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Boyle, Robert (1627–1691), natural philosopher, was born on 25 January 1627 at Lismore Castle in the province of Munster, Ireland, the fourteenth child and seventh and youngest son of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork (1566–1643), lord high treasurer of Ireland, and his second wife, ...

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Burnet, Thomas (c. 1635–1715), natural philosopher and headmaster, was born at Croft in Yorkshire, the son of John Burnet, and educated at the free school of Northallerton under Thomas Smelt, who held him up as an example to his later pupils. He was admitted as a pensioner at ...

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Cavendish, Henry (1731–1810), natural philosopher, was the eldest child of Lord Charles Cavendish (1704–1783), third son of William, second duke of Devonshire, an eminent whig politician and natural philosopher, and Anne De Grey (1706–1733), fourth daughter of Henry, duke of Kent. He was born on 10 October 1731 in ...

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Charleton, Walter (1620–1707), physician and natural philosopher, was born on 2 February 1620, at Parsonage House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the son of the Revd Walter Charleton (1574/5–1620?) and his wife, Susannah Jeay. Charleton's father evidently originated from Shropshire, being the son of Andrew Charlton...

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Darwin, Erasmus (1731–1802), physician and natural philosopher, was born on 12 December 1731 at Elston Hall, near Nottingham, the seventh child of Robert Darwin (1682–1754), a lawyer of independent means who had retired early, and his wife, Elizabeth (formerly Hill; 1702–1797). Darwin had three brothers and three sisters. He was sent to the ...

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Desaguliers, John Theophilus (1683–1744), natural philosopher and engineer, was born on 12 March 1683 at La Rochelle, France, the only surviving child of Jean Desaguliers (1644–1699), minister and schoolmaster, and Marguerite Thomas la Chapelle (c.1640–1722). His parents were French Huguenots who emigrated separately; ...

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Digby, Sir Kenelm (1603–1665), natural philosopher and courtier, was born on 11 July 1603 at Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire, the elder son of Sir Everard Digby (c. 1578–1606), later executed for involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, and his wife, Mary (c.1581–1653), only daughter and heir of ...

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Douglas, James, fourteenth earl of Morton (1702–1768), natural philosopher, was born in Edinburgh, the eldest of three sons of George Douglas, thirteenth earl of Morton (1662–1738), politician, and his second wife, Frances, daughter of William Adderley of Halstow, Kent. He graduated MA from ...

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Gilbert, William (1544?–1603), natural philosopher, was almost certainly born in Colchester, Essex, the first of four children of Jerome Gilbert (d. 1583), lawyer and recorder of Colchester, and his first wife, Elizabeth Coggeshall. Jerome's father William was a weaver, appointed sewer (server) to the chamber to ...

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Grove, Sir William Robert (1811–1896), natural philosopher and judge, was born in Swansea on 11 July 1811, the only son of John Grove, a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Glamorgan and his wife, Anne Bevan. Educated by a succession of private tutors, he entered ...

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Hales, Stephen (1677–1761), natural philosopher, was born on 17 September 1677 at Beakesbourne in Kent, the tenth child and sixth son of Thomas Hales (1641–1692) and grandson of Sir Robert Hales, first baronet, a descendant of Sir John Hales, baron of the exchequer...

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Jurin, James (bap. 1684, d. 1750), physician and natural philosopher, son of John Jurin, citizen and dyer of London, and his wife, Dorcas Cotesworth, was baptized on 15 December 1684. In April 1692 he was admitted from St Leonard, Shoreditch, to the Royal Mathematical School...

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Merret [Merrett], Christopher (1614–1695), physician and writer on natural philosophy, was born at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, on 16 February 1614, the son of a non-gentry father of the same name, who was at some time involved in a tobacco growing project in the west midlands. On entering ...

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Morland, Sir Samuel, first baronet (1625–1695), natural philosopher and diplomat, was born in Sulhampstead-Banister, Berkshire, the son of the Revd Thomas Morland (b. 1574/5), the rector, who came from Westmorland; he had two brothers, Thomas and Martin. From 1638 he was educated at ...

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Newton, Sir Isaac (1642–1727), natural philosopher and mathematician, was born on 25 December 1642 in the manor house of Woolsthorpe, near Colsterworth, about 7 miles south of Grantham, Lincolnshire, the only and posthumous son of Isaac Newton (1606–1642), yeoman farmer, and his wife, ...

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Petty, Sir William (1623–1687), natural philosopher and administrator in Ireland, was born at Romsey, Hampshire, on 26 May 1623, the third child of Anthony Petty (1587–1654), clothier, and his wife, Francesca (d. 1663). In later life Petty was keen to stress the obscurity of his origins in order to exaggerate his spectacular success....

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Ridley, Mark (b. 1560, d. in or before 1624), physician and writer on magnetism, was born on 2 August 1560, and baptized on 18 August, at Stretham, Cambridgeshire, the second son of the six children of Lancelot Ridley (d. 1576), rector of Stretham...

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Scarburgh, Sir Charles (1615–1694), physician and natural philosopher, son of Edmund Scarburgh, gentleman, of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and Hannah Butler, was born in London on 29 December 1615 and was sent to St Paul's School. He entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge...

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Stukeley, William (1687–1765), antiquary and natural philosopher, was born on 7 November 1687 in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, the eldest son in the family of four boys and one girl of John Stukeley (d. 1705), attorney, and his wife, Frances Bullen (d. 1707)...

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Whiston, William (1667–1752), natural philosopher and theologian, was born on 9 December 1667 at the rectory, Norton-juxta-Twycross, Leicestershire, the fourth of the nine children of Josiah Whiston (1622–1685), rector at Norton, and his wife, Katherine (1639–1701), daughter of Gabriel Rosse, the previous incumbent at ...