In this letter addressed to the Royal Society Assistant Secretary, Pearson submits a paper by Alice Lee. Pearson insists that Lee be recognised as sole author:
'I want the paper treated as hers, presented by me; for in the matter of editing I have hardly done more than any professor does for a research student working in his laboratory'.
In fact, his support of female researchers went far beyond that of any other contemporary professors.
The traditional method used to determine skull capacity relied on pouring sand or shots into the skull. Before Lee, craniometry was therefore mainly conducted on skeletons - as with this famous skull of Robert the Bruce studied by Pearson and Galton which was recently digitally reconstructed by a team of scientists.
Alice Lee was instrumental in developing mathematical formulae to determine skull capacity of living individuals and perform statistical analysis.
Controversially, she collected skull measurements from her direct academic circle (from male professors and female students), but also from people of various ethnic origins mostly using archeological collections.
Lee's doctoral work was examined by the leading Victorian statistician: Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), FRS.
A promoter of eugenics, Galton was particularly interested in hereditary traits and defined in statistical terms the concept of 'correlation'. Despite granting her the doctoral title, Galton disagreed with Lee's findings, considering that women's inferiority to men should be verified by skull capacity.
During WW1, Alice Lee joined the Munitions Invention department of the Ministry of Munitions and performed computer work for the Admiralty.
As for many women workers, little is known of her contribution to the ministry, except that she mainly calculated bullet trajectories. In a petition to the Home Office to grant her a pension, Pearson (top right on the picture) wrote: 'few, if any, woman workers of her period have accomplished as large as bulk of first class research as Dr. Lee'.
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