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Arber [née Robertson], Agnes (1879–1960), botanist, was born at 26 Regent's Park Road, London, on 23 February 1879, the eldest child of Henry Robert Robertson (1839–1921), an artist, and Agnes Lucy Turner, a descendant of Robert Chamberlain (d. 1798), ceramicist, of ...

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Ayrton [née Marks], (Phoebe) Sarah [Hertha] (1854–1923), electrical engineer and suffragist, was born Phoebe Sarah Marks on 28 April 1854 at 6 Queen Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, third child of Alice Theresa (d. 1898), seamstress, daughter of Joseph Moss, glass merchant of ...

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William Edward Ayrton (1847–1908) by W. & D. Downey, pubd 1893 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ayrton, William Edward (1847–1908), electrical engineer and physicist, was born in London on 14 September 1847 to the accomplished barrister and linguist Edward Nugent Ayrton (1815–1873), and his wife, thereby joining a family long connected with law and music, and traditionally supportive of women's rights. ...

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Francis Thomas Bacon (1904–1992) by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies, 1987 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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William Bateson (1861–1926) by Vernon Henry Mottram, 1909 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bateson, William (1861–1926), biologist, was born on 8 August 1861 in St Hilda's Terrace, Ruswarp, near Whitby, Yorkshire, the second of six children of William Henry Bateson (1812–1881), master of St John's College, Cambridge, and his wife, Anna Aikin (1829–1918), daughter of James Aikin (1792–1878)...

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Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) by John Wycliffe Lowes Forster, 1919 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Bell, Alexander Graham (1847–1922), teacher of deaf people and inventor of the telephone, was born on 3 March 1847 at 16 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, the second of three sons of Alexander Melville Bell (1819–1905), speech therapist and elocutionist, and his first wife, ...

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Bell, Ronald Percy (1907–1996), physical chemist, was born on 24 November 1907 at Willowfield, Court House Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, the eldest child of Edwin Alfred Bell (d. 1954) and his wife, Beatrice Annie, née Ash (d. 1929), elementary school teachers. He had a younger brother and an adopted younger sister. He was educated at ...

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(John) Desmond Bernal (1901–1971) by Wolfgang Suschitzky, 1949 © Wolfgang Suschitzky / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bernal, (John) Desmond (1901–1971), physicist, was born on 10 May 1901 at Brookswatson, Nenagh, co. Tipperary, eldest of the three sons and two daughters of Samuel George Bernal, a farmer of Limerick, and his wife, Elizabeth Miller, elder daughter of the Presbyterian minister in ...

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Bhabha, Homi Jehangir (1909–1966), theoretical physicist, was born on 30 October 1909 at Bombay in an established Parsi family, the eldest son of Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha (1876–1942) and his wife, Meheran Pandey (d. 1973). Bhabha's father was educated at Oxford and had studied law at ...

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Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Baron Blackett (1897–1974) by Lucia Moholy, 1936 © Lucia Moholy

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Blackett, Patrick Maynard Stuart, Baron Blackett (1897–1974), physicist and government and military adviser, was born on 18 November 1897 at Kensington, London, the only son and the second of three children of Arthur Stuart Blackett (1865–1922), stockbroker, and his wife, Caroline Frances (1868–1954)...

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Bondi, Sir Hermann (1919–2005), applied mathematician and scientific administrator, was born on 1 November 1919 in Vienna, Austria, the son of Samuel Bondi (d. 1959), a doctor and heart specialist with a deep interest in science, and his wife, Helene, née Hirsch (...

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Brearley, Harry (1871–1948), metallurgist, was born on 18 February 1871 at 23 Spital Street, Sheffield, the youngest of five sons and the eighth of nine children of John Brearley, steelworker, and his wife, Jane Senior. Brearley's father was 'an expert steel melter and also an expert ale-supper...

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Bretherton, Russell Frederick (1906–1991), civil servant and entomologist, was born on 3 February 1906 at Belgrave House, Belgrave Road, Gloucester, the only son of the marriage of Frederick Hawkins Bretherton (1852–1945), solicitor, and Gertrude, née Wing (1864–1952). He had three half-sisters and four half-brothers from his father's earlier marriage. He was a history scholar at ...

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Brodie, Sir Benjamin Collins, second baronet (1817–1880), chemist, was born in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London, on 5 February 1817, the eldest son of Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie (1783–1862), surgeon, and his wife, Anne Sellon (1797–1861). At the age of eleven he went to ...