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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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Andrews, William (1634/5–1712/13), astrologer and teacher of mathematics, was a well-known compiler of almanacs. He spent his adult life in Essex, at Ashdown (1656), Saffron Walden (by 1660), and nearby Radwinter (from 1668), but it is not known whether he married. He studied astrology from about 1652 and composed his first almanac, for 1655, at the age of nineteen; a new edition followed every year until his death. Though he included political prophecies, he avoided controversy by taking a firmly patriotic line, predicting disasters for ...

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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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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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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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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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William Kingdon Clifford (1845–1879) by John Collier, 1878 Estate of the Artist / © Royal Society

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Clifford, William Kingdon (1845–1879), mathematician and philosopher of science, was born on 4 May 1845 at Exeter, the eldest son of William Clifford, a justice of the peace who died in 1878. His mother, whose maiden name was Kingdon, died not long after he was born. ...

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Clift, William (1775–1849), museum curator and scientific illustrator, was born at Burcombe, near Bodmin, Cornwall, on 14 February 1775, and was baptized (as William Cleft) in the Bodmin parish church on 12 April that year. He was the youngest of the seven children (...

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Costard, George (bap. 1710, d. 1782), writer on ancient astronomy, was baptized on 20 January 1710 at St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, the son of the Revd Edward Coster, vicar of St Mary's, and his wife, Anne. Educated at Shrewsbury grammar school, in 1726 he matriculated at ...

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Crombie, Alistair Cameron (1915–1996), historian of science, the second son of William David Crombie (d. 1949) and Janet Wilmina, née Macdonald (d. 1975), was born on 4 November 1915 in Brisbane, Australia. His parents, who were of Scottish extraction, had established a farmstead at the remote ...

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Sir William Crookes (1832–1919) by Albert Ludovici, c. 1884–5 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Crookes, Sir William (1832–1919), chemist and science journalist, was born on 17 June 1832 at 143 Regent Street, London, the eldest son of the sixteen children of Joseph Crookes (1792–1884), a tailor from Yorkshire, and his second wife, Mary Scott of Aynhoe, Northamptonshire...

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Culpeper, Sir Cheney (bap. 1601, d. 1663), advocate of political reform and technological innovation, was born into a respectable family whose seat was at Greenway Court, Hollingbourne, Kent, and baptized at All Saints, Hollingbourne, on 15 April 1601. He was the elder son of ...

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Davison, Charles (1858–1940), mathematician and writer on seismology, was born on 1 May 1858 in Bishopwearmouth, co. Durham, the second son of Edwin Charles Davison (1818–1902), fleet paymaster, Royal Navy, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph L. Spence of Swayfield, Lincolnshire. He went to the ...

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Dee, Arthur (1579–1651), physician and writer on alchemy, was born on 13 July 1579 at Mortlake, Surrey, the eldest son of the mathematician and astrologer John Dee (1527–1609) and his second wife, Jane (1555–1605), daughter of Bartholomew Fromonds or Fromond. From 1583 until 1589 he accompanied his father on his travels to ...

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Donnelly, Sir John Fretcheville Dykes (1834–1902), army officer and promoter of scientific education, born in the Bay of Bombay on 2 July 1834, was the only child of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Donnelly (1802–1881), deputy adjutant-general of the Bombay army, and from 1851 staff captain and afterwards staff officer at the ...

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Dunn, Samuel (bap. 1723, d. 1794), teacher of mathematics and navigation, was born in Crediton, Devon, and baptized there on 7 February 1723, the son of John (d. 1744) and Alice Dunn. Nothing is known of his own education, which gave him a competence in mathematics, but by the age of nineteen he was keeping his own school and teaching writing, accounts, navigation, and other mathematical sciences. This building was destroyed in the fire which swept through ...

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Durell, Clement Vavasor (1882–1968), mathematics teacher and textbook writer, was born on 6 June 1882 at the rectory, Fulbourn, near Cambridge, the son of John Vavasor Durell (1837–1923), rector of Fulbourn, and his wife, Ellen Annie Carlyon. Educated at Felsted School, he entered ...

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George Edwards (1694–1773) by Johann Sebastian Müller, 1754 (after Bartholomew Dandridge) © National Portrait Gallery, London