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Galton’s Passion for Measurement

British government commissioned him to teach camping procedures to soldiers. In 1855 he published his second book, The Art of Travel, which included information on how to deal with wild animals and savages. For his inventive contributions, Galton was elected president of the Royal Geo- graphical Society in 1856.

To further illustrate Galton’s passion for measurement, here are a few of his other endeavors:

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■ In his effort to measure and predict the weather, he invented the weather map and was the first to use the terms highs, lows, and fronts.

■ He was the first to suggest that fingerprints could be used for personal identification—a procedure later adopted by Scotland Yard.

■ Initially intended as another tool for criminologists, Galton studied composite portraiture or the creation of new faces based on combining multiple photographs. He discovered that the more images used, the more attractive the composite face.

■ He tried to determine which country had the most beautiful women.

■ He measured the degree of boredom at scientific lectures.

■ He attempted to determine the effectiveness of prayer (he found it ineffective).

One can imagine Galton’s delight when he became aware of his cousin’s evolutionary theory with its emphasis on individual differences. Galton believed that if there were important individual differences among people, clearly they should be measured and cataloged. This became Galton’s mission in life.

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