Skip to main content

Sir Godfrey Thomson: a statistical pioneer

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)



Godfrey Thomson (1881–1955) was a leading figure in intelligence testing who made his name in that field first at Armstrong College, Newcastle, and then at the University of Edinburgh. In the course of his practical work he identified many theoretical problems which were essentially statistical in character. In particular, he used maximum likelihood estimation as early as 1919 and his statistical work largely set the course of modern factor analysis and related techniques. His statistical abilities were recognized, at different stages of his career, by both Karl Pearson and Sir Ronald Fisher. His key insight was to recognize the importance of Fisherian inference for the future of that subject.

Keywords: Factor analysis; History of statistics; K. Pearson; Latent variables; M. S. Bartlett; Maximum likelihood estimation; R. A. Fisher

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: London School of Economics and Political Science, UK 2: University of Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: 2009-04-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more