Adolphe Quetelet, Social Physics and the Average Men of Science, 1796-1874

Offers 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

Adolphe Quetelet was an influential astronomer and statistician whose controversial work inspired heated debate in European and American intellectual circles. In creating a science designed to explain the “average man,” he helped contribute to the idea of normal, most enduringly in his creation of the Quetelet Index, which came to be known as the Body Mass Index. Kevin Donnelly presents the first scholarly biography of Quetelet, exploring his contribution to quantitative reasoning, his place in nineteenth-century intellectual history, and his profound influence on the modern idea of average.

256 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

June, 2015

isbn : 9780822945031

about the author

Kevin Donnelly

Kevin Donnelly is assistant professor of history at Alvernia University in Reading, PA.

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Kevin Donnelly