"Count wherever you can" was the motto of Sir Francis Galton's extraordinary life. His measuring mind left its mark all over the scientific landscape. Explorer, inventor, meteorologist, psychologist, anthropologist, and statistician, Galton was one of the great Victorian polymaths. And his obsessive quest for knowledge extended far beyond conventional fields of learning. He turned tea-making into a theoretical science, counted the brush strokes on his portrait, and created a beauty map of the British Isles, ranking its cities on the basis of their feminine allure. But it was in the fledgling field of genetics that he made his most indelible impression. Galton kick-started the enduring nature/nurture debate and took hereditary determinism to its darkest extreme, dreaming of a future society built on a race of pure-breeding supermen.
Through this colorful biography, Martin Brookes examines Galton's scientific legacy and takes us on a fascinating journey to the origins of modern human genetics.