Nightingale Chair of Social Physics

Nighingale chair (proposal)
From 1874 to 1891, Italian-born English social thinker and health care reform pioneer Florence Nightingale lobbied to a chair of “social physics” established at the University of Oxford, based on a combination of Adolphe Quetelet’s social physics theories, John Mill’s philosophy, collected data on social statistics, applied intelligently, i.e. evidence-based, for the betterment of humanity.
In hmolscience, Nightingale Chair of Social Physics, akin to the more-illustrious Lucasian Chair of Mathematics—a mathematics professorship at the University of Cambridge, famously held by Isaac Newton—was a proposed “social physics” professorship, conceived in 1874, by Italian-born English nursing reform pioneer and social theorist Florence Nightingale, on eve of the passing of Belgian statistical mathematician, astronomer and social physics pioneer Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874), author of the 1835 Essay on Social Physics, aimed to be established and initiated at the University of Oxford. [1]

Nightingale, in short, proposed the chair in 1874, offered money towards the chair, and lobbied for a number of years, up until 1891, to get the chair and or a readership established at Oxford, working in coordination with a number of individuals, including: Oxford administrator Benjamin Jowett, who offered to leave money in his will for the chair, suggesting that it be named after her father, English anthropologist Francis Galton, who guided her in drawing up an outline of topics to be addresses for such a course, English economist Alfred Marshall, who said the “government ought to do it”, among others.

Overview
In 1835, Belgian statistical mathematician and astronomer Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874) published his Essay on Social Physics, which, according to its first English translator Robert Knox, was the “first attempt made to apply the art of calculation to the social movements of the human being, and to examine by it his moral anatomy, with the view of detecting the real sources and amount of the evils under which he labors, and, ulteriorly, of remedying them when known.” [2] English historian Henry Buckle’s two-volume 1857/1861 History of Civilization in English worked to promote and disseminate Quetelet’s ideas to a wide readership. [4]

In 1837, Italian-born English thinker Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), at the age of 17, had entered into some kind of religious enlightenment, in which she began to view god as a perfect creator, who made and runs the world by ‘laws’, which humans can ascertain by rigorous, preferably statistical, study, and that with this knowledge gained one can then intervene for ‘good’. This philosophical basis led her through all the health care and social reform she would go on to do, her collected works alone, covering a broad spectrum of topics, comprising a 16-volume collected works set. To guide her in doing the research to discover ‘god’s laws’, according to her collected works editor Lynn McDonald, she developed a methodological approach, in which her two main sources were Adolphe Quetelet, on the conduct of research, and John Mill, on philosophical grounding. Nightingale’s Society and Politics, is said to contain what Nightingale learned from these two people and how she further developed these ideas. [3]

Proposal for chair in social physics (2003)
Canadian social science historian Lynn McDonald’s 2003 chapter section header on Florence Nightingale’s 1874-1891 Oxford social physics chair initiation project. [9]
In circa 1859, Quetelet took part in the first meeting of British Association for the Advancement of Science, which, according to Canadian social science historian Lynn McDonald, was an organization “dominated by natural scientists hostile to social science.” Quetelet recommended the creation of a separate statistical association, which was promptly done. In 1860, Quetelet was the opening speaker at the International Statistical Congress, in London, after which he visited Nightingale, a great admirer of his work, who could not attend the conference, but had sent papers and invited major participants to her home for discussions. [4] The two remained close correspondents thereafter.

In 1871-74, Quetelet, in his last years, gave Nightingale copies of his Social Physics (1835) and Anthropometry (1871), an incident which she recounts, in her 7 Feb 1891 letter to Francis Galton, as follows: [7]

Quetelet gave me his Physique Sociale and his Anthropometrie. He said, almost like Sir Isaac Newton: ‘These are only a few pebbles picked up on the vast seashore of the ocean to be explored. Let the exploration be carried out’.”

On 21 Feb 1874, following Quetelet's passing, Nightingale wrote the following: [8]

“The only fitting memorial to Quetelet would be to introduce his [social physics] science in the studies of Oxford, the science of which he was the discoverer, upon which alone social and political philosophy can be founded, which as he said himself ought no means to be limited to the administrative or legislative domain but should be the interpreter of all theodike, all the government and its laws embracing the smallest and the most accidental to the greatest and most universal actions and phenomena of our moral physical life.”

