This week marks the 196th birthday of someone who occupies a place of dishonor in the annals of science. Sir Francis Galton was born this week in 1822. He was interested in a wide range of fields: meteorology, psychology, and biometrics, but it was his social theory on eugenics that left an unsavory and unhappy mark on the world.
University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor Dr. Howard Markel joined Stateside to talk about the origins of eugenics. He discussed the racial hierarchies that sprang out of Galton's theory, its place among “progressive” reformers in the early 1900s, its influence on Hitler, and the lessons to learn from scientific racism today.
Listen above for the full conversation.