Sir Francis Galton

Sir Francis GaltonAn English scientist, explorer and anthropologist, Francis Galton was a cousin of Charles Darwin and was one of the first to recognize how Darwin’s theory of evolution was going to clash with theology.

He coined the word eugenics to denote scientific endeavors to increase the proportion of persons with better than average genes. This was to be done through selective mating of marriage partners.

Galton as a youth developed a passion for travel. He was taking medicine but when his father died he was left with sufficient fortune that he was free to indulge in his craving for travel.

He wrote nine books and over 200 papers. They deal with many diverse subjects, including the use of fingerprints for personal identification, the correlation of calculus (a branch of applied statistics) – in both of which Galton was a pioneer – twins, blood transfusions, the art of travel in undeveloped countries, criminality and meteorology.

He was also deeply concerned with improving standards of measurement.

He was knighted in 1909 and died near London on January 17, 1911.

Major Works of Francis Galton

– Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa (Murray, 1853)
– The Art of Travel (Murray, 1855)
– Vacation Tourists and Notes of Travel in 1860, edited by Francis Galton (Clay and Taylor, 1861)
– Meteorographica (Macmillan, 1863)
– Hereditary Genius (Macmillan, 1869; Second edition of 1892)
– English Men of Science (Macmillan, 1874)
– Inquiries into Human Faculty (Macmillan 1883, Second Edition, Everyman, 1907)
– Life History Album of… (Macmillan, 1884, Second Edition, 1902)
– Record of Family Faculties (Macmillan, 1884)
– Natural Inheritance (Macmillan, 1889)
– Finger Prints (Macmillan, 1892)
– Decipherment of Blurred Finger Prints (Macmillan, 1893)
– Fingerprint Directories (Macmillan, 1895)
– Noteworthy Families (with Edgar Schuster) (John Murray, 1906)
– Memories of My Life (Methuen, 1908)
– Essays in Eugenics (Eugenics Education Society, London: 1909)

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