(1822-1911) English scientist, inventor, and explorer who studied the inheritance of physical and mental attributes with the aim of improving the human species. He was the first to use twins to try to assess the influence of environment on development, and is considered the founder of eugenics (a term he coined).
Galton believed that genius was inherited, and was principally to be found in the British; he also attempted to compile a map of human physical beauty in Britain. He invented the `silent' dog whistle, the weather map, a teletype printer, and forensic fingerprinting, and discovered the existence of anticyclones.
Galton was born in Birmingham and studied medicine in London as well as mathematics at Cambridge. In 1850 he set out for uncharted areas of Africa, and on his return wrote two books describing his explorations.
Galton designed several instruments to plot meteorological data, and made the first serious attempt to chart the weather over large areas—described in his book Meteorographica 1863. He also helped to establish the Meteorological Office and the National Physical Laboratory.
In Hereditary Genius 1869, based on a study of mental abilities in eminent families, Galton formulated the regression law, which states that parents who deviate from the average in a positive or negative direction have children who, on average, also deviate in the same direction but to a lesser extent.
Galton invented instruments to measure mental abilities in some 9,000 subjects. In order to interpret his data, Galton devised new statistical methods of analysis, including correlational calculus, which has since become an invaluable tool in many disciplines. The results were summarized in Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development 1883.
Francis Galton · Galton · Sir Francis Galton