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John Ball (1818–1889) by unknown photographer © Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: reproduced by kind permission of the Director and the Board of Trustees

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Ball, John (1818–1889), glaciologist and politician, was born in Dublin on 20 August 1818, the eldest child of Nicholas Ball (1791–1865), judge and politician, and his wife, Jane (née Sherlock) of Butlerstown Castle in co. Waterford. Until the age of eleven he received little formal education, but from his earliest years he displayed a precocious interest in science. In his seventh year he was taken to ...