(Description from the book flap: The introductory chapter ...)

Description from the book flap: The introductory chapter discusses the grounds upon which evidence is disputed, the mathematical attitude towards induction and reasons for the rejection of inverse probability. In chapter II certain principles of design are illustrated by means of a simple experiment to test the veracity of a lady's assertion that she can tell, by tasting a cup of tea, whether milk or tea was first poured into the cup. The third chapter consists of a re-examination of one of Charles Darwin's experiments to determine whether the difference in origin of inbred or cross-bred maize plants influences their growth rate, particular attention being drawn to the necessity of a valid estimate of experimental error. The fourth and fifth chapters deal with the randomised block, and the latin and higher square design respectively. New and complex extension of these to the factorial design, to the art of confounding and partial confounding, and to the value of concomitant measurements in design, are treated in the next four chapters. The tenth chapter on the generalisation of null hypotheses and the eleventh (final) chapter on the measurement of amount of information complete the work. Except for the last chapter, the treatment is essentially non-mathematical.

Statistical Methods, Experimental Design, and Scientific Inference: A Re-issue of Statistical Methods for Research Workers, The Design of Experiments, and Statistical Methods and Scientific Inference

(This volume brings together three seminal works by the la...)

This volume brings together three seminal works by the late R.A. Fisher, whose writings have had more influence on statistical theory and practice than any other 20th century statistician. It includes Statistical Methods for Research Workers, Statistical Methods and Scientific Inference, and The Design of Experiments, all republished in their entirety, with only minor corrections. An informative foreword by Dr. F. Yates, one of the author's closest colleagues and collaborators, discusses the key issues found in the texts, shedding new light on how Fisher's ideas have become mainstays of modern statistical practice.

Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher was an English statistician and geneticist. He was considered to be "a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science" and "the single most important figure in 20th century statistics".

Background

Ronald Fisher was born in London, United Kingdom on February 17, 1890. He was born in a middle class family; his father, George, was a successful partner in Robinson & Fisher, auctioneers and fine art dealers. His mother, Kate, died from acute peritonitis when he was 14, and unfortunately his father lost his business 18 months later.

Education

Fisher entered Harrow School at the age of 14 and won the school's Neeld Medal in mathematics. In 1909, he won a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he specialized in mathematics and physics.

From 1913 Fisher worked for six years as a statistician in the City of London and taught physics and maths at a sequence of public schools, at the Thames Nautical Training College, and at Bradfield College.

In 1918 he published "The Correlation Between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance", in which he introduced the term variance and proposed its formal analysis.

In 1919 Fisher was appointed to the new post of research statistician at the Rothamsted Experimental Station in Hertfordshire. His primary task there was the analysis and reinterpretation of a 66-year backlog of records on continuous agricultural experiments and associated meteorological data. In discharging this duty he revolutionized existing statistical techniques, and he expressed the new outlook in Statistical Methods for Research Workers (1925), which was to become, and to a large extent remains, the bible of applied statistics.

Aside from his practical work on the methodology of experimentation, Fisher wrote perceptively on the rationale of statistical inference. He also established the exact distribution of several important statistical functions. At the same time he was probing a quite different matter: the quantitative side of the theory of natural selection. He became a leader in the reconciliation of Darwinism and Mendelism, and in 1930 he published his second great book, The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Ever since the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's experimental evidence for particulate inheritance and the subsequent fashioning of the theory of genes, there had been an uneasy feeling that these ideas did not tie in with Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

He discovered just how the frequency of particular genes in a given population will fluctuate under the influence of natural selection. In the book he also put forward his views on eugenics; it is a classic of population genetics. An important by-product of Fisher's work on genetics was his practical and theoretical interest in human blood grouping. In 1935 he set up a blood-grouping unit in London, and one of the outcomes was the unraveling of the mode of inheritance of Rhesus groups.

Fisher left Rothamsted in 1933 and moved on to professorships in London and, later, Cambridge University.

After his retirement he emigrated to Australia, where he lived until his death.

Quotations:
“We may at once admit that any inference from the particular to the general must be attended with some degree of uncertainty, but this is not the same as to admit that such inference cannot be absolutely rigorous, for the nature and degree of the uncertainty may itself be capable of rigorous expression.”

“Experimental observations are only experience carefully planned in advance, and designed to form a secure basis of new knowledge.”

Membership

Royal Society

1929

Personality

Quotes from others about the person

"[Fisher was] a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science." - Anders Hald

"[Fisher was] the greatest biologist since Darwin." - Richard Dawkins

"To biologists, he was an architect of the "modern synthesis" that used mathematical models to integrate Mendelian genetics with Darwin's selection theories. To psychologists, Fisher was the inventor of various statistical tests that are still supposed to be used whenever possible in psychology journals. To farmers, Fisher was the founder of experimental agricultural research, saving millions from starvation through rational crop breeding programs." - Geoffrey Miller

Connections

Fisher married Eileen Guinness, with whom he had two sons and six daughters, one of his sons - George Fisher, one of his daughters - Joan Fisher.

Fisher, Neyman, and the Creation of Classical Statistics
Classical statistical theory is mainly the creation of two men: Ronald A. Fisher and Jerzy Neyman. This book explores the relationship between them, their interactions with other influential statisticians and the statistical history they helped create.