Francis Galton : biography
Sir Francis Galton, FRS ( 16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911), cousin of Douglas Strutt Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. 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 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.Galton, F. (1869). . London: Macmillan.
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. Galton, Francis (1883). . London: J.M. Dent & Co.
Honours and impact
Over the course of his career Galton received many major awards, including the Copley medal of the Royal Society (1910). He received in 1853 the highest award from the Royal Geographical Society, one of two gold medals awarded that year, for his explorations and map-making of southwest Africa. He was elected a member of the prestigious Athenaeum Club in 1855 and made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1860. His autobiography also lists the following:
- Silver Medal, French Geographical Society (1854)
- Gold Medal of the Royal Society (1886)
- Officier de l'Instruction Publique, France (1891)
- D.C.L. Oxford (1894)
- Sc.D. (Honorary), Cambridge (1895)
- Huxley Medal, Anthropological Institute (1901)
- Elected Hon. Fellow Trinity College, Cambridge (1902)
- Darwin Medal, Royal Society (1902)
- Linnean Society of London's Darwin–Wallace Medal (1908)
Galton was knighted in 1909. His statistical heir Karl Pearson, first holder of the Galton Chair of Eugenics at University College London (now Galton Chair of Genetics), wrote a three-volume biography of Galton, in four parts, after his death . The eminent psychometrician Lewis Terman estimated that his childhood IQ was on the order of 200, based on the fact that he consistently performed mentally at roughly twice his chronological age . (This follows the original definition of IQ as mental age divided by chronological age, rather than the modern definition based on the standard distribution and standard deviation.)
The flowering plant genus Galtonia was named in his honour.
Galton was born at "The Larches", a large house in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, England, built on the site of "Fair Hill", the former home of Joseph Priestley, which the botanist William Withering had renamed. He was Charles Darwin's half-cousin, sharing the common grandparent Erasmus Darwin. His father was Samuel Tertius Galton, son of Samuel "John" Galton. The Galtons were famous and highly successful Quaker gun-manufacturers and bankers, while the Darwins were distinguished in medicine and science.
Both families boasted Fellows of the Royal Society and members who loved to invent in their spare time. Both Erasmus Darwin and Samuel Galton were founding members of the famous Lunar Society of Birmingham, whose members included Boulton, Watt, Wedgwood, Priestley, Edgeworth, and other distinguished scientists and industrialists. Likewise, both families were known for their literary talent: Erasmus Darwin composed lengthy technical treatises in verse; Galton's aunt Mary Anne Galton wrote on aesthetics and religion, and her notable autobiography detailed the unique environment of her childhood populated by Lunar Society members.
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine