Famous British Biologists

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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.
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 1 
Charles Darwin
(Naturalist known for His Contributions to Evolutionary Biology)
Charles Darwin
6
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 
Richard Dawkins
(British Evolutionary Biologist Who Contends that a Supernatural Creator Almost Certainly Does Not Exist)
Richard Dawkins
14
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.

 3 
Robert Hooke
(Philosopher)
Robert Hooke
4
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.

 4 
Francis Crick
(Co-discoverer of the Structure of the DNA Molecule, Nobel Prize Winner)
Francis Crick
4
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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 5 
David Attenborough
(English Broadcaster, Biologist and Natural Historian)
David Attenborough
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Isleworth, England

Widely regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom, Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received BAFTAs for TV shows meant for different television sets, such as black and white, color, 3D, HD, and 4K. In 2002, he was mentioned in