Prof. Karl Pearson, F.R.S.

  • An Erratum to this article was published on 01 May 1936


WITH Prof. Karl Pearson, who died suddenly on April 27, has passed one of the great figures of the last half-century in science. He was born in 1857, son of William Pearson, K.C., of sturdy Yorkshire stock. Educated first at University College School, he entered King's College, Cambridge, as a scholar in 1875, and took his B.A. (Mathematical Tripos, 3rd Wrangler) in 1879; he was elected a fellow of the college in the following year, and remained a fellow until 1886. In 1882 he was called to the Bar in the Inner Temple, and originally intended to make the law his profession. But Sir Alexander Kennedy persuaded him to give up law and, to use his own expression, “finally landed me in Clifford's chair of Applied Mathematics at University College”—the Goldsmid professorship of applied mathematics and mechanics in the University of London. This was in 1884. He was the spiritual, not the direct, successor to Clifford, who had died in 1879; the post had in the meantime been held by Prof. Henrici.

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  • 01 May 1936

    Obituary of Prof. Karl Pearson (May 23, p. 857): Mr. Udny Yule informs us that the dates of Prof. Pearson's books should read as follows: “Grammar of Science”, 1892; “Chances of Death, etc.”, 1897; “Ethic of Free-thought”, 1888.


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UDNY, G. Prof. Karl Pearson, F.R.S.. Nature 137, 856–857 (1936).

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