Where did Ronald fisher live/Biography/Controversy with tobacco research

Sir Ronald Fisher was a statistician and biologist well known for having authored several equations that are still used today in the world of natural science research. Where did Ronald fisher live?

Although his life is extensively prolific, being the author of several articles and a great researcher, he is also known for being in favor of eugenics and rejecting the idea that all people, whatever their race, are equal.

We are going to see below a biography of Ronald Fisher , which is marked by chiaroscuro and some controversies.

Ronald Fisher Biography

Next we will see the life of Ronald Fisher, which is characterized by a long scientific career and statistical findings, in addition to the occasional controversy.

Early years

Ronald Fisher was born in London, England, on February 17, 1890, into a middle-class family. Throughout his life he had a fairly diminished vision , although not reaching blindness, but it also prevented him from being part of the British army during the First World War.

At the age of fourteen, he enrolled at the Harrow School, where he won a medal for his excellent mathematical abilities . That is why in 1909 he won the power to be accepted in Cambridge schools to expand his mathematical knowledge.

Later he gained the title in this science and was able to start working as a statesman.

Career and training

During the period between 1913 and 1919, Ronald Fisher worked in the City of London. There, in addition to working as a statesman, he taught physics and mathematics in public schools , including Thames Nautical Training College, and Bradfield College. Where did Ronald fisher live?

In 1918 he published one of his most popular and prestigious works: The Correlation Between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance .

In this work, he introduced the concept of variance and proposed its analysis by means of statistics , and in it some of the first ideas about population genetics are raised. In the text he demonstrated that natural selection can change the frequencies of alleles of a certain gene in the population.

Years at Rothamsted

In 1919 he began working at the Rothamsted Experimental Station, where he would remain for a period of 14 years. There he analyzed a large amount of data on studies that had been carried out since 1840.

That same year he was offered a position at the Francis Galton Laboratory at the University of London, which at that time was headed by Karl Pearson. However, Fisher chose to take a temporary job at Rothamsted. It was during these years that he made the first application of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) .

In his 1924 article On a distribution yielding the error functions of several well-known statistics, he presented together several statistical tests, among which we can highlight Pearson’s chi-square and William Gosset’s student’s t.

It is in this document that introduces a new statistical method, which you decades later would be known as the F Fisher .

In 1931 he stayed for six weeks at the Statistical Laboratory in Iowa, where he held several conferences and had the opportunity to meet various statesmen, including George W. Snedecor.

Years in London

In 1933, Fisher took over the leadership of the eugenics department at University College London .

In 1935 he published The Design of Experiments , a book in which he argued how important the use of statistical techniques was to justify research methods. Where did Ronald fisher live?

In 1937 he would publish a document, The wave of advance of advantageous genes , in which he proposed an equation to explain the expansion of the advantageous alleles of a certain gene in the population. In that document he introduced one of the most famous equations in statistics, the Fisher-Kolmogorov equation.

That same year he visited the Indian Institute of Statistics in Calcutta, where he had the opportunity to meet great minds in the discipline of the Indian subcontinent.

In 1938, together with Frank Yates, he described the Fisher-Yates algorithm , a mathematical calculation whose original purpose was to serve in research in biology, medicine and agriculture.

Personal life

Ronald Fisher married Eileen Guinnes, with whom he had two sons and six daughters. The marriage broke up after the Second World War, a conflict in which one of his sons died while in combat.

Fisher was a Church of England adept and extremely conservative in leaning , but also a great scientist and defender of research rationalism. In academia, he was known to be the typical sky-high teacher, who cares more about explaining the content of the lesson by rambling rather than sticking to a strict class script. He was also known for giving little importance to his style of dress, dressing rather carelessly.

One of the things that most attracts attention about Fisher is that he was part of the Society for Psychical Research , an organization that is in charge of investigating paranormal events, but from a more or less scientific perspective and trying to put aside pseudoscientific and mythological interpretations. thereof. Where did Ronald fisher live?

Last years

In 1957, Fisher retired and decided to emigrate to Australia, where he was awarded a place as a researcher emeritus at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Adelaide. It was in that same city where he died, on July 29, 1962.


Although Fisher was a great scientist, he had a vision of how humanity should organize itself based on eugenic and racist pretext .

In 1910 he joined the British Eugenic Society at the University of Cambridge. Fisher believed that eugenics was a good method to deal with social pressures.

In his book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, he explained that one of the reasons great civilizations fell was because their most powerful classes, at some point in history, had been less fertile, making classes more Low, seen as inferior, had a greater weight in society demographically speaking, which ultimately implied a greater socio-political weight of them.

In 1950, Fisher opposed the debate on the racial question proposed by UNESCO, believing that there was strong evidence to defend the idea that races were significantly different and that, therefore, there should be differences in the treatment that was given. towards the individuals of the same.

Controversy with tobacco research

Fisher was openly critical of research conducted in 1950 in which tobacco smoking was linked to cancer. The investigation in particular ensured that tobacco was behind presenting the disease.

However, Fisher did not consider this statement to be correct, since correlation does not imply causality , that is, that two events occur more or less evenly does not necessarily imply that one causes the other. There are those who say that Fisher voiced this criticism on the grounds that he was a chain smoker and that he was also suspected of having been bribed by the tobacco industry to support her. Where did Ronald fisher live?

However, this was not true, since what he was doing was simply indicating that claiming that one factor, in this case tobacco smoking, was most responsible for the other, in this case cancer, was not strictly true.

Although nowadays no one doubts how harmful tobacco use is , an important lesson can be drawn from this anecdote: we should not believe that because two or more things happen at the same time, they are responsible for the other , something that many researches and the media sin to affirm without adequate evidence.

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