Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/193

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189
FRANCIS GALTON

and remain, but the worker is forgotten. Still a third class "have shown their original powers by little more than a continuous flow of helpful suggestions and criticisms, which were individually of too little importance to be remembered in the history of science, but which in their aggregate, formed a notable aid towards progress." Notwithstanding all of the important fields in which his name should take honorable place, a writer in Nature, and one who is evidently qualified to write of the more personal side of Mr. Galton's life, has told us that his own strongest impetus to science was probably this continuous flow of helpful suggestions and criticisms, this personal inspiration, which he exercised over those with whom he came in contact.

Probably this is true. If one looks for the thing which was next in importance to the personal influence which he exerted, it will not be found in recorded observations but in scientific method. Were his share in the advancement of science to be measured by the quantity of bricks and mortar that we call concrete facts which he made available for others, his place would be an honorable one. But the question which seemed always uppermost in his mind was, how can the essential facts concerning this phenomenon be most easily and accurately obtained and interpreted? Everything he came in contact with presented a problem of method. He touched many fields, and so the problems in method which he set himself were numerous. The "Art of Travel," the standardization of instruments, the installation of self-recording meteorological batteries, the charting of meteorological data, the identification of criminals by finger prints, composite photography, methods and instruments for anthropometry, photographic records of pedigree stock, and finally the correlation coefficient, all attest his inventive genius and his eagerness to attain greater precision in every problem which he touched.

In the case of both Darwin and Galton the greatness of the man has stood in the way of his recognition. Sorting the work of either of them into the compartments of the specialty cabinet and comparing it there with that of others who have devoted themselves to one subject only, it seems meager in volume. Most men are interested in the contents of but one pigeon hole, or are incapable of considering more than a single compartment at a time. If we look under geography or geology, botany or zoology, anthropology, psychology or social science, we find the impress of Darwin and Galton there. But judged as specialists merely there may be some misgivings as to the claim to eminence of either of these grandsons of Erasmus Darwin. But now and then a man appears who chafes at the limits of a single cell, who feels that there should be additional compartments, or that partitions between established divisions should be broken and become nominal merely. He may even insist that the point of view or the method of research of all the specialists requires modification. Such a man may