Adolphe Quetelet, Social Physics and the Average Men of Science, 1796-1874

Donnelly's purpose is neither to praise Quetelet nor to bury his reputation but to situate his work in the history of nineteenth-century scientific institution-building and its relations to the practices of government. This biography is a timely achievement.
Steven Shapin

Adolphe Quetelet was an influential astronomer and statistician whose controversial work inspired heated debate in European and American intellectual circles. In creating a science designed to explain the “average man,” he helped contribute to the idea of normal, most enduringly in his creation of the Quetelet Index, which came to be known as the Body Mass Index. Kevin Donnelly presents the first scholarly biography of Quetelet, exploring his contribution to quantitative reasoning, his place in nineteenth-century intellectual history, and his profound influence on the modern idea of average.

256 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

June, 2015

isbn : 9781848935686

about the author

Kevin Padraic Donnelly

Kevin Padraic Donnelly is an associate professor of history at Alvernia University. His scholarship has appeared in the British Journal for the History of Science, History of Science, PUBLIC Journal, and History of Meteorology, and he has published several chapters in edited volumes on the role of statistics and science in shaping social thought. His previous book is a well-acclaimed history of the pioneering nineteenth-century statistician Adolphe Quetelet.

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Kevin Padraic Donnelly