Famous 19th Century Biologists

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Biologists, including Alexander Fleming, Alfred Russel Wallace, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Ernst Haeckel and Alfred Kinsey.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 2 Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming
Famous As: Biologist, Pharmacologist, Discovered Penicillin
Birthdate: August 6, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lochfield, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: March 11, 1955

Alexander Fleming was a Scottish microbiologist and physician. He is credited with discovering penicillin, the world's first effective antibiotic substance; a discovery that changed the course of history. He also discovered lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme which forms part of the innate immune system. In 1999, Fleming was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century list.

 3 Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is largely remembered for his theory of evolution through natural selection, which inspired Charles Darwin’s studies. He began his career as a surveyor’s apprentice and later introduced concepts such as reinforcement in animals, also known as the Wallace effect. He was awarded the Order of Merit.

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 4 Karl Landsteiner

Karl Landsteiner
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 14, 1868
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: June 26, 1943

Karl Landsteiner was a physician, biologist, and immunologist. He is credited with distinguishing the main blood groups as well as identifying the Rhesus factor. He is also credited with discovering the polio virus along with Erwin Popper and Constantin Levaditi. He won the Aronson Prize in 1926. In 1930, Landsteiner was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

 5 Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur
Famous As: Chemist and Microbiologist
Birthdate: December 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dole, Jura, Franche-Comté, France
Died: September 28, 1895
Considered one of the founders of bacteriology, Louis Pasteur created vaccines for anthrax and rabies, and invented the process of heating food and wine to kill microbes that cause contamination, which was named pasteurization after him. Known as the “father of microbiology,” he also founded the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  

 6 Theodor Schwann

Theodor Schwann
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: December 7, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuss, Germany
Died: January 11, 1882

Theodor Schwann was a German physiologist and physician best remembered for his important contributions to biology. He is credited with discovering the Schwann cells, which is named after him. He is also credited with discovering pepsin and the organic nature of yeast. Theodor Schwann also invented the term metabolism.

 7 Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel
Famous As: Meteorologist, Mathematician, Biologist
Birthdate: July 20, 1822
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hynčice, Vražné, Czechia
Died: January 6, 1884

A scientist, meteorologist, mathematician, and biologist, Gregor Mendel is considered the founder of the modern science of genetics. He conducted a series of experiments on pea plants between 1856 and 1863, establishing many rules of heredity. Besides his work on pea plants, he also described novel plant species and conducted experiments with hawkweed and honeybees.

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 8 Jagadish Chandra Bose

Jagadish Chandra Bose
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 30, 1858
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bikrampur, Bengal Presidency, British India (Now Munshiganj District of Bangladesh)
Died: November 23, 1937

Indian physicist, biologist, and plant physiologist Jagadish Chandra Bose revolutionized science with his research on how plants and animals react to external stimuli. He founded the Bose Institute, made pioneering contribution to the field of radio and microwave optics, and also penned one of the first works of Bengali science fiction.

 9 J.B.S. Haldane

J.B.S. Haldane
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: November 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford, United Kingdom
Died: December 1, 1964

British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane is remembered for his pioneering use of statistics in biology. A proponent of neo-Darwinism, he was the son of physiologist John Scott Haldane and had begun assisting his father at age 8. He later joined the British Communist Party and also moved to India.

 10 Thomas Hunt Morgan

Thomas Hunt Morgan
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: September 25, 1866
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lexington
Died: December 4, 1945

Thomas Hunt Morgan was an evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and embryologist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933. He worked extensively on the role that the chromosome plays in heredity and demonstrated that genes are carried on chromosomes. In his later career, he established the division of biology at the California Institute of Technology. 

 11 John Muir

John Muir
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 21, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunbar
Died: December 24, 1914

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, botanist, zoologist, and author. Nicknamed Father of the National Parks and John of the Mountains, Muir was an influential proponent of the preservation of wilderness in the US. He is credited with co-founding the American conservation organization, The Sierra Club. Muir is considered a hero by many environmentalists around the world.

 12 Louis Agassiz

Louis Agassiz
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: May 28, 1807
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montier
Died: December 14, 1873

Louis Agassiz was a biologist and geologist. He was famous as a scholar of Earth's natural history. Born in Switzerland, he completed his education in Europe and emigrated to USA. He was appointed a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University. He later founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology at the Lawrence Scientific School.  

 13 Robert Koch

Robert Koch
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 11, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
Died: May 27, 1910

Robert Koch was a German microbiologist and physician. One of the prominent co-founders of modern bacteriology, Koch is credited with creating and improving laboratory techniques and technologies in the field of microbiology. He is also credited with making important discoveries in public health. In 1905, Robert Koch won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on tuberculosis.

 14 Alfred Kinsey

Alfred Kinsey
Famous As: Sexologist
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hoboken
Died: August 25, 1956

Alfred Kinsey was an American biologist, sexologist, and professor of zoology and entomology. He is credited with founding the Indiana University's Institute for Sex Research in 1947. Kinsey's research on human sexuality and his other works have influenced cultural and social values in the USA as well as internationally. In 2012, Kinsey was inducted into Chicago's Legacy Walk.

