Francis Galton was born on the 16th of Febuary, 1822. He was a half cousin to Charles Darwin. This man did not need the help of Charles Darwin to make him famous; he did that all on his own. He was intellectually and had over 340 papers and books written during his life time.
Galton was the man who created the concept of correlation and the widely promoted regression among the mean”. He was the first one to study the human differences and inheritance of intelligence which lead to him producing the first questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities. He needed these for his study in anthropometric. He led a life that anyone would envy to learn more about him we have to travel through the history of Francis Galton.
Frances Galton was born at Spark brook, Birmingham, England. His family was famous; they were also highly successful Quaker gun manufactures and bankers. Both the Galton family and the Darwin’s formed the Royal Society where the members spent their spare time inventing and both of these families founded the famous Lunar Society of Birmingham whose members included industrialist and scientist.
Galton showed promise from an early age. He could read at two years old and at the age of 5 he knew Greek Latin and long division. At the age of six he was reading Shakespeare and poetry. He attended numerous schools but found them boring. His parents put him in medical school where he attended Birmingham general Hospital and London Medical School for two years. He followed this up with a study in mathematics at Trinity College from 1840 to 1844. At the end of this study Galton had a severe nervous breakdown that changed his original intentions and he decided to take a BA Degree. The death of his father in 1844 had a great impact on Galton causing him to give up medicine and turn to foreign travel, sport and technical inventions.
He was a pioneer in eugenics and coined the term himself of nature versus nature. He was an investigator of the human mind; he founded psychometric which is the science of measuring mental facilities and differential psychology. His other great achievements were being the initiator of devising a method of identifying fingerprints that went on to prove very useful in forensic science. He also devised the first weather map and established a complete record of short-term climatic phenomena on a European scale. Galton also invented the Galton Whistle for testing hearing ability. His discoveries and inventions would stay with humanity throughout the years.
Galton spent many years traveling and one of his excursions to Eastern Europe took him to places such as Constantinople, Egypt, the Nile, and Khartoum in Sudan, Beirut, Damascus and Jordon. When this trip was finished Galton joined the Royal Geographical Society.
During the next two years Galton took a long and difficult trip into South-Western Africa. When he returned he wrote a book on his travels which was called the “Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa”. In 1853 Galton was awarded the Royal geographical Society’s gold medal and a silver medal from the French Geographical Society for his pioneering of this area of the world. He wrote a book called “The Art of Travel” which was a best seller and is still available today.
Galton was a man that made many contributions to the field of science. This included meteorology, physiology and biology with much of this brought on by his love of counting and measuring. He was active in the British Association for the Advancement of Science writing many papers on different topics. From 1858 to 1899 Galton was the general secretary and president of the Anthropological Section. He was also an active participant in the Geographical section and the Royal Geographical Society. In 1859 an event happened that would change Galton’s life and it came from the publishing of Charles Darwin on “The Origin of the Species”.
Galton became obsessed with this theory of Darwin’s especially the first chapter that was called the “Variation under Domestication”. This referred to the breeding of domestic animals. Galton spent the rest of his life exploring variations in human populations. The top thing on Galton’s list was the physical and mental characteristics that took place from generation to generation. By keeping records of relatives in a family he then introduced his findings an evidence of the inheritance of abilities. In 1860 Galton conceived the standard deviation. He went on to study fingerprinting along with other accomplishments in his life.
In his final years Galton worked on a novel called the “Kantsaywhere”. This novel was not published by him but his notes tell us he had been working on it since 1901. The novel described a utopia organized by a eugenic religion which was designed to breed fitter and smarter humans. It was offered to Methuen for publication but they had very little interest in it. When his niece received the book she burnt most of it due to being offended by the love scene in it.
Galton received many awards in his life time such as the highest award given from the Royal Geographical Society, one of the two medals were for his mapping of Southwestern Africa, he became a member of the prestigious Athenaeum Club and he was made a fellow member of the Fellow of the Royal Society. He received every award that the scientific Victorian establishments could offer. He was knighted in 1909. It was estimated that his childhood IQ was approximately 200. Francis Galton died on the 17th of January 1911.
Francis Galton was one of a kind and astounded the world with his intelligence. He brought many new ideas and invention to this world of ours and would have proved a great loss to society without him having lived in it.