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Frederick Soddy (1877–1956) by Walter Stoneman, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Soddy, Frederick (1877–1956), chemist and social commentator, was born on 2 September 1877 at Bolton Road, Eastbourne, the fourth son of Benjamin Soddy (d. 1911), a semi-retired London corn buyer, and his second wife, Hannah Green (d. 1879), who died when ...

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Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) by Reginald Haines, c. 1909 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wallace, Alfred Russel (1823–1913), naturalist, evolutionary theorist, and social critic, was born on 8 January 1823, at Kensington Cottage, Usk, Monmouthshire, the third of four sons and eighth of the nine children of Thomas Vere Wallace and Mary Anne Greenell. Early biographical treatments give the year of his birth as 1822 through an oversight on ...

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Wright, Thomas (1839–1909), engineer and social commentator, was born on 12 April 1839 in Burlington Street, Liverpool, the eldest of at least three sons of Charles Wright, a blacksmith, and his wife, Catherine, née McArla. He attended local schools until the age of fourteen when he began a seven-year apprenticeship as an engineer. Once this was completed he set out on a particularly extensive version of the traditional '...