[edit] Francis Galton

Feb 16 1822 - Jan 17 1911

[edit] Born Birmingham, England. Died London, England.


Galton is best known for proving that a normal mixture of normal distributions is itself normal.

An explorer and anthropologist, Galton is known for his pioneering studies of human intelligence. He devoted the latter part of his life to eugenics, i.e. improving the physical and mental makeup of the human species by selected parenthood.

Although weak in mathematics his ideas strongly influenced the development of statistics particularly his proof that a normal mixture of normal distributions is itself normal. Another of his major findings was reversion. This was his formulation of regres sion and its link to the bivariate normal distribution.

He also made important contributions to the fields of meteorology, anthropometry, and physical anthropology. Galton was an indefatigable explorer and an investigator of human intelligence.

Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin, was convinced that pre-eminence in various fields was due almost entirely to hereditary factors. He opposed those who claimed intelligence or character were determined by environmental factors. He inquired into raci al differences, something almost unacceptable today, and was one of the first to employ questionnaire and survey methods, which he used to investigate mental imagery in different groups of people.

His work led him to advocate breeding restrictions.

Galton was knighted in 1909.

[edit] Adapted from the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.