilization in respect to the improvement of the race, would be one in which society was not costly; where incomes were chiefly derived from professional sources, and not much through inheritance; where every lad had a chance of showing his abilities, and, if highly gifted, was enabled to achieve a first-class education and entrance into professional life, by the liberal help of the exhibitions and scholarships which he had gained in his early youth; where marriage was held in as high honour as in ancient Jewish times; where the pride of race was encouraged (of course I do not refer to the nonsensical sentiment of the present day, that goes under that name); where the weak could find a welcome and a refuge in celibate monasteries or sisterhoods, and lastly, where the better sort of emigrants and refugees from other lands were invited and welcomed, and their descendants naturalized - “Hereditary Genius”, Sir Francis Galton envisaged a situation conducive to resilient and enduring civilisation.
Sir Francis Galton (16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911) was an English Victorian polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist,tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. 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 in eugenics, coining the term itself and 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 and 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 by its null effects on the longevity of those prayed for. 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 cousin of Douglas Strutt Galton and half-cousin of Charles Darwin.
Galton was by many accounts a child prodigy — he was reading by the age of two; at age five he knew some Greek, Latin and long division, and by the age of six he had moved on to adult books, including Shakespeare for pleasure, and poetry, which he quoted at length (Bulmer 2003, p. 4). Later in life, Galton would propose a connection between genius and insanity based on his own experience. He stated, “Men who leave their mark on the world are very often those who, being gifted and full of nervous power, are at the same time haunted and driven by a dominant idea, and are therefore within a measurable distance of insanity”. His parents pressed him to enter the medical profession, and he studied for two years at Birmingham General Hospital and King's College London Medical School. He followed this up with mathematical studies at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, from 1840 to early 1844.
A severe nervous breakdown altered Galton's original intention to try for honours. He elected instead to take a "poll" (pass) B.A. degree, like his half-cousin Charles Darwin (Bulmer 2003, p. 5). (Following the Cambridge custom, he was awarded an M.A. without further study, in 1847.) He then briefly resumed his medical studies. The death of his father in 1844 had left him financially independent but emotionally destitute, and he terminated his medical studies entirely, turning to foreign travel, sport and technical invention. Galton was a polymath who made important contributions in many fields of science, including meteorology (the anti-cyclone and the first popular weather maps), statistics (regression and correlation), psychology (synaesthesia), biology (the nature and mechanism of heredity), and criminology(fingerprints). Much of this was influenced by his penchant for counting or measuring. Galton prepared the first weather map published in The Times (1 April 1875, showing the weather from the previous day, 31 March), now a standard feature in newspapers worldwide.
The method used in Hereditary Genius has been described as the first example of historiometry (invented by Galton). The studies were published as a book,English men of science: their nature and nurture, in 1874. In the end, it promoted the nature versus nurture question, though it did not settle it, and provided some fascinating data on the sociology of scientists of the time. Sir Francis was the first scientist to recognize what is now known as the Lexical Hypothesis. This is the idea that the most salient and socially relevant personality differences in people’s lives will eventually become encoded into language. The hypothesis further suggests that by sampling language, it is possible to derive a comprehensive taxonomy of human personality traits. Galton's inquiries into the mind involved detailed recording of people's subjective accounts of whether and how their minds dealt with phenomena such as mental imagery. In order to better elicit this information, he pioneered the use of the questionnaire.
Core to any statistical analysis is the concept that measurements vary: they have both a central tendency, or mean, and a spread around this central value, or variance. In the late 1860s, Galton conceived of a measure to quantify normal variation: the standard deviation. Studying variation, Galton invented the quincunx, a pachinko-like device, also known as the bean machine, as a tool for demonstrating the law of error and the normal distribution (Bulmer 2003, p. 4). He also discovered the properties of the bivariate normal distribution and its relationship to regression analysis.
After examining forearm and height measurements, Galton introduced the concept of correlation in 1888 (Bulmer 2003, pp. 191–196). Correlation is the term used by Aristotle in his studies of animal classification, and later and most notably by Georges Cuvier in Histoire des progrès des sciences naturelles depuis 1789 jusqu'à ce jour (5 volumes, 1826–1836). Correlation originated in the study of correspondence as described in the study of morphology. See R.S. Russell, Form and Function. He was not the first to describe the mathematical relationship represented by the correlation coefficient, but he rediscovered this relationship and demonstrated its application in the study of heredity, anthropology, and psychology.
Galton went beyond measurement and summary to attempt to explain the phenomena he observed. Among such developments, he proposed an early theory of ranges of sound and hearing, and collected large quantities of anthropometric data from the public through his popular and long-running Anthropometric Laboratory, which he established in 1884 where he studied over 9,000 people. It was not until 1985 that these data were analyzed in their entirety. Galton's study of human abilities ultimately led to the foundation of differential psychology and the formulation of the first mental tests. He was interested in measuring humans in every way possible. This included measuring their ability to make sensory discrimination which he assumed was linked to intellectual prowess. He also devised a technique called "composite portraiture" (produced by superimposing multiple photographic portraits of individuals' faces registered on their eyes) to create an average face.
Galton estimated the probability of two persons having the same fingerprint and studied the heritability and racial differences in fingerprints. He wrote about the technique (inadvertently sparking a controversy between Herschel and Faulds that was to last until 1917), identifying common pattern in fingerprints and devising a classification system that survives to this day. Galton pointed out that there were specific types of fingerprint patterns. He described and classified them into eight broad categories. 1: plain arch, 2: tented arch, 3: simple loop, 4: central pocket loop, 5: double loop, 6: lateral pocket loop, 7: plain whorl, and 8: accidental.
The flowering plant genus Galtonia was named in his honour.




Francis Galton


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