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Adams, William Grylls (1836–1915), scientist and university teacher, was born on 10 February 1836 at Lidcot, Laneast, Cornwall, the youngest son of the four sons and three daughters of Thomas Adams (1788–1859), small estate owner and farmer, and his wife, Tabitha Knill Grylls (1796–1866)...

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Alfonsi, Petrus (fl. 1106–1126), scholar and translator of scientific works, was born in northern Spain, to Jewish parents. He was baptized a Christian on 29 June 1106 in Huesca, Aragon, with the names of the apostle on whose feast day the baptism took place and of his godfather, ...

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Allen, Thomas (1540?–1632), mathematician and antiquary, was probably born on 21 December 1540 (though some sources suggest 1542) at Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, the son of William Allen. His family were local gentry who are known to have had Roman Catholic connections. Two of his four uncles also lived at ...

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Mary Anning (1799–1847) by unknown artist, before 1842 © The Natural History Museum, London

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Anning, Mary (1799–1847), fossil collector and dealer, was born on 21 May 1799 in a seaside house in Lyme Regis, Dorset. She and her brother Joseph (1796–1849) were the only surviving children of Richard Anning (c.1766–1810), cabinet-maker and carpenter, and his wife, ...

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Henry Edward Armstrong (1848–1937) by Thomas Cantrell Dugdale, 1927 © reserved; photograph Royal Institution, London / Bridgeman Art Library

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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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Aylesbury, Sir Thomas, baronet (1579/80–1658), patron of mathematics, was born probably in early 1580, possibly in London, where some of his siblings were later baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn. He was the second son among at least eight children of William Aylesbury (...

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Babington, (Charles) Cardale (1808–1895), botanist and archaeologist, was born on 23 November 1808, at Ludlow, Shropshire, the son of Joseph Babington (1768–1826), at that time a physician, and Catherine, daughter of John Whitter of Bradninch, Devon. The historian Lord Macaulay was his first cousin. His father having taken holy orders, ...

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Backhouse, William (1593–1662), alchemist and antiquary, was born on 17 January 1593, probably at Swallowfield, Berkshire, the youngest of the four sons of Samuel Backhouse (d. 1626), landowner, and his wife, Elisabeth (d. 1630), daughter of John Borlase of Little Marlow...

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Balfour, Sir Andrew, first baronet (1630–1694), botanist and antiquary, was born at Balfour Castle, Denmiln, Fife, on 18 January 1630, the fifth and youngest son in the large family of Sir Michael Balfour and his wife, Jane or Joanna (d. 1640), daughter of ...

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Gordon Goodwin

revised by Simon Harrison

Barlow, Thomas Worthington (1824–1856), antiquary and naturalist, was born in Cheshire on 9 February 1824, the only son of William Worthington Barlow (1782–1846), a surgeon of Cranage, Cheshire, and his wife, Lucy, daughter of the Revd Thomas Hodges, vicar of Bromfield, Shropshire. Educated for the legal profession, he became a member of ...

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Daines Barrington (1727/88–1800) by Charles Knight, 1795 (after Joseph Slater, 1770) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barrington, Daines (1727/8–1800), judge, antiquary, and naturalist, was born at Becket in the parish of Shrivenham in Berkshire, the fourth son and fourth of nine children of John Shute Barrington, first Viscount Barrington (1678–1734), barrister and politician, and his wife, Anne (d...

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Bath, Adelard of (b. in or before 1080?, d. in or after 1150), scientist and translator, was a pioneer in introducing Arabic mathematics into England.

Although absolute confidence cannot be placed in the autobiographical details included within the fictitious context of his literary works, ...

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Baxter, Andrew (1686/7–1750), natural philosopher and metaphysician, was born at Old Aberdeen, the son of a merchant and his wife, Elizabeth Frazer. Baxter studied at King's College, Aberdeen, from 1699 to 1703, and in 1719 was employed by the Hays of Drumelzier, whom he subsequently served in various capacities. While residing with the ...

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William Beard (1772–1868) by Samuel Griffiths Tovey, c. 1828–9 © Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

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Beard, William (1772–1868), tourist guide and collector of bones, was born on 24 April 1772 at Woolvershill, Banwell, Somerset, the eldest of the eight children of John Beard (1738–1801), a farmer, and his second wife, Ann Poole (1760–1833). He was educated by John Tuckey...

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Beaumont, John (c. 1640–1731), natural philosopher and collector of geological specimens, spent most of his life at Ston Easton, Somerset, where he practised medicine. He befriended the miners working in the nearby Mendip hills, with whom he explored newly discovered caverns and rock formations. Stimulated by ...

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Bedwell, William (bap. 1563, d. 1632), Arabist and mathematician, was born in Great Hallingbury in Essex, where he was baptized on 2 October 1563, one of at least four children of John Bedwell, a small landowner, and his wife, Anne. After an early interest in mathematics had been encouraged by his father's youngest brother, ...