Sir Francis Galton

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Galton, Sir Francis

(gôl`tən), 1822–1911, English scientist, founder of eugenics; cousin of Charles DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert,
1809–82, English naturalist, b. Shrewsbury; grandson of Erasmus Darwin and of Josiah Wedgwood. He firmly established the theory of organic evolution known as Darwinism.
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. He turned from exploration and meteorology (where he introduced the theory of the anticycloneanticyclone,
region of high atmospheric pressure; anticyclones are commonly referred to as "highs." The pressure gradient, or change between the core of the anticyclone and its surroundings, combined with the Coriolis effect, causes air to circulate about the core in a clockwise
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) to the study of heredity and eugenicseugenics
, study of human genetics and of methods to improve the inherited characteristics, physical and mental, of the human race. Efforts to improve the human race through bettering housing facilities and other environmental conditions are known as euthenics.
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 (a term that he coined). Galton devised the correlation coefficient and brought other statistical methods into this work, which was carried on by his pupil Karl PearsonPearson, Drew,
1897–1969, American journalist and radio commentator, b. Evanston, Ill. He traveled around the world as a correspondent before joining the Baltimore Sun in 1926.
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 as the science of biometrics. In his Hereditary Genius (1869) he presented strong evidence that talent is an inherited characteristic. Galton established a system of classifying fingerprints that is still used today. He was knighted in 1909. The best known of his books is Inquiries into Human Faculty (1883).


See his Memories of My Life (1908, repr. 1974); biographies by K. Pearson (3 vol. in 4, 1914–30), N. W. Gillham (2002), and M. Brookes (2004); study by H. F. Crovitz (1970).

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