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‘Als ’t ware een nieuwe wetenschap’. De toepassing van de statistische methode door de Gentse botanici rond 1900

By Geert Vanpaemel


'It seems a new science'. The application of statistical methods by the botanists at Gent around 1900. Two botanists, Julius MacLeod (1857-1919) and his pupil Caesar de Bruyker (1878-1924), developed in the university of Gent a new approach to problems of heredity in plants. They used statistical methods to evaluate the results of their practical research. To study the influence of conditions of living on the variation of plants they used the ideas of Quetelet on the normal distribution. To explain polymorphic curves they applied the Fibonacci numbers. They concluded that variation could be explained by mathematical laws. However, they did not succeed in getting followers. After the First World War De Bruyker had to resign because of his collaboration with the German occupation. The strong nationalistic feelings of MacLeod and De Bruyker had isolated them from the mainstream of intellectual achievements in Belgium

Topics: Geschiedenis, Botany, Statistics, Gent, 1900
Year: 2012
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