In 1876, Nightengale discussed the idea with Oxford administrative reformer Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893), who offered to leave money in his will for the chair, suggesting that it be named after her father (i.e. Nightingale Chair of Social Physics). [9] The list of potential research topics, for the holder of the chair in social physics, as summarized by Lynn McDonald, that Nightingale listed, included the following: [4]

“The effects of schooling, secondary, night schools, and other state-funded; how much learning was retained in adulthood? The results of legal punishments in actually deterring crime; does education decrease crime; the effects of charity and workhouses, …”

In 1890-91, she spent a year-and-a-half lobbying to see the chair established, including discussion with Francis Galton, among others; the following being an example statement:

“I think the [following] needs doing: [we need] a scheme from someone of high authority as to what should be the work and subjects in teaching ‘social physics’ and their practical application, in the event of our being able to obtain a statistical professorship or readership at the University of Oxford.”
Florence Nightingale (1891), “Letter to Francis Galton”, Feb 7

In 1891, Jowett discussed the proposal with Alfred Marshall who gave his opinion that the “government ought to do it”. [2]

In 1891, Nightingale, in her discussions with Galton, offered to give £2,000 (pounds), the equivalent of 100,000 USD in modern currency. Galton, however, was only prepared to use the money on a few essays, and Nightingale withdrew her offer. The project dead-ended after this point. [4]

C.G. Darwin | Human thermodynamics
This slight error, on the part of Francis Galton, not to proceed with Nightingale’s initiative to start a chair of social physics at Oxford, of course, is somewhat ironic, given that C.G. Darwin, grandson to the more illustrious Charles Darwin, Galton’s half-cousin, who was age four at the time, could have very well gone onto become the second, third, or fourth social physics chair holder, being that by that by 1911 he was a lecturer in physics, working under proton discoverer Ernest Rutherford, at Victoria University of Manchester, lectured on topics such as kinetic theory and thermodynamics, by 1935 he had become the directory of the National Physics Laboratory, at Cambridge, and by 1952, in his The Next Million Years, in his "Introduction" section, famously became the first person to outline the subject of “human thermodynamics”, a more focused and advanced version of social physics, as the statistical mechanics study of conservative dynamic systems of “human molecules”. [10]

Main "Social Physics" Schools
UNIL physical economics s
Lausanne school
(1890-1923)
Harvard Pareto circle (labeled) b
Harvard Pareto circle
(1932-1943)
Princeton university (social physics)
Princeton social physics
(1945-1955)
UP ES logo
Romanian school
(2007-present)
The form main universities that had or have actual functioning physicochemical humanities stylized courses and or departments (see: two cultures synergy).
Nightingale | Chair of Physicochemical Humanities
The modern name for the chair Nightingale had in mind would, seemingly, be called “Chair of Physicochemical Humanities”, with readerships and professorships in physicochemical humanities, the centralized textbook being human chemical thermodynamics (the modern version of what C.G. Darwin envisioned), being that into the mid-1890s, and the century to follow, the subject of social physics began become more encompassing:

“The sun and earth, or storms and earthquakes, which nowadays we understand as manifestations of natural physico-chemical forces, were once seen as persons or as the results of actions and "designs" of persons [gods]. Only gradually did the transition come about from magical and metaphysical thinking to scientific thinking about the physico-chemical aspects of the world. The change was to a large degree dependent on the fading away of heteronomous, naively egocentric explanatory models. In sociology, we are [presently] confronted with a similar task of emancipation.”
— Norbert Elias (1978), What is Sociology? [11]

Modern "social physics" going by names such as: pure political economics and social mechanics (Leon Winiarski, 1894), physico-chemical social dynamics (Henry Adams, 1908), humanized physics (Edwin Slosson, 1910), anthropic physics (Wilhelm Ostwald, 1912), Gibbs-Pareto based sociology (Lawrence Henderson, 1932), physicochemical sociology (Pitirim Sorokin, 1943), among others, up to modern names such as applied thermodynamics: physical socio-economics (Jurgen Mimkes, 2005), and so on (see: two cultures namesakes).

Thims | Inquires
See main: Two cultures inquiries
In 2012, American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims began probing into an initiative, similar to the effort of Nightingale (1874-1891), to establish a “Chair of Physicochemical Humanities”, at one of the top universities of the world.

