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Francis Galton: Pioneer of Heredity and Biometry Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0801874031 ISBN-10: 0801874033 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


Chapters on Galton's early scientific career... are followed by meatier chapters on statistical theory of heredity, the law of ancestral heredity, discontinuity in evolution, and biometry. For historians of science the book provides a clear roadmap to what Galton did, or said he did, and what he thought, or what he believed he thought.

(Hamilton Cravens Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences)

Michael Bulmer's book is only partially about Galton the man. It begins with a biographical chapter but most of the book describes and evaluates Galton's quantitative work... Bulmer guides us skillfully through a great deal of the beginnings of our science. We are where we are because of the labors of people like Francis Galton. Science is not the same thing as progress but Galton's story is relevant to understanding something about the way in which science is related to progress.

(R.J. Berry Human Genetics)

Well-written, with a good pace, clear explanations, and a good eye for alternating the technical exposition with interesting personal detail. Anyone with a basic interest in the history of biology or of statistics will find it a valuable and enjoyable read.

(James Franklin, University of New South Wales, author of The Science of Conjecture)

Sir Francis Galton is a neglected scientific genius. Buried under the ignominy of having coined the word eugenics only his reputation as a dilettante amateur scientist survived. But in this book, Michael Bulmer shows that Galton was to the science of heredity what Charles Babbage was to computing. Babbage knew no electrons and Galton no genes, but their ideas have transcended the discovery of both. Bulmer gives the first full account of Galton's theory of ancestral heredity which so influenced Pearson, and shows how, with his experiments on the inheritance of seed-weight in the sweet pea, Galton did for the inheritance of continuous characters what Gregor Mendel (unknown to Galton and his generation) had done for discrete characters. Bulmer's book is a major contribution to an understanding of the path-breaking biological and statistical work of 'the father of biometry.'.

(A. W. F. Edwards, University of Cambridge, author of Pascal's Arithmetic Triangle and Likelihood)

About the Author

Michael Bulmer is Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University.

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