Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet


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(1796–1874; b. Ghent, Belgium; d. Brussels, Belgium)

Belgian mathematician, astronomer, and statistician. Quetelet obtained his PhD (on conic sections) from U Ghent in 1819. By 1833 he was working as an astronomer and meteorologist at the Royal Observatory in Brussels, but his international fame was due to his work as a statistician on social science data. He spent much time constructing tables and diagrams to show relationships between variables. He was interested in the concept of an ‘average man’ as today we talk of the ‘average family’ and this was the subject of Sur l'homme et le développement de ses facultés (A Treatise on Man and the Development of his Faculties), published in 1835. He was one of the founders of the RSS and, in 1853, he organized the first international Statistics conference. In 1835 he was elected FRSE and in 1838 FRS. A lunar crater is named after him.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.

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