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Quantitative Geographers

William L Garrison (b. 1924)

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an outstanding researcher and educationist who, following his service in World War II, received his PhD in geography from Northwestern University in 1950. While a young faculty member at the University of Washington, Garrison became one of the leaders of the resurgence of geographic science and many of his doctoral students (Duane Marble, Brian J L Berry, John Nystuen, Arthur Getis, Richard Morrill, and William Bunge) were subsequently instrumental in the evolution of geographic science and geographic information systems. Bill Garrison led the quantitative revolution and was also one of the first geographers to make use of computational approaches to the solution of geographic problems. The early work at the University of Washington of Garrison and his students involved such historic computing systems as the IBM 604 and IBM 650. His works include Studies of highway development and geographic change (1959), Tomorrow’s transportation: changing cities, economies, and lives (2000) and The transportation experience: policy, planning, and deployment (2005). Garrison is currently Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley.

Peter Haggett (b. 1933)

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has held geographical research and teaching posts at universities around the world for fifty years. He has written on three scientific areas. First, on the nature of geography as a discipline and its contribution to human understanding of the earth. The works include Models in geography (1967), Geography: a modern synthesis (1972), The geographer’s art (1990), and Geography: a global synthesis (2001). He also established two journals reviewing developments in the field: Progress in physical geography, and Progress in human geography. A second area is on quantitative methods in human geography—Locational analysis in human geography (1965) was followed by five books: Network analysis in geography (1969), Regional forecasting (ed.) (1971), Elements of spatial structure (1975), Locational models (1977) and Locational methods (1977). The third area has been on applying geographical ideas to understanding the changing geography of infectious diseases. His monographs on the geography of disease include Spatial diffusion (1979), Spatial aspects of influenza epidemics (1986), Atlas of disease distributions (1988), Atlas of AIDS (1992), Measles: an historical geography (1993), Deciphering global epidemics (1998), Island epidemics (2000), and World atlas of epidemic diseases (2004). He currently lives a retired life.

Richard John Chorley (b. 1927; d. 2002)

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was a exemplary scholar and a great advocate of application of quantitative techniques in geographical research. His seminal insights placed British geomorphology for several decades at the very centre of the world stage. Appointed a Demonstrator at Cambridge in 1957, he proceeded to move rapidly up the university hierarchy with a Readership in 1970 and ‘ad hominem’ Chair in 1974. Cambridge provided the launching pad for Chorley’s revolutionary ideas. Rejecting the prevailing paradigm of the Davisian cycles of erosion, he sought to replace these with a quantitative model-based paradigm with an emphasis on general systems theory and numerical modelling. Cambridge already had a strong group in physical geography and colleagues—W V Lewis and D R Stoddart, who encouraged Chorley’s ideas. To a prodigious output of scientific papers, Chorley was soon to add six volumes in physical geography that were to codify his approach and ask new questions about earth surface processes and the ways they can be studied. Central to these was the concept of system dynamics, and Physical Geography: a systems approach (1971) and Environmental systems (1978) were to influence a generation of young scholars. Chorley’s studies ranged into climatology and hydrology. He cooperated with the Colorado meteorologist, Roger Barry, on Atmosphere, Weather and Climate (1968), now in its eighth edition. He was generous in sharing his ideas, and most of the volumes were jointly authored or edited, including Water, earth and man(1969). In addition to his contemporary scientific work, Chorley launched in 1964 the first of a series of magisterial volumes on The history of the study of landforms. Two further volumes were published in 1973 and 1991 and at the time of Chorley’s death, Volume 4 was nearing completion.

William Bunge  (b. 1928)

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is an American geographer, self-described as a quantitative analyst, spatial theorist, radical humanist, and Marxist geographer. Bunge did not operate well within the constrained modes of conventional academia, but his stellar significance in world of geography is firmly based on a number of extraordinary theoretical and empirical contributions and on a fierce determination to participate in efforts to fight injustice and change the society. Bunge made major contributions to theoretical, quantitative spatial analysis earlier in his career (1962). Almost at the same time, he became an urban radical, supporting applied geography of social change and justice in inner city of America and Canada. He formed the Detroit Geographical Expedition in partnership with Gwendolyn Warren in 1968 and the Society for Human Exploration in 1971. His cartographic representations of spatial patterns, particularly in Theoretical geography, were also understood to be innovative.

Torsten Hägerstrand (b. 1916 ; d. 2004)

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received his doctorate in Geography at Lund University in 1953, apart from honorary doctorates from the universities of Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh. He was a professor of geography at the University of Lund and was applauded for his iconic influence on population geography with introduction of the diffusion models. His research pertained to the field of human living conditions in regard to space and time usually cited as time-geography. His key works were Innovation diffusion as a spatial process (1967); Definition of migration (1973); Impact of transport on the quality of life (1974); The domain of human geography (1973) and Space, time and human conditions (1975).

Compiled from various university websites from India and abroad.

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