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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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(Charles) Grant Blairfindie Allen (1848–1899) by Sir William Rothenstein, 1897 © Estate of Sir William Rothenstein / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allen, (Charles) Grant Blairfindie (1848–1899), writer on science and novelist, was born at Alwington, near Kingston, Ontario, Canada, on 24 February 1848, the second but only surviving son of Joseph Antisell Allen (1814–1900), a clergyman of the Church of Ireland who had emigrated to ...

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Askham [Ascham], Anthony (c. 1517–1559), writer on astronomy and almanac maker, was born at Kirby Wiske, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, the third son of John Ascham (d. 1544) of Kirby Wiske, who was a yeoman farmer and steward to Lord Scrope of Bolton...

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Bagwell, William (b. c. 1593, d. in or after 1664), merchant and writer on astronomy, was, according to his own account, 'bred a merchant in good quality, skilfully furnished with knowledge in all things necessary, and having seen the world abroad' (Bagwell...

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Baker, Humphrey (fl. 1557–1574), writer on astrology and arithmetic, whose origins are unknown, was living in London when his almanac was published in 1557. A small volume, printed in black letter, it was entitled The rules and right ample documentes, touchinge the use and practise of the common almanackes, which are named ephemerides: a briefe … introduction upon the iudicall astrologie … with a treatise … touching the coniunction of the planets … the hole faithfully and clerely translated into Englysche by Humprey Baker BL...

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Baskerville, Thomas (1812–1840), surgeon and writer on botany, was born on 26 April 1812, and served a four-year medical apprenticeship to Mr Soulby, of Ash near Sandwich in Kent. From 1 December 1829 to 9 April 1834 he seems to have attended University College, London...

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Bate, John (fl. 1626–1635), writer on mechanics, is an obscure figure; his birth and death dates, parentage, and virtually all personal details remain unknown. Bate's The Mysteries of Nature and Art (1634) is the first comprehensive illustrated English book on waterworks and hydraulic machinery. It also includes sections on drawing, painting, recipes, and folk remedies, as well as one on fireworks and incendiary devices largely derivative of earlier English and continental works on the subject. A second, greatly expanded edition in 1635 was followed by a third edition, printed in 1654, which has few changes from the second edition....

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Biggs, Charles Henry Walker (1845–1923), technical journalist and journal editor, was born Charles Henry Biggs on 23 May 1845 in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, the son of Elizabeth Walker Biggs and an unknown father. He was probably educated in Reading. According to one obituary he soon showed a technical bent for 'in the school laboratory he made the first self-contained matches, but he did not develop them commercially' (...

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Boate, Arnold (1606–1653), biblical scholar and writer on natural history, was born in Gorinchem in the Netherlands, a younger son of Godefroy de Boot (c.1570–1625), knight, and Christina van Loon (fl. 1600–1630). With his elder brother Gerard Boate he studied arts and medicine at the ...

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Bollard, Nicholas (fl. 1427), Dominican friar and writer on botany, was assigned by a provincial chapter after 1427 to Oxford convent as a friar ministerialis. He was the author of a work on arboriculture headed 'A tretee of Nicholas Bollard departid in 3 parties: of gendrying of trees; 2 of graffynge; the third forsooth of altracions'...

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Bourne, William (c. 1535–1582), writer on mathematics, was born at Gravesend, the son of John Bourne (d. 1560), who owned property in the town. His exact date of birth is not known. He was appointed a jurat, or town councillor, of Gravesend...

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Brayley, Edward William (1801/2–1870), writer and lecturer on science, the eldest son of Edward Wedlake Brayley (1773–1854), topographer, and his wife, Ann (c.1771–1850), was born in London. He was educated, together with his brothers Henry and Horatio, under an austere system. Secluded from all society except that of their tutors, the boys led a cheerless and monotonous life: denied pocket-money, they were not even allowed to take a walk without a tutor. ...

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Brough, John Cargill (1834–1872), science journalist, was born at Pontypool on 11 February 1834, the youngest son of Barnabas Brough (d. 1854), a brewer and wine merchant, and his wife, Frances, née Whiteside. His brothers, William Brough [see under Brough, Robert Barnabas...

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Margaret Bryan (fl. 1795–1816) by William Nutter, pubd 1797 (after Samuel Shelley, 1797) [with her daughters] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bryan, Margaret (fl. 1795–1816), educator and writer on natural philosophy, was a noted early example of a woman teaching natural science to other women. Little is known about her life; such information as is available comes from her own writings. She was married to a ...

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Buckley [married name Fisher], Arabella Burton (1840–1929), popularizer of science and writer, was born on 24 October 1840 in Brighton, the daughter of John Wall Buckley, vicar of St Mary's, Paddington Green, and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1889), daughter of Thomas Burton...

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Buckminster [Buckmaster], Thomas (1531/2–1599), Church of England clergyman and almanac writer, was vicar of Twickenham from 1562 to 1563, then rector at All Hallows-the-Great, London, 1564–72, and rector at St Mary Woolnoth from 1572 until his death. He is sometimes supposed to have been a relative of ...

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Calder, Nigel David McKail Ritchie (1931–2014), journalist, author, and broadcaster, was born at 71 South Croxted Road, Norwood, London, on 2 December 1931, the eldest of three sons of the journalist and author Peter Ritchie Calder, later Baron Ritchie-Calder (1906–1982), and his wife ...

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See Ketton, Robert of