Karl Pearson

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Karl Pearson, Fellow of the Royal Society (1857 – 1936) was an influential English mathematician, biometrician, and statistician. Pearson obtained his PhD (supervised by Galton) from Cambridge UK in 1879, joining the faculty of UCL, where he was appointed as Professor of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics in 1884. In 1890 he added the title of Gresham Lecturer in Geometry. It was not until 1893 that Pearson started publishing articles on statistics. By that time he already had a hundred publications to his name (including a number on German history and folklore). His first statistical work was entitled The Chances of Death and Other Studies in Evolution, and much of his subsequent work on statistical theory had a similar focus. During the period 1895–8 he presented a sequence of papers on correlation and in 1900 he proposed the chi-squared test. He founded the journal Biometrika in 1901 and was Editor until his death, when his son took over. In 1911 he was appointed Professor of Eugenics (the study of human evolution), a post he held until 1933. He was elected FRS in 1896 and FRSE in 1934.


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