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Abel, Sir Frederick Augustus, first baronet (1827–1902), chemist and explosives expert, was born on 17 July 1827 at Woolwich, the eldest son of Johann Leopold Abel (1795–1871), a music master in Kennington, and his wife, Louisa (d. 1864), daughter of Martin Hopkins...

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Aikin, Arthur (1773–1854), natural scientist and author, was born on 19 May 1773 at Warrington, Lancashire, the eldest son of John Aikin (1747–1822) and his wife, Martha (c.1746–1830), daughter of Arthur Jennings of Cheapside, London. His brothers were Charles Rochemont Aikin...

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Archer, Frederick Scott (1813–1857), inventor of the collodion process in photography, was the second son of Thomas Archer, a butcher at Hertford, where he was probably born. Orphaned as a child, he was brought up by distant relatives and friends and while still a young man was apprenticed to a silversmith and bullion dealer named ...

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Armstrong, Henry Edward (1848–1937), chemist and educational reformer, was born on 6 May 1848 at Caroline Place, Avenue Road, Lewisham, Kent, the eldest son of Richard Armstrong (1827–1884), a commission agent and importer, and his wife, Mary Ann Biddle. He was educated at ...

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Atwood [née South], Mary Anne (1817–1910), interpreter of alchemy, was born at Dieppe in 1817, the daughter of Thomas South (c.1785–1855), gentleman, of Bury House, Gosport, Hampshire, and his wife, Elise, née Maurice. She received no formal education but became proficient in Latin and Greek and developed a '...

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Bacon, Francis Thomas [Tom] (1904–1992), engineer and developer of the fuel cell, was born on 21 December 1904 at Ramsden Hall, Ramsden Crays, Billericay, Essex, the second of three sons of Thomas Walter Bacon (1863–1950), electrical engineer, and his wife, Edith Mary, née...

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Bancroft, Edward (1744–1821), chemist and spy, was born at Westfield, Massachusetts, on 9 January 1744. His tutor was Silas Deane, later a member of the American congress. After a brief apprenticeship to a physician in Connecticut, Bancroft went to sea at the age of eighteen. In 1763 he was in ...

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Barton, Sir Derek Harold Richard (1918–1998), organic chemist, was born on 8 September 1918 at Grenfell, Sun Lane, Gravesend, Kent. His father, William Thomas Barton, was a carpenter, his mother was Maud Henrietta, formerly Lukes. He was educated at Tonbridge School, Kent, but he had to leave without any qualifications after his father's sudden death in 1935. For the next two years he worked in the family timber business but, convinced that there must be something more interesting in life, he attended ...

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Beddoes, Thomas (1760–1808), chemist and physician, was born at Shifnal in Shropshire on 13 April 1760, the son of Ann Beddoes (née Whitehall), and her husband, Richard Beddoes (d. 1803), a tanner who was part of a prosperous and politically liberal commercial circle. ...

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Bell, (Ernest) Arthur (1926–2006), plant chemist, was born on 20 June 1926 at 7 Balmoral Terrace, Gosforth, Northumberland, the son of a Northumbrian chartered accountant, Albert Bell, and his Welsh wife, Rachel Enid, née Williams. He liked to be known by his second name, ...

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R. L. Wain

revised by K. D. Watson

Bennett, George Macdonald (1892–1959), chemist, was born in Lincoln on 25 October 1892, the youngest of the three children of the Revd John Ebenezer Bennett (d. 1906), teacher and Baptist minister, and his wife, Hanna Martha (d. 1932), daughter of William Grange...

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Bird, Alfred (bap. 1811, d. 1878), chemist and food manufacturer, the fourth son of John Bird (1780–1846), astronomer and lecturer, and his wife, Mary, née Bland, was baptized at Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, on 25 August 1811. According to family tradition, he was the great-grandson of ...

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Black, Joseph (1728–1799), chemist and physician, was born on 16 April 1728 in Bordeaux, the sixth of twelve children of John Black, an Ulsterman who was a factor in the wine trade, and his wife, Margaret Gordon (d. 1747). Black's brothers all became manufacturers or tradesmen of various kinds and all were unsuccessful in business. ...

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Boot, Jesse, first Baron Trent (1850–1931), retail and manufacturing chemist, was born in Nottingham on 2 June 1850, the only son of John Boot (1815–1860), a medical herbalist newly arrived from the country, and his second wife, Mary, daughter of Benjamin Wills of ...

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Bragg, Sir (William) Lawrence (1890–1971), physicist and crystallographer, was born on 31 March 1890 at 58/60 Lefevre Terrace, Adelaide, Australia, the elder son (the younger, Robert, was killed at Gallipoli in 1915) and eldest of the three children of Sir William Henry Bragg (1862–1942)...

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Brande, William Thomas (1788–1866), chemist, was born on 11 February 1788 at 10 Arlington Street, London, the youngest of the six children of Augustus Everard Brande (1746–1834), apothecary, and his wife, Ann, née Thomas (1753–1837). Brande was a scion of a wealthy family of apothecaries with appointments to the Hanoverian and ...

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Brotherton, Edward Allen, Baron Brotherton (1856–1930), chemical manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 1 April 1856 at 2 Tiverton Place, Ardwick Green, Manchester, the eldest of three children of Theophilus Brotherton, a yarn agent, and his wife, Sarah, née O'Donnell. His relatives included the educational reformer ...

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Colin A. Russell

revised

Brown, Alexander Crum (1838–1922), chemist, was born in Edinburgh on 26 March 1838, the only son of a United Presbyterian minister, John Brown (1784–1858), and his second wife, Margaret Fisher Crum (d. 1841), sister of the chemist Walter Crum FRS (1796–1867) and a descendant of ...

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Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson, first baronet (1842–1919), chemical manufacturer and politician, was born on 8 February 1842 in Everton, Liverpool, the second of the three sons and the fourth of the five children of John Brunner, a Swiss protestant minister, who migrated to ...

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Cahn, Robert Wolfgang (1924–2007), materials scientist, was born on 9 September 1924 in Fürth, Bavaria, the first of two children of Martin Cahn (1896–1963), accountant and merchant, and his wife, Else, née Heinemann (1896–1962). His family was Jewish, assimilated into the business community. His maternal grandfather, ...