"An interpretation of Quetelet's work that wholly justifies serious and systemic historical treatment. . . . Donnelly's purpose is neither to praise Quetelet nor to bury his reputation, but to situate his work in the history of nineteenth-century scientific institution-building and its relations to the practices of government. The biography is a timely achievement."
—Steven Shapin, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
“In this important and perceptive book, Kevin Donnelly casts new light on the scientific life of Adolphe Quetelet. Particularly in view of the wide range of his scientific interests, Quetelet remains a curiously understudied figure in the history of nineteenth-century science. This new biographical study goes a long way in correcting that deficit. It offers fascinating insights and will prove indispensable reading for anyone interested in the origins of the nineteenth-century rise of quantification.”—Iwan Rhys Morus, Aberystwyth University
"After reading all I could about Quetelet, I came away thinking that there was a serious need for a proper treatment of the man, and I was extremely happy to see that this book existed. It is very informative and provides the first sustained treatment of the most famous scientist no one has ever heard of. People need to know about Quetelet."—Todd Rose, Harvard University