The Significant Life of R.A. Fisher: Mathematician / Statistician / Geneticist
Curator: Cheryl Hoskin
From the 1920s to today, Ronald Fisher’s ground-breaking work has revolutionised the design of experiments. The exhibition explores the achievements of this gifted thinker, through his research papers and own writings which were donated to the University of Adelaide Library. To this day, Fisher’s extraordinary contributions continue to influence in many branches of human thought and endeavour.
The exhibition was presented in association with the International Biometric Society (IBS) Australasian Region Conference, December 2019.
Early ResearchIn April 1912, while still a student, Fisher published his first mathematical paper ‘On an Absolute Criterion for Fitting Frequency Curves,’ introducing what would become known as the method of maximum likelihood. Learn more
Rothamsted Experimental Station 1919-1933In 1919 John Russell of the Rothamsted Experimental Station went to Cambridge in search a statistician who could make some sense of the mass of data which had accumulated during 80 years of crop trials. Learn more
Adelaide (1959)Following Fisher’s retirement, Dr E.A. (Alf) Cornish invited him to Australia for a six month stay. Fisher so enjoyed his visit that he decided in July to make his home in Adelaide Learn more
Fisher’s CharacterIn appearance, Fisher had a large head with an intense gaze behind thick pebble glasses. He was usually scruffily dressed and persistently smoked a pipe stuffed with pungent tobacco. Learn more
EugenicsFisher had faith that individuals would choose the eternal good of mankind rather than their own temporary and personal comfort, and that eugenics advocated a simplification of lives. Learn more
Iowa and IndiaIn 1931 and 1936 Fisher travelled to Iowa in the United States of America and then in 1938 toured India. During his travels he lectured at Iowa State University and Calcutta University, as well a presented to conferences. Learn more
Fishers legacy at the University of AdelaideAfter Fisher’s death his extensive collection of research papers, writings and correspondence with scientists, and all rights therein, were deposited with the Barr Smith Library. Learn more