Karl Pearson (1857-1936) was a British mathematician and philosopher of science best known for developing some of the central techniques of modern statistics while applying these techniques to the problem of biological inheritance. In the early 1900s, Pearson became interested in the work of British scientist Francis Galton, who attempted to find statistical relationships to explain how biological characteristics were passed down through succeeding generations. Pearson's research laid much of the foundation for 20th-century statistics, defining the meanings of correlation, regression analysis, and standard deviation.

In 1911 Pearson became the Galton professor of eugenics at University College, overseeing the compilation and analysis of information on the ways in which characteristics such as intelligence, criminality, poverty, and creativity were passed among generations. Pearson hoped to apply these insights to improving the human race. He was a prolific author on a variety of scientific and mathematical subjects, and wrote an influential book on the methods of science, called The Grammar of Science (1892).