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Anthony William Fairbank Edwards (born 1935) is a Britishmarker statistician, geneticist, and evolutionary biologist. He is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius Collegemarker and retired Professor of Biometry at the University of Cambridgemarker, and holds both the ScD and LittD degrees. A pupil of R.A. Fisher, he has written several books and numerous scientific papers. He is best known for his pioneering work, with L.L. Cavalli-Sforza, on quantitative methods of phylogenetic analysis, and for strongly advocating Fisher's concept of likelihood as the proper basis for statistical and scientific inference. He has also written extensively on the history of genetics and statistics, including an analysis of whether Mendel's results were "too good", and also on purely mathematical subjects, such as Venn diagrams. His elder brother John H. Edwards (1928–2007) was a geneticist.

He is also known for his involvement in gliding, particularly within the Cambridge University Gliding Club and for his writing on the subject in Sailplane and Gliding magazine as "the armchair pilot".

6-set Edwards-Venn diagram



  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1972. Likelihood. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (expanded edition, 1992, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore). ISBN 0-8018-4443-6
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1977. Foundations of Mathematical Genetics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2nd ed., 2000). ISBN 0-521-77544-2
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1987. Pascal's Arithmetical Triangle: The Story of a Mathematical Idea. Charles Griffin, London (paperback edition, 2002, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore). ISBN 0-8018-6946-3
  • David, H.A. and A.W.F. Edwards. 2001. Annotated Readings in the History of Statistics. Springer, New York. ISBN 0-387-98844-0
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 2004. Cogwheels of the Mind: The Story of Venn Diagrams. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-7434-3

Selected papers

  • Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. and A.W.F. Edwards. 1964. Analysis of human evolution. Genetics Today 3:923–933.
  • Edwards, A.W.F, and L.L. Cavalli-Sforza. 1964. Reconstruction of evolutionary trees. pp. 67–76 in Phenetic and Phylogenetic Classification, ed. V. H. Heywood and J. McNeill. Systematics Association pub. no. 6, London.
  • Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. and A.W.F. Edwards. 1967. Phylogenetic analysis: models and estimation procedures. American Journal of Human Genetics 19:233–257.
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1969. Statistical methods in scientific inference. Nature 222:1233–1237.
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1974. The history of likelihood. International Statistical Review 42:9–15.
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1986. Are Mendel's results really too close? Biological Reviews 61:295–312.
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 1996. The origin and early development of the method of minimum evolution for the reconstruction of phylogenetic trees. Systematic Biology 45:79–91.
  • Edwards, A.W.F. 2000. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Genetics 154:1419–1426.

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