Ronald Aylmer Fisher

  • A. W. F. Edwards
Part of the The New Palgrave book series (NPA)


R.A. Fisher was born in London on 17 February 1890, the son of a fine-art auctioneer. His twin brother was still-born. At Harrow School he distinguished himself in mathematics, despite being handicapped by poor eyesight which prevented him working by artificial light. His teachers used to instruct by ear, and Fisher developed a remarkable capacity for pursuing complex mathematical arguments in his head. This manifested itself in later life in his ability to reach a conclusion whilst forgetting the argument; to handle complex geometrical trains of thought; and to develop and report essentially mathematical arguments in English (only for students to have to reconstruct the mathematics later).


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Selected Works

  1. 1915. Frequency distribution of the values of the correlation coefficient in samples from an indefinitely large population. Biometrika 10, 507–21.Google Scholar
  2. 1918. The correlation between relatives on the supposition of Mendelian inheritance. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 52, 399–433.Google Scholar
  3. 1922. On the mathematical foundations of theoretical statistics. Philosophical Transactions. Royal Society of London, Series A 222, 309–68.Google Scholar
  4. 1925. Statistical Methods for Research Workers. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  5. 1930. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. 1935. The Design of Experiments. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  7. 1938. With F. Yates. Statistical Tables for Biological, Agricultural and Medical Research. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  8. 1949. The Theory of Inbreeding. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  9. 1950. Contributions to Mathematical Statistics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. 1956. Statistical Methods and Scientific Inference. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.Google Scholar
  11. 1971–4. Collected Papers of R.A. Fisher. Ed. J.H. Bennett. Adelaide: University of Adelaide, 5 vols.Google Scholar


  1. Box, Joan Fisher. 1979. R.A. Fisher: The Life of a Scientist. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. W. F. Edwards

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