Karl Pearson: A Reader’s Guide



This website There is a large and scattered literature on the work and life of Karl Pearson (1857-1936), applied mathematician, philosopher of science, biometrician, statistician, eugenist and contributor to “the woman’s question.”  This guide contains a biography of Karl Pearson and a bibliography. It lists writings by statisticians, geneticists, several varieties of historian—of science, of politics, of social thought, of feminism, of literature—and sociologists of science. It tries to accommodate different interests and levels of sophistication. However the coverage is neither exhaustive nor uniform and the emphasis is on the history of statistics. 


Key concepts and people: Bayes’ Theorem, biometry, χ2 goodness of fit, correlation, elasticity, eugenics, feminism, method of moments, Pearson curves, regression, socialism; Karl Pearson, William Bateson, Ronald Fisher, Francis Galton, William Sealy Gosset (“Student”), Major Greenwood, John Maynard Keynes, Jerzy Neyman,. Egon Sharpe Pearson, Maria Sharpe, Olive Schreiner, W. F. R. Weldon, G. Udny Yule.



Links  This guide has external links to free sites, like the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive or Wikipedia and to subscriber sites, like JSTOR. JSTOR makes available most of the journal literature on Pearson; it also has excellent search facilities. For information on JSTOR and a list of participating institutions go to JSTOR



Thanks  to P. J. Bowler, A. W. F. Edwards, P. M. Lee, M. E. Magnello, T. M. Porter and S. M. Stigler for suggestions.



John Aldrich, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. (home) Original version February 2001. Latest revision March 2018.






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