|Birth Day:||February 16, 1822|
|Death Date:||17 January 1911(1911-01-17) (aged 88)
Haslemere, Surrey, England
|Birth Place:||Birmingham, British|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Francis Galton died on 17 January 1911(1911-01-17) (aged 88)
Haslemere, Surrey, England.
According to the records of the United Grand Lodge of England, it was in February 1844 that Galton became a freemason at the Scientific lodge, held at the Red Lion Inn in Cambridge, progressing through the three masonic degrees: Apprentice, 5 February 1844; Fellow Craft, 11 March 1844; Master Mason, 13 May 1844. A note in the record states: "Francis Galton Trinity College student, gained his certificate 13 March 1845". One of Galton's masonic certificates from Scientific lodge can be found among his papers at University College, London.
A nervous breakdown prevented Galton's intent to try for honours. He elected instead to take a "poll" (pass) B.A. degree, like his half-cousin Charles Darwin. (Following the Cambridge custom, he was awarded an M.A. without further study, in 1847.) He briefly resumed his medical studies but the death of his father in 1844 left him emotionally destitute, though financially independent, and he terminated his medical studies entirely, turning to foreign travel, sport and technical invention.
In his early years Galton was an enthusiastic traveller, and made a notable solo trip through Eastern Europe to Constantinople, before going up to Cambridge. In 1845 and 1846, he went to Egypt and travelled up the Nile to Khartoum in the Sudan, and from there to Beirut, Damascus and down the Jordan.
In 1846, the French physicist Auguste Bravais (1811–1863) first developed what would become the correlation coefficient. After examining forearm and height measurements, Galton independently rediscovered the concept of correlation in 1888 and demonstrated its application in the study of heredity, anthropology, and psychology. Galton's later statistical study of the probability of extinction of surnames led to the concept of Galton–Watson stochastic processes. This is now a core of modern statistics and regression.
In 1850 he joined the Royal Geographical Society, and over the next two years mounted a long and difficult expedition into then little-known South West Africa (now Namibia). He wrote a book on his experience, "Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa". He was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Gold Medal in 1853 and the Silver Medal of the French Geographical Society for his pioneering cartographic survey of the region. This established his reputation as a geographer and explorer. He proceeded to write the best-selling The Art of Travel, a handbook of practical advice for the Victorian on the move, which went through many editions and is still in print.
In January 1853, Galton met Louisa Jane Butler (1822–1897) at his neighbour's home and they were married on 1 August 1853. The union of 43 years proved childless.
Over the course of his career Galton received many awards, including the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1910). He received in 1853 the Founder's Medal, the highest award of the Royal Geographical Society, for his explorations and map-making of southwest Africa. He was elected a member of the Athenaeum Club in 1855 and made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1860. His autobiography also lists:
The publication by his cousin Charles Darwin of The Origin of Species in 1859 was an event that changed Galton's life. He came to be gripped by the work, especially the first chapter on "Variation under Domestication", concerning animal breeding.
He became very active in the British Association for the Advancement of Science, presenting many papers on a wide variety of topics at its meetings from 1858 to 1899. He was the general secretary from 1863 to 1867, president of the Geographical section in 1867 and 1872, and president of the Anthropological Section in 1877 and 1885. He was active on the council of the Royal Geographical Society for over forty years, in various committees of the Royal Society, and on the Meteorological Council.
Galton was interested at first in the question of whether human ability was hereditary, and proposed to count the number of the relatives of various degrees of eminent men. If the qualities were hereditary, he reasoned, there should be more eminent men among the relatives than among the general population. To test this, he invented the methods of historiometry. Galton obtained extensive data from a broad range of biographical sources which he tabulated and compared in various ways. This pioneering work was described in detail in his book Hereditary Genius in 1869. Here he showed, among other things, that the numbers of eminent relatives dropped off when going from the first degree to the second degree relatives, and from the second degree to the third. He took this as evidence of the inheritance of abilities.
