Francis Galton’s English Men of Science: their nature and nurture (1874) was the first attempt to undertake a systematic study of ‘the scientific mind’. It bequeathed us the expression ‘nature and nurture’ and it established the innovative technique of the survey questionnaire.
This project investigates ideas of ‘the scientific mind’ and the influence of Galton’s work on the psychology of science. It engages critically with Galton’s legacies of racism and eugenics.
The Scientific Mind is led by Professor David Stack from the Department of History at the University of Reading and aims to replicate part of Galton’s study with modern-day scientists.
Recreating the whole of Galton’s survey today would be difficult – with over 50 questions, it is lengthy, and asks respondents to disclose highly personal information about themselves and family members.
With this in mind, we are asking scientists to answer just one, open question from the original survey. Click on the links below to find out more – including how this project engages critically with Galton’s legacies of racism and eugenics. You can take part in the study here.
- Why study ‘the scientific mind’?
- Why start with Galton?
- What was in the original survey and who completed it?