He created a vented hat to keep the head cool, invented a new way to cut round cakes and dreamt up an algorithm for making the perfect cup of tea.
But Francis Galton's achievements as an inventor, meteorologist and statistician pale into insignificance when compared to what he is chiefly remembered for.
The Victorian scientist was the founding father of eugenics: the movement that aimed to cut out supposedly undesirable human traits from the population.
Now, a new BBC Radio 4 documentary presented by well-known scientist and author Adam Rutherford is set to tell the dark history of eugenics.
The beliefs became hugely popular across the world in the early 20th Century, with the first international congress on the subject being held in London in 1912.
Eminent figures including future Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell were among the attendees.
But the notion that the genetic quality of the human race could be improved ultimately led to some of the worst horrors of the 20th Century.
The first sterilisation law - which stopped some disabled people from having children - was imposed in the US state of Indiana in 1907. Around 70,000 people were forcibly sterlised in the country until the practice was finally stopped in the 1970s.