Starstruck Sunday: Who was Sir Ronald Fisher?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 October 2018

Books lining a set of shelves. Picture: mazzzur

Books lining a set of shelves. Picture: mazzzur


Harpenden has been a home a number of celebrity residents over the decades, from musicians to comedians, photographers and presenters, and everything inbetween.

Our Starstruck Sunday series is putting the spotlight on some famous people in the local community.

Atheist Richard Dawkins in 2011 named Sir Ronald Fisher, a 19th century scientist, “the greatest biologist since Charles Darwin”.

Ronald founded modern statistics, compiling a lifetime of work in his 1956 book Statistical Methods and Scientific Inference.

He also worked at Rothamsted Research from 1919, contributing to the plant breeding experiments which still happen there today.

In 1954 Ronald, then the secretary general of The General Board at Cambridge, was described as a “charming chap” by one CB Goodhart, who added: “One doesn’t like to put his letters unopened into the wastepaper basket.”

Despite being knighted in 1952, Sir Ronald has a troubled and controversial history - he was made the Galton Professor of Eugenics at University College in 1933.

Eugenics is the pseudoscience used to commit genocide by the Nazis in World War Two.

Know someone who should feature? Contact us at enjoyharpendenmore@archant.co.uk to let us know.

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