On 5 May 2015, Thims emailed (Ѻ) the Gates Foundation (Ѻ) to inquire about getting funding for a “Nightingale Chair of Social Physics” in America, similar to the way the Rockefeller Foundation funded the Princeton Social Physics Project (see: Princeton Department of Social Physics), from 1949 to 1953, prior to having funding cut off amid the Stewart-Weaver fallout.

On 25 Apr 2016, Thims envisioned (Ѻ) the idea that he could use the proceeds from MailCubes.com (Ѻ) to fund the establishment of the Nightingale Chair of Social Physics, similar to the way Ernest Solvay, in France, used his wealth, derived from his invention of sodium bicarbonate synthesis, to fund, promote, and attempt to establish the science of social energetics (1894-1910), thereby avoiding the classical pitfalls of (a) “Stewart-Weaver fallout” issues and thereby provide fuel to cut through unnecessary (b) “doctrinaire departmentalism” issues.

Quotes
The following are related quotes:

Quetelet is the founder of the most important science in the whole world.”
Florence Nightingale (1874), on social physics [6]

Nightingale’s later endeavors to establish a chair of ‘social physics’ at Oxford University were founded upon her belief that governmental data collection (which was routine by this time) was useless without applied statistical analysis and decision making—which effectively was an argument for evidence based decision making in public health and policy. However, like James Lind’s recommendations in the 18th century, Nightingale’s proposal was frustrated by a resistant administrative body, and the chair was not established.”
— Trahern Jones et al (2011), “Evidence-Based Medicine Through the Ages” [5]

See also
Stewart-Weaver fallout

References
1. (a) Ball, Philip. (2001). “The Physical Modeling of Society: A Historical Perspective” (abs) (pdf); A Talk Presented at Messina, Sicily; in: Physica A, 314(1-4):1-14, 2002.
(b) Nightingale, Florence. (2003). Florence Nightingale on Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale (editor: Lynn McDonald) (§: Proposal for a Chair in Social Physics, pgs. 105-28; see also: pg. 11). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
(c) Benjamin Jowett – Wikipedia.
(d) Lucasian Professor of Mathematics – Wikipedia.
2. (a) Quetelet, Adolphe. (1835). Treatise on Man and the Development of his Faculties or Essay on Social Physics (Sur l’homme et le developpement de ses faculties, ou essai de physique sociale). Publisher; First English edition (publisher’s note by Robert Knox, pg. iii): William and Robert Chambers, 1842.
(b) Robert Knox (1791-1862) – TBCS.org.uk.
3. (a) Nightingale, Florence. (2009). Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 12: the Nightingale School (editor: Lynn McDonald) (pg. xii). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
(b) Lynn McDonald – Wikipedia.
(b) Lynn McDonald (faculty) – University of Guelph.
4. McDonald, Lynn. (1995). The Early Origins of the Social Sciences (pg. 257-58). McGill - Queen’s University Press.
5. Jones, Trahern W., West, Colin P., and Newman, James S. (2011). “In Search of the Facts: Evidence-Based Medicine Through the Ages” (pdf), JCOM, 18(5):205-10.
6. (a) Nightingale, Florence. (2009). Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 5: On Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature (editor: Lynn McDonald) (pg. 39-40). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
(b) McDonald, Lynn. (1995). The Early Origins of the Social Sciences (pg. 257-58). McGill - Queen’s University Press.
7. (a) Nightingale, Florence. (1891). “Letter to Francis Galton”, Feb 7.
(b) Nightingale, Florence. (2003). Florence Nightingale on Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale (editor: Lynn McDonald) (§: Proposal for a Chair in Social Physics, pgs. 105-28; quote, pg. 113). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
8. Nightingale, Florence. (2009). Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 5: On Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature (editor: Lynn McDonald) (pg. 39-40). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
9. Nightingale, Florence. (2003). Florence Nightingale on Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale (editor: Lynn McDonald) (§: Proposal for a Chair in Social Physics, pgs. 105-28; see also: pg. 11). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
(c) Benjamin Jowett – Wikipedia.
10. Darwin, Charles G. (1952). The Next Million Years (Introduction, pg. 26) (Scribd) (Google Books). London: Rupert Hart-Davis.
11. Elias, Norbert. (1978). What is Sociology? (pg.s 16-17). Columbia University Press.

TDics icon ns

More pages