 15 Rudolf Virchow

Rudolf Virchow
Famous As: Anthropologist, Pathologist
Birthdate: October 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Swidwin, Poland
Died: September 5, 1902

Rudolf Virchow was a German physician, pathologist, anthropologist, biologist, prehistorian, editor, writer, and politician. Nicknamed the Pope of medicine by his colleagues, Virchow is credited with founding the field of social medicine. He is also widely regarded as the father of modern pathology.  Rudolf Virchow was the first person to name diseases, such as thrombosis, leukemia, ochronosis, embolism, and chordoma.

 16 Ernst Haeckel

Ernst Haeckel
Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: February 6, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: July 31, 1919

Ernst Haeckel had initially practiced medicine before he gained an interest in Charles Darwin’s theory and began exploring zoology and related fields. He not only coined terms such as ecology, but also named numerous species and created a genealogical tree. He drew numerous figures of animals and sea creatures, too.

 17 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: August 1, 1744
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bazentin, France
Died: December 18, 1829

French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck acquired his love for plants while serving as a soldier in the French army. Following an injury, he quit his military career but retained his love for botany. He later taught zoology, studied the classification of invertebrates, and also coined the term biology.

 18 Paul Ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: March 14, 1854
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Strzelin, Poland
Died: August 20, 1915

German scientist Paul Ehrlich is remembered for his contribution to immunology, which also won him a Nobel Prize. Known as the pioneer of chemotherapy, he also discovered the first-known treatment of syphilis. Born into a business family, he was introduced to the method of studying cells by his pathologist uncle.

 19 Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: May 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ealing, Middlesex
Died: June 29, 1895

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist and anthropologist. He specialized in comparative anatomy and was a proponent of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Despite having little formal schooling, he went on to become one of the finest comparative anatomists of the 19th century. He was the chair of natural history at the Royal School of Mines for 31 years. 

 20 Ronald Fisher

Ronald Fisher
Famous As: Statistician
Birthdate: February 17, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: East Finchley, London, England
Died: July 29, 1962

Ronald Fisher was a British polymath, statistician, geneticist, mathematician, and academic. He is credited to have single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science. He made important contributions to the field of genetics and is known as one of the three principal founders of population genetics. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1929. 

 21 Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister
Famous As: Surgeon and Scientist
Birthdate: April 5, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Upton House, West Ham, England
Died: February 10, 1912

British surgeon Joseph Lister was a pioneer of antiseptic medicine usage and made a huge contribution to the development of preventive medicine for bacterial infection. His achievements have been honored by many, such as the makers of Listerine antiseptic and mouthwash, who named their product after him.

 22 Oswald Avery

Oswald Avery
Famous As: Biologist, Physician, Geneticist
Birthdate: October 21, 1877
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Halifax
Died: February 20, 1955

A pioneer of molecular biology, Oswald Avery revolutionized science with his research on the chemical processes involved in immunology. The Canadian-American bacteriologist initially aspired to be a musician. He later proved that DNA was the basis of heredity. Though nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times, he never won it.

 23 Nettie Stevens

Nettie Stevens
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: July 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cavendish, Vermont, United States
Died: May 4, 1912

Nettie Stevens was an American geneticist. She is credited with discovering sex chromosomes which later came to be known as the X and Y chromosomes. In 1994, Nettie Stevens was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 24 Trofim Lysenko

Trofim Lysenko
Famous As: Experimenter
Birthdate: September 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Karlivka
Died: November 20, 1976

Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet biologist and agronomist. Lysenko was one of the most influential supporters of Lamarckism. He also condemned Mendelian genetics and supported Lysenkoism, a political campaign that rejected natural selection. Lysenko used his political power to imprison his critics. Several Soviet scientists, including Nikolai Vavilov, who failed to renounce genetics were either imprisoned or killed.

 25 Hans Christian Gram

Hans Christian Gram
Famous As: Physician, Bacteriologist, University teacher, Scientist
Birthdate: September 13, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Copenhagen
Died: November 15, 1938

 26 Alister Hardy

Alister Hardy
Famous As: Biologist, Marine biologist
Birthdate: February 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nottingham
Died: May 22, 1985

 27 Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild

Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
Famous As: Biologist, Banker, Politician, Zoologist, Ornithologist, Entomologist, Lepidopterist
Birthdate: February 8, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: August 27, 1937

 28 Howard Florey

Howard Florey
Famous As: Pathologist and Pharmacologist
Birthdate: September 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Died: February 21, 1968

Howard Florey was an Australian pathologist and pharmacologist. He is best remembered for his role in the formation of penicillin, for which he shared the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Alexander Fleming and Ernst Chain in the year 1945. Florey is credited with carrying out the first clinical trial of penicillin at the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1941.

