LAMBERT ADOLPHE JACQUES QUETELET (1796-1874), Belgian astronomer, meteorologist and statistician, was born at Ghent on the 22nd of February 1796, and educated at the lyceum of that town.
The building was finished in 1832, and the instruments were ready for work in 1835, from which date the observations were published in 4to volumes (Annales de l'Observatoire Royal de Bruxelles), but Quetelet chiefly devoted himself to meteorology and statistics.
His son, Ernest Quetelet (1825-78), was from 1856 attached to the observatory, and on his death succeeded him as director.
Quetelet's astronomical papers refer chiefly to shooting stars and similar phenomena.
Quetelet, by his pupil and assistant E.
The theory of chance was applied to the study of human variation by Quetelet; but the most important applications of this theory to biological problems are due in the first instance to Francis Galton, who used the theory of correlation in describing the relation between the deviation of one character in an animal body from the mean proper to its race and that of a second character in the same body (correlation as commonly understood), or between deviation of a parent from the mean of its generation and deviation of offspring from the mean of the following generation (inheritance).
Quetelet's plan of defining such types will probably meet with general acceptance as the scientific method proper to this branch of anthropology.
(For particulars of Quetelet's method, see his Physique sociale (1869), and Anthropometrie (1871).) Classifications of man have been numerous, and though, regarded as systems, most of them are unsatisfactory, yet they have been of great value in systematizing knowledge, and are all more or less based on indisputable distinctions.
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