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  • Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, inventor, and amateur physicist. He is best known for his 1895 work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. His writings incorporate theories of national traits, racial and male superiority, herd behavior and crowd psychology. Le Bon began his writing career working in the new field of anthropology. In the 1870s he invented a pocket cephalometer, or as he called it, a "Compass of Coordinates", which was an instrument that allowed one to quickly measure the head's various angles, diameters, and profiles. In effect, the instrument was able to reproduce the measurements of any 3-D solid figure. Because it was small and portable the device was easily incorporated into the research programs of anthropologists. Le Bon himself, in 1881, used the cephalometer to measure the heads of 50 inhabitants of the remote Tatras Mountains region of southern Poland. His paper, "The Pocket Cephalometer, or Compass of Coordinates" is written in the style of a user's manual, and stands as an important historical document that details how 19th Century anthropologists initially practiced their science.

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