Famous British Biologists

Biologists are scientists who specialize in the study of biology. They generally research on living organism, investigating their functioning and life mechanism. However, their work isn’t limited to that alone. Biologists are responsible for helping us best understand nature and our living standard by exploring the beginning and progression of life. They devise theories, develop vaccines, publish reports of their findings and provide solutions to environmental problems. With the expansion of the field of biology, the study of a biologist is not limited to micro-organism or multi-cellular ones. They research on fields like botany, zoology, microbiology, genetics and evolution biology. British biologists have largely contributed in the field of biology with their findings and research. They have discovered some of the nature’s most hidden secrets through their investigations. Norman Heatley is one of the scientists responsible for developing penicillin. Dave Goulson, a noted British biologist, specializes in the ecology and conservation of bumblebees. Sidney J Holt is one of the most renowned names in fisheries science for he is founder of the genre. His book ‘On the Dynamics of Exploited Fish Populations’ is a cornerstone of modern fisheries science and is studied till date. Check out this segment and find out more about the insurmountable contribution in biology made by ingenious British biologists, their life and their works.

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 Robert Hooke

Robert Hooke
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 28, 1635
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Died: March 3, 1703

Scientist Robert Hooke, also called England's Leonardo, initially gained recognition as an architect, conducting surveys following the Great Fire of London. He also taught geometry and was part of the Royal Society. He assisted Robert Boyle and eventually developed his own microscope, thus becoming the first to visualize micro-organisms.

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 4 Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall
Famous As: Primatologist
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

Jane Goodall is an English anthropologist and primatologist. Goodall's research proved that chimpanzees could use tools like stalks of grass to fish out termites from termite holes; this also challenged the long-held belief that chimpanzees were vegetarians. Goodall also discovered that chimpanzees are capable of emotions like sorrow and joy. Goodall is also credited with founding the Jane Goodall Institute.

 5 Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
Famous As: Evolutionary Biologist
Birthdate: March 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya

Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, author, and evolutionary biologist. He first achieved popularity after publishing his book, The Selfish Gene, which is credited with popularizing the gene selection theory. The book is also credited with introducing the term meme. In 2006, he established the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to promote secularism and scientific literacy.

 6 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.

 7 Francis Crick

Francis Crick
Famous As: Co-discoverer of the Structure of the DNA Molecule, Nobel Prize Winner
Birthdate: June 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Weston Favell, Northamptonshire, England
Died: July 28, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning British biophysicist Francis Crick is best known for his ground-breaking work to determine the structure of the DNA, along with James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin. He taught at various institutes, such as the Salk Institute, and was also awarded the Order of Merit.

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 8 Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 25, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Notting Hill, London, England
Died: April 16, 1958
Chemist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin is remembered for her pathbreaking X-ray diffraction studies of DNA, which helped in the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins later. She also worked on the molecular structures of viruses. 

 9 Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner
Famous As: Physicians
Birthdate: May 17, 1749
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berkeley, England
Died: January 26, 1823

Edward Jenner was an English scientist and physician. Referred to as the father of immunology, Jenner is credited with pioneering the concept of vaccines. Jenner's work laid the foundation for subsequent discoveries in the field of immunology; his work is believed to have saved more lives than any other work. In 2002, Jenner was included in BBC’s Greatest Britons list.

 10 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. 

 11 Jeremy Wade

Jeremy Wade
Famous As: Biologist, Television presenter, Writer
Birthdate: March 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Suffolk

Jeremy Wade is a British TV presenter, biologist, and freshwater detective. He is best known for his TV series River Monsters, Mighty Rivers, and Dark Waters. He attended the University of Kent and began his career as a biology teacher. He made his TV debut by chance and didn’t take long to become a popular TV presenter. 

 12 William Harvey

William Harvey
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 1, 1578
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Folkestone, England
Died: June 3, 1657

The first to discover the entire process of human blood circulation, physician William Harvey was a Royal College of Physicians fellow. He also served as the personal physician of James I. He later worked at the Bartholomew’s Hospital but was replaced for being a staunch monarchist.

 13 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.

 14 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. 

 15 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.

 16 Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey de Grey
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: April 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 17 Richard Owen

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

 18 Dorothy Hodgkin

Dorothy Hodgkin
Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: May 12, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: July 29, 1994

Dorothy Hodgkin received the 1964 Nobel Prize for mapping the structure of penicillin and Vitamin B12. She is also known for her work on insulin. Beginning her work on structure of an organic compound by using X-ray crystallography as an undergraduate student, she later developed it further and used it to determine the three-dimensional structure of complex organic molecules.

 19 James Lovelock

James Lovelock
Famous As: Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 20 Erasmus Darwin

Erasmus Darwin
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 12, 1731
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Elston, Newark-on-Trent,
Died: April 18, 1802

 21 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

 22 Julian Huxley

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

 23 Anne McLaren

Anne McLaren
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 7, 2007

Geneticist Anne McLaren is remembered for her pioneering research in embryology that paved the way for further research in fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization. The Royal Society fellow had also appeared as a child actor in the film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel Things to Come.

