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John Harris (c. 1666–1719) by Bernard (III) Lens, 1707 Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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Harris, John (c. 1666–1719), writer and lecturer on science, was reportedly the son of Edward Harris, or possibly Fitzharris (c.1648–1681), an army lieutenant. He entered Trinity College, Oxford, as a scholar in 1683, and graduated BA in 1686 and MA at ...

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Lardner, Dionysius (1793–1859), writer on science and public lecturer, was born on 3 April 1793 in Dublin, the son of William Lardner (d. 1808), a solicitor.

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Dionysius Lardner (1793–1859) by Alexander Craig, c. 1840 private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Benjamin Martin (bap. 1705, d. 1782) by unknown engraver, pubd 1785 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Martin, Benjamin (bap. 1705, d. 1782), lecturer on science and maker of scientific instruments, was baptized at Worplesdon, Surrey, on 1 March 1705, the third son of John Martin (d. 1731) of Broadstreet, who farmed near Worplesdon, and his wife, Jane. Nothing is known about his childhood; it is presumed that he spent his youth working on the land, during which period he acquired (apparently through extensive reading) knowledge of a wide range of subjects. In his late twenties he established a school at ...

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Richardson, George Fleming (1796–1848), geologist and itinerant lecturer, was born on 8 December 1796 in Lewes, Sussex, son of George Richardson (1763–1843), Brighton linen draper and lodging-house keeper and his wife, Martha, née Fleming. Probably educated at local schools, Richardson entered his father's businesses, but being an avid reader with a most retentive memory, he found time to master several European languages while so employed. His first publication was a volume of poems in 1825, the same year that he was involved in the founding of the ...

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William Sturgeon (1783–1850) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Gee

revised by Frank A. J. L. James

Sturgeon, William (1783–1850), electrician and scientific lecturer, was born on 22 May 1783 at Whittington, Lancashire, near Kirkby Lonsdale, the only son of John Sturgeon, shoemaker, and his wife, Betsy Adcock (d. 1793), the daughter of a small shopkeeper. All accounts of his father, who had migrated from ...