 29 Richard Owen

Richard Owen
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: July 20, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: December 18, 1892

 30 Matthias Jakob Schleiden

Matthias Jakob Schleiden
Famous As: Biologist, Botanist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: April 5, 1804
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamburg
Died: June 23, 1881

 31 Justus von Liebig

Justus von Liebig
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: May 12, 1803
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: April 18, 1873

 32 Claude Bernard

Claude Bernard
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: July 12, 1813
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Julien, France
Died: February 10, 1878

Claude Bernard was a French physiologist whose scientific experiments led to several important discoveries. He is credited with coining the phrase milieu intérieur, which refers to the extracellular fluid (ECF) environment. He also pioneered the use of a blinded experiment to eliminate various experimental biases.

 33 Nikolai Vavilov

Nikolai Vavilov
Famous As: botanist, biologist, explorer, geneticist, geographer
Birthdate: November 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 26, 1943

 34 Camillo Golgi

Camillo Golgi
Famous As: Physician, Pathologist, Biologist
Birthdate: July 7, 1843
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Corteno, Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, Italy
Died: January 21, 1926

Nobel Prize-winning cytologist and physician Camillo Golgi is remembered for his contribution to the study of the central nervous system. He revolutionized medical science with his staining technique and discoveries such as the Golgi cell, the Golgi tendon organ, and the Golgi apparatus, apart from his research on malaria.

 35 Alexis Carrel

Alexis Carrel
Famous As: Surgeon, Biologist
Birthdate: June 28, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Rhône, France
Died: November 5, 1944
Nobel Prize-winning French biologist and surgeon Alexis Carrel is remembered for developing a method to suture blood vessels with minimum stitches, to repair them. He also successfully kept tissues alive outside the body for 30 years, in an innovative tissue culture experiment, and worked on organ transplantation.

 36 Sergei Winogradsky

Sergei Winogradsky
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: September 1, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: February 25, 1953

 37 Julian Huxley

Julian Huxley
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: June 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 14, 1975

 38 Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: August 1, 1870
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shchigry
Died: March 20, 1932

 39 Patrick Geddes

Patrick Geddes
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1932

Apart from being a sociologist and biologist, Patrick Geddes was known for his impeccable sense of town planning. While he initially taught botany in Dundee, he later turned to sociology and conducted studies in India, Mexico, and other countries. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.

 40 Friedrich Miescher

Friedrich Miescher
Famous As: Biologist, Biochemist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 13, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Basel
Died: August 26, 1895

 41 Charles Lucien Bonaparte

Charles Lucien Bonaparte
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: May 24, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 29, 1857

 42 Karl Patterson Schmidt

Karl Patterson Schmidt
Famous As: American zoologist
Birthdate: June 19, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lake Forest, Illinois, United States
Died: September 26, 1957

Karl Patterson Schmidt was a herpetologist. He studied biology and geology at Cornell University and realized his keen interest in herpetology. He later worked as a scientific assistant in herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. He undertook many collecting expeditions for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He died after being bitten by a boomslang snake. 

 43 Hugo de Vries

Hugo de Vries
Famous As: Botanist, Biologist, Geneticist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haarlem
Died: May 21, 1935

 44 Friedrich Ratzel

Friedrich Ratzel
Famous As: Biologist, Geopolitician, Geographer, Zoologist, Political scientist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 9, 1904

 45 Sewall Wright

Sewall Wright
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: December 21, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Melrose, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 3, 1988

 46 August Weismann

August Weismann
Famous As: Biologist, Zoologist, Geneticist
Birthdate: January 17, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: November 5, 1914

 47 Ian Wilmut

Ian Wilmut
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: July 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton Lucy, England

British biologist Ian Wilmut revolutionized embryology by leading the team of researchers who successfully created the first cloned mammal, the sheep named Dolly. A leading proponent of cryopreservation, he also implanted the first calf embryo, Frostie, in a surrogate cow. He was later knighted for his achievements.

 48 Carl Akeley

Carl Akeley
Famous As: Taxidermist
Birthdate: May 19, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Clarendon, New York, United States
Died: November 17, 1926

Carl Akeley was an American taxidermist, biologist, sculptor, conservationist, nature photographer, and inventor. Widely regarded as the father of modern taxidermy, Akeley is remembered for his immense contributions to American museums, such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. He is also credited with founding the AMNH Exhibitions Lab.

 49 Jean-Henri Fabre

Jean-Henri Fabre
Famous As: Entomologist
Birthdate: December 21, 1823
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Leons, France
Died: October 11, 1915

 50 Charles Davenport

Charles Davenport
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: June 1, 1866
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Died: February 18, 1944

Charles Davenport was a prominent biologist and eugenicist who played an influential role in the American eugenics movement. He earned a Ph.D. in biology and ventured into an academic career. He pioneered new quantitative standards of taxonomy and earned much prominence as a biologist. He later founded the Eugenics Record Office and the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations (IFEO).