 24 Alister Hardy

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

 25 John Edward Gray

John Edward Gray
Famous As: Author, zoologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1800
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Walsall
Died: March 7, 1875

 26 Paul Nurse

Paul Nurse
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: January 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wembley

 27 John Maynard Smith

John Maynard Smith
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 2004

One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of his generation, John Maynard Smith was originally aeronautical engineer. Later, he took a second degree in genetics and did extensive research on subjects like population genetics and evolution of sex. Known for formalizing the central concept in evolutionary game theory, he introduced the evolutionarily stable strategy, impacting a wide variety of studies.  

 28 Peter Medawar

Peter Medawar
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: February 28, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died: October 2, 1987

 29 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Famous As: Structural biologist
Birthdate: 1952 AD
Birthplace: Chidambaram,Tamilnadu India

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is a British-American structural biologist whose research on the function of the ribosome earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry which he shared with Ada Yonath and Thomas A. Steitz. From 2015 to 2020, he served as the president of the Royal Society.

 30 John Gurdon

John Gurdon
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dippenhall, England

 31 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.

 32 William Bateson

William Bateson
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: August 8, 1861
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Robin Hood's Bay
Died: February 8, 1926

 33 Oliver Smithies

Oliver Smithies
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: June 23, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Halifax
Died: January 10, 2017

 34 John Sulston

John Sulston
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: March 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: March 6, 2018

 35 Sir James W. Black

Sir James W. Black
Famous As: Pharmacologist
Birthdate: June 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Uddingston, Scotland
Died: March 22, 2010

Sir James W. Black was a Scottish pharmacologist and physician. Black, who became interested in the study of the human heart and its reaction to adrenaline, developed a beta-blocker named propranolol to treat heart diseases. He is also credited with developing cimetidine, a drug used to cure stomach ulcers. He was honored with the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

 36 John Needham

John Needham
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: September 10, 1713
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 30, 1781

 37 Susan Greenfield, Baroness Greenfield

Susan Greenfield, Baroness Greenfield
Famous As: Politician, Biologist
Birthdate: October 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hammersmith

Apart from being a successful scientist with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, Susan Greenfield teaches pharmacology at the Lincoln College, Oxford. She is also part of the House of Lords and has penned a sci-fi novel. She supports causes such as Dignity in Dying, too.

 38 C.H. Waddington

C.H. Waddington
Famous As: Developmental Biologist
Birthdate: November 8, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Evesham, England
Died: September 26, 1975

British embryologist C.H. Waddington had studied paleontology before turning to biology. A professor of zoology and embryology, he later also taught animal genetics. His interests also included poetry, painting, and Marxism. He introduced concepts such as epigenetic landscape and genetic assimilation, and penned books such as Principles of Embryology.

 39 Charles Galton Darwin

Charles Galton Darwin
Famous As: Physicist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 18, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shrewsbury
Died: December 31, 1962

Charles Galton Darwin was an English physicist. Born into a prominent family of intellectuals, he was the son of mathematician George Howard Darwin and a grandson of biologist Charles Darwin. He studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and began an academic career. He, later on, served as the director of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). He loved to travel. 

 40 Martin Evans

Martin Evans
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: January 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stroud, England

 41 Keith Campbell

Keith Campbell
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: May 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: October 5, 2012

 42 Lewis Wolpert

Lewis Wolpert
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 19, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: January 28, 2021

 43 Robert Bakewell

Robert Bakewell
Famous As: Agriculturalist
Birthdate: May 23, 1725
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dishley, England
Died: October 1, 1795

 44 John Lindley

John Lindley
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: February 5, 1799
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Old Catton, England
Died: November 1, 1865

The son of a nurseryman, British botanist John Lindley revolutionized the plant classification system by introducing a method of considering all characters of plants. Known for his iconic work The Vegetable Kingdom, he also had a wide collection of orchids, which eventually found a place at the Kew Gardens.

 45 Norman Heatley

Norman Heatley
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: January 10, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Woodbridge, England
Died: January 5, 2004

 46 G. Evelyn Hutchinson

G. Evelyn Hutchinson
Famous As: Ecologist
Birthdate: January 30, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: May 17, 1991

 47 Ray Lankester

Ray Lankester
Famous As: Zoologists
Birthdate: May 15, 1847
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 13, 1929

 48 John Boyd Orr

John Boyd Orr
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: September 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilmaurs, Scotland
Died: June 25, 1971

Apart from being a scientist and physician, John Boyd Orr also conducted ground-breaking research on nutrition. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was known for his campaigns to end world hunger, had also served the British army and navy as a medical officer. He was later knighted, too.

 49 David Lack

David Lack
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: July 16, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 12, 1973

 50 Paul J. McAuley

Paul J. McAuley
Famous As: Botanist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: April 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stroud, United Kingdom

Apart from being a botanist, Paul J. McAuley is also a popular sci-fi author, who loves writing on themes such as space travel and alternate reality. Known for his award-winning novels such as Four Hundred Billion Stars and Fairyland, he has also penned a few short stories.