Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (17 February 1890 – 29 July 1962) was a British polymath, mathematician, statistician, geneticist, and academic. For his work in statistics, he has been described as "a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science" and "the single most important figure in 20th century statistics". In genetics, his work used mathematics to combine Mendelian genetics and natural selection; this contributed to the revival of Darwinism in the early 20th-century revision of the theory of evolution known as the modern synthesis. For his contributions to biology, Fisher has been called "the greatest of Darwin’s successors".
Fisher held strong views on race and eugenics, insisting on racial differences; however, evidence suggests that, even though he was clearly a eugenist, he did not support scientific racism. Notably, he was a dissenting voice in the 1950 UNESCO statement The Race Question.: 27 In his own words: "Available scientific knowledge provides a firm basis for believing that the groups of mankind differ in their innate capacity for intellectual and emotional development".: 56 He was the Galton Professor of Eugenics at University College London and editor of the Annals of Eugenics.
From 1919 onward, he worked at the Rothamsted Experimental Station for 14 years; there, he analysed its immense data from crop experiments since the 1840s, and developed the analysis of variance (ANOVA). He established his reputation there in the following years as a biostatistician.
He is known as one of the three principal founders of population genetics. He outlined Fisher's principle, the Fisherian runaway and sexy son hypothesis theories of sexual selection. His contributions to statistics include promoting the method of maximum likelihood and deriving the properties of maximum likelihood estimators, fiducial inference, the derivation of various sampling distributions, founding principles of the design of experiments, and much more.