STATEMENT ON R A FISHER
Ronald Aylmer Fisher is often considered to have founded modern statistics. Starting in 1919, Fisher worked at Rothamsted Experimental Station (as it was called then) for 14 years.
Among his many interests, Fisher supported the philosophy of eugenics, which was not uncommon among intellectuals in Europe and America in the early 20th Century.
He also applied his own scientific theories to explore the differences between human races, including questions of intellectual ability. Since then, advances in human rights and in the ethics of science have led to a general repudiation of eugenic theories.
Whilst recognising Fisher’s immense contribution to the development of agricultural science and many aspects of applied statistics, Rothamsted Research and the Lawes Agricultural Trust reject utterly the use of pseudo-scientific arguments to support racist or discriminatory views, and indeed completely reject racist or discriminatory views or actions in any form. We are fully committed to equality and diversity in all aspects of our work and continue to work tirelessly to achieve a more just and equitable world.
The Trustees of the Lawes Agricultural Trust, therefore, consider it appropriate to change the name of the Fisher Court accommodation block (opened in 2018 and named after the old Fisher Building that it replaced) to “AnoVa Court”, after the analysis of variance statistical test developed by Fisher’s team at Rothamsted, and which is widely used today. Arrangements for this change of name are currently being made.*
*This is a residential address, consequently certain notifications need to be made to the Council and Post Office, so this cannot be an instant change.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.