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.
General Tom Thumb was a dwarf best remembered as a performer in P. T. Barnum's circus. He achieved significant fame as a performer and has been portrayed by several actors in films, such as The Mighty Barnum and Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon. In the 2017 movie The Greatest Showman, General Tom Thumb was played by Sam Humphrey.
Georges Bizet was a French composer whose career was cut short by his untimely demise at the age of 36. Since his death in 1875, Bizet's final work Carmen has become one of the most frequently performed works in the opera repertoire. Although he couldn’t achieve success during his lifetime, Bizet's death is considered a loss to French musical theatre.
Victoria Woodhull was an American politician, suffragist, and writer who played an important role in the women's suffrage movement. She is credited with founding Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, America's first newspaper to be founded by a woman. Her life and career inspired the Broadway musical Onward Victoria. In 2001, she was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach is remembered for his contributions to the study of shock waves. He is also credited for discovering a non-acoustic function of the inner ear that helps control human balance. As a philosopher of science, he is considered a major influence on logical positivism and American pragmatism.
Max Bruch composed his first song at 9 for his mother’s birthday and then earned a scholarship after creating a symphony at the tender age of 14. He worked extensively with the choral societies of Germany and is remembered for his iconic Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.
William Henry Perkin is best remembered for his chance discovery of the dye mauveine, made of aniline purple. He had apparently discovered the dye while attempting to synthesize quinine. The Royal Medal-winning British chemist also studied salicyl alcohol and flavoring agents and synthesized the first artificial perfume.
German general and inventor Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin is best-remembered for inventing the Zeppelin rigid airships and pioneering development of rigid airships during early 20th century. Zeppelin eventually founded the German aircraft manufacturing company called Luftschiffbau Zeppelin that played an instrumental role in the design and manufacture of rigid airships and emerged as the leading manufacturer of large lighter-than-air vehicles.
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was an Indian poet, novelist, and journalist. He is credited with composing India's national song, Vande Mataram, which personifies India as a mother goddess. The song played a major role in inspiring revolutionaries during India's struggle for independence. Dubbed Emperor of Literature, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote 14 novels alongside several poems.
Historian Henry Adams was part of the famous Adams political family of the U.S and a typical Boston Brahmin elite. His best-known work remains his posthumously published autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, which won a Pulitzer Prize. He also taught medieval history at Harvard.
An influential English ethical philosopher and economist of the Victorian era, Henry Sidgwick is perhaps best known for his utilitarian treatise The Methods of Ethics. He promoted higher education of women and co-founded Newnham College. He remained a member of the Metaphysical Society and co-founded and served as first president of the Society for Psychical Research.
Widely regarded as the founder of Intentionalism, or act psychology, German philosopher Franz Brentano was also a Roman Catholic priest. He also taught philosophy at the University of Würzburg and the University of Vienna and penned the iconic works Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint and Inquiry into Sense Psychology.
A qualified lawyer and a skilled orator, Émile Loubet had been the mayor of Montélimar, before becoming the prime minister and then the president of France. He was responsible for improving France’s relationship with Britain. He also accelerated the separation of the Church and the French government.
Social reformer Octavia Hill led the British open-space movement, which eventually led to the formation of the National Trust. Inspired by John Ruskin, she established her first housing project in a London slum. She later devoted her life to developing living conditions of the poor and utilizing open spaces.
Camille Jordan was a French mathematician best remembered for his influential Cours d'analyse and his foundational work in group theory. He also served as an educator, teaching at prestigious institutions like the Collège de France and École Polytechnique. The asteroid 25593 Camillejordan is named in his honor.
Although an important member of the Japanese Meiji oligarchy, Kōshaku (Marquess) Ōkuma Shigenobu was a centrist and a supporter of western ideas and science. His campaign for a parliamentary system of governance led to political reforms in Japan. As a foreign minister, he modernized the country’s fiscal system. A two-time Prime Minister, he was also the founder of Waseda University
Spanish painter and art teacher José Ruiz y Blasco was best known as the father of legendary artist Pablo Picasso. Most of his works are depictions of landscapes or doves and pigeons in their natural habitat. He also specialized in still lifes. In his later years, he taught at La Lonja.
Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay began working in his family’s salt-making business soon after finishing school, as his condition of acute pleurisy prevented him from studying any further. He is remembered for developing the ammonia-soda process that produces soda ash, which is crucial to the glass and soap industries.
Architect Henry Hobson Richardson is best remembered for introducing what later came to be known as Richardsonian Romanesque. The great-grandson of scientist Joseph Priestley, he was educated at Harvard. Initially an aspiring civil engineer, he later drifted to architecture. His works included libraries, commercial buildings, and the Trinity Church.
Edwin Abbott Abbott was a theologian, schoolmaster, and Anglican priest. He is remembered for writing the 1884 novella Flatland. He served as the principal of the City of London School where he supervised the education of H.H. Asquith, who would go on to serve as the prime minister of the UK. Abbott is also credited with writing educational text books.
US meteorologist Cleveland Abbe, who proposed the use of time zones, was also known for his contribution to the development of the US Weather Bureau, or the National Weather Service, through his daily weather maps and forecasts. Initially an astronomer, he also served as the director of the Cincinnati (Ohio) Observatory.
Nineteenth-century French sculptor Jules Dalou, who excelled in bronze art, was initially trained by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. He spent a few years in exile in England after the French government convicted him for participating in the Paris Commune. The Triumph of the Republic remains one of his best-known works.
Author August Šenoa is credited with leading Croatian literature from Romanticism to Realism. Also considered the "father of the Croatian novel," he studied law but later deviated to writing. He introduced the genre of the historical novel in Croatia and penned iconic works such as Pirates of Senj.
Considered one of the pioneers of celestial mechanics, George William Hill is best remembered for his study on the motions of the Moon. He also studied the motion of Jupiter and Saturn. The Copley Medal-winning mathematician and astronomer also laid down the theory of ordinary differential equations.
A lawyer by profession, Félix-Jules Méline served as the Minister of Agriculture and president of the Chamber of Deputies before he became the 65th Prime Minister of France. Today, he is best remembered for his role in drafting a protectionist legislation called the Méline tariffs, which sought to provide protection to the French industries from perceived external economic threat.
Karl Weyprecht was an Austro-Hungarian explorer. He served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and played an important role in the Austro-Sardinian War. He also achieved popularity as an Arctic explorer and co-led the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of 1872-1874 along with Julius von Payer. In 1875, Karl Weyprecht was honored with the prestigious Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal.
Polish poet and dramatist Adam Asnyk initially studied medicine but was later exiled for his political activities. He was part of the revolutionary government in Poland and fled following the unsuccessful insurrection. He joined the Positivist school and penned everything from sonnets, erotic poems, tragedies, and comedies.
Jean-Paul Laurens was a French sculptor and painter. He was one of the last and most important exponents of the French Academic style or academism. One of the most respected painters of his generation, Jean-Paul Laurens was commissioned to paint many public works, including paintings on the life of Saint Genevieve, by the French Third Republic.