Medical Definition of Galton, Sir Francis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Galton, Sir Francis: English advocate of eugenics, the idea of improving the physical and mental makeup of the human species by selective parenthood.

Galton coined the word "eugenics" to denote scientific endeavors to increase the proportion of persons with better than average genetic endowment through selective mating of marriage partners. In his book "Hereditary Genius" (1869), Galton used the word "genius" to denote "an ability that was exceptionally high and at the same time inborn." The idea that mental capacities might be inherited was a novel proposition at the time.

Born in 1822, Galton was knighted in 1909 and died in 1911. A eugenics chair was established at the University of London under the terms of his will.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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