Galton conducted wide-ranging inquiries into heredity which led him to challenge Charles Darwin's hypothesis of pangenesis. Darwin had proposed as part of this model that certain particles, which he called "gemmules" moved throughout the body and were also responsible for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Galton, in consultation with Darwin, set out to see if they were transported in the blood. In a long series of experiments in 1869 to 1871, he transfused the blood between dissimilar breeds of rabbits, and examined the features of their offspring. He found no evidence of characters transmitted in the transfused blood.
Galton devoted much of the rest of his life to exploring variation in human populations and its implications, at which Darwin had only hinted in The Origin of Species, although he returned to it in his 1871 book The Descent of Man, drawing on his cousin's work in the intervening period. Galton established a research program which embraced multiple aspects of human variation, from mental characteristics to height; from facial images to fingerprint patterns. This required inventing novel measures of traits, devising large-scale collection of data using those measures, and in the end, the discovery of new statistical techniques for describing and understanding the data.
In 1873, Galton wrote a controversial letter to The Times titled 'Africa for the Chinese', where he argued that the Chinese, as a race capable of high civilisation and only temporarily stunted by the recent failures of Chinese dynasties, should be encouraged to immigrate to Africa and displace the supposedly inferior aboriginal blacks.
The method used in Hereditary Genius has been described as the first example of historiometry. To bolster these results, and to attempt to make a distinction between 'nature' and 'nurture' (he was the first to apply this phrase to the topic), he devised a questionnaire that he sent out to 190 Fellows of the Royal Society. He tabulated characteristics of their families, such as birth order and the occupation and race of their parents. He attempted to discover whether their interest in science was 'innate' or due to the encouragements of others. 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.
Galton recognised the limitations of his methods in these two works, and believed the question could be better studied by comparisons of twins. His method envisaged testing to see if twins who were similar at birth diverged in dissimilar environments, and whether twins dissimilar at birth converged when reared in similar environments. He again used the method of questionnaires to gather various sorts of data, which were tabulated and described in a paper The history of twins in 1875. In so doing he anticipated the modern field of behaviour genetics, which relies heavily on twin studies. He concluded that the evidence favoured nature rather than nurture. He also proposed adoption studies, including trans-racial adoption studies, to separate the effects of heredity and environment.
In 1875, Galton started growing sweet peas, and addressed the Royal Institution on his findings on 9 February 1877. He found that each group of progeny seeds followed a normal curve, and the curves were equally disperse. Each group was not centered about the parent's weight, but rather at a weight closer to the population average. Galton called this reversion, as every progeny group was distributed at a value that was closer to the population average than the parent. The deviation from the population average was in the same direction, but the magnitude of the deviation was only one-third as large. In doing so, Galton demonstrated that there was variability among each of the families, yet the families combined to produce a stable, normally distributed population. When Galton addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1885, he said of his investigation of sweet peas, "I was then blind to what I now perceive to be the simple explanation of the phenomenon."
The method of identifying criminals by their fingerprints had been introduced in the 1860s by Sir William James Herschel in India, and their potential use in forensic work was first proposed by Dr Henry Faulds in 1880. Galton was introduced to the field by his half-cousin Charles Darwin, who was a friend of Faulds's, and he went on to create the first scientific footing for the study (which assisted its acceptance by the courts) although Galton did not ever give credit that the original idea was not his. 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.
Galton invented the term eugenics in 1883 and set down many of his observations and conclusions in a book, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development. In the book's introduction, he wrote:
In 1884, London hosted the International Health Exhibition. This exhibition placed much emphasis on highlighting Victorian developments in sanitation and public health, and allowed the nation to display its advanced public health outreach, compared to other countries at the time. Francis Galton took advantage of this opportunity to set up his anthropometric laboratory. He stated that the purpose of this laboratory was to "show the public the simplicity of the instruments and methods by which the chief physical characteristics of man may be measured and recorded." The laboratory was an interactive walk-through in which physical characteristics such as height, weight, and eyesight, would be measured for each subject after payment of an admission fee. Upon entering the laboratory, a subject would visit the following stations in order.
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, and where he studied over 9,000 people. It was not until 1985 that these data were analysed in their entirety.
In 1888, Galton established a lab in the science galleries of the South Kensington Museum. In Galton's lab, participants could be measured to gain knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. Galton also used these data for his own research. He would typically charge people a small fee for his services.
In a Royal Institution paper in 1888 and three books (Finger Prints, 1892; Decipherment of Blurred Finger Prints, 1893; and Fingerprint Directories, 1895), 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's solution to this problem was presented in his Presidential Address at the September 1885 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as he was serving at the time as President of Section H: Anthropology. The address was published in Nature, and Galton further developed the theory in "Regression toward mediocrity in hereditary stature" and "Hereditary Stature." An elaboration of this theory was published in 1889 in Natural Inheritance. There were three key developments that helped Galton develop this theory: the development of the law of error in 1874–1875, the formulation of an empirical law of reversion in 1877, and the development of a mathematical framework encompassing regression using human population data during 1885.
The model for population stability resulted in Galton's formulation of the Law of Ancestral Heredity. This law, which was published in Natural Inheritance, states that the two parents of an offspring jointly contribute one half of an offspring's heritage, while the other, more-removed ancestors constitute a smaller proportion of the offspring's heritage. Galton viewed reversion as a spring, that when stretched, would return the distribution of traits back to the normal distribution. He concluded that evolution would have to occur via discontinuous steps, as reversion would neutralize any incremental steps. When Mendel's principles were rediscovered in 1900, this resulted in a fierce battle between the followers of Galton's Law of Ancestral Heredity, the biometricians, and those who advocated Mendel's principles.
He believed that a scheme of 'marks' for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged via provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children, which he thought were dysgenic. He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying able couples with incentives to have children. On 29 October 1901, Galton chose to address eugenic issues when he delivered the second Huxley lecture at the Royal Anthropological Institute.
This approach was later taken up enthusiastically by Karl Pearson and W. F. R. Weldon; together, they founded the highly influential journal Biometrika in 1901. (R. A. Fisher would later show how the biometrical approach could be reconciled with the Mendelian approach.) The statistical techniques that Galton invented (correlation and regression—see below) and phenomena he established (regression to the mean) formed the basis of the biometric approach and are now essential tools in all social sciences.
University College London has in the twenty-first century been involved in a historical inquiry into its role as the institutional birthplace of eugenics. Galton established a laboratory at UCL in 1904. Some students and staff have called on the university to rename its Galton lecture theatre. "Galton's seductive promise was of a bold new world filled only with beautiful, intelligent, productive people. The scientists in its thrall claimed this could be achieved by controlling reproduction, policing borders to prevent certain types of immigrants, and locking away "undesirables", including disabled people."
Galton was a keen observer. In 1906, visiting a livestock fair, he stumbled upon an intriguing contest. An ox was on display, and the villagers were invited to guess the animal's weight after it was slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 participated, and Galton was able to study their individual entries after the event. Galton stated that "the middlemost estimate expresses the vox populi, every other estimate being condemned as too low or too high by a majority of the voters", and reported this value (the median, in terminology he himself had introduced, but chose not to use on this occasion) as 1,207 pounds. To his surprise, this was within 0.8% of the weight measured by the judges. Soon afterwards, in response to an enquiry, he reported the mean of the guesses as 1,197 pounds, but did not comment on its improved accuracy. Recent archival research has found some slips in transmitting Galton's calculations to the original article in Nature: the median was actually 1,208 pounds, and the dressed weight of the ox 1,197 pounds, so the mean estimate had zero error. James Surowiecki uses this weight-judging competition as his opening example: had he known the true result, his conclusion on the wisdom of the crowd would no doubt have been more strongly expressed.
The Eugenics Review, the journal of the Eugenics Education Society, commenced publication in 1909. Galton, the Honorary President of the society, wrote the foreword for the first volume. The First International Congress of Eugenics was held in July 1912. Winston Churchill and Carls Elliot were among the attendees.
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.
In June 2020, UCL announced that it was renaming a building which had been named after Galton because of his connection with Eugenics.
Currently, Francis Galton is 200 years, 11 months and 22 days old. Francis Galton will celebrate 201st birthday on a Thursday 16th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Francis Galton upcoming birthday.
You can thank (or scorn) this man for the birth of eugenics
This week marks the 196th birthday of someone who occupies a place of dishonor in the annals of science. Sir Francis Galton was born this week in 1822. He