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Abbot, Charles (1761–1817), botanist and entomologist, was born on 24 March 1761. He was educated at Winchester College and matriculated at New College, Oxford, in 1779, gaining his BA in 1783. He was a fellow of the college between 1781 and 1788, was awarded his MA in 1787, and his DD in 1802. He held the life-appointment of usher at ...

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Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, first baronet (1827–1902) by Frank Bramley, 1900 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Adams family (per. 1734–1817), makers of scientific instruments and globes, came to prominence through George Adams senior (bap. 1709, d. 1772), who was baptized on 17 April 1709 in the parish of St Bride's, Fleet Street, London, the eldest surviving son of ...

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Adams, Sir John Bertram (1920–1984), physicist and scientific administrator, was born on 24 May 1920 at 105 Canbury Park Road, Kingston, Surrey, the only son and younger child of John Albert Adams (c.1890–c.1964) and his wife, Sarah Ethel Emily Searles (1890–...

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John Couch Adams (1819–1892) by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, 1888 Pembroke College, Cambridge

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Adams, John Couch (1819–1892), astronomer, was born on 5 June 1819 at Lidcot, a farm near Launceston, Cornwall, the eldest of the seven children of Thomas Adams (1788–1859), a poor tenant farmer, and his wife, Tabitha Knill Grylls (1796–1866), a farmer's daughter who had received some education from her uncle ...

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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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Adamson, Daniel (1820–1890), engineer and entrepreneur, was born on 30 April 1820 at Shildon, co. Durham. He was the thirteenth of fifteen children, seven sons and eight daughters, born to Daniel Adamson, landlord of the Grey Horse at Shildon, and his wife, Ann...

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Sir John Aird, first baronet (1833–1911) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aird, Sir John, first baronet (1833–1911), civil engineering contractor, was born on 3 December 1833 in Greenwich, the second son of eight children of John Aird (1800–1876), contractor, and Agnes (d. 1869), daughter of Charles Bennett of Lambeth. His grandfather Robert Aird...

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Sir George Biddell Airy (1801–1892) by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1864 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Airy, Sir George Biddell (1801–1892), astronomer, was born at Alnwick, Northumberland, on 27 July 1801, the eldest of the four children of William Airy (1749–1827), of Luddington in Lincolnshire. His mother, Ann Biddell (d. 1841), a woman of strong character and natural abilities, was the daughter of a well-to-do farmer from near ...

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Albin, Eleazar (d. 1742?), naturalist and watercolour painter, may have been born somewhere in the German states to a family named Weiss. Nothing is known of his early life, although he later claimed, in his Natural History of Birds (1731–8), to have been '...

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Allen, Elias (c. 1588–1653), maker of mathematical instruments, was born near Tonbridge, Kent, probably in Ashurst, of unknown parentage. Apprenticed in 1602 to London instrument maker Charles Whitwell in the Grocers' Company, he served his master for nine years. Following Whitwell's death in 1611, ...

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Allen, Ralph (bap. 1693, d. 1764), postal entrepreneur and philanthropist, was baptized on 24 July 1693 in the parish church of St Columb Major in Cornwall, one of four children of Philip Allen (d. 1728). Much remains obscure about his early life, but his father is reputed to have kept an inn in nearby ...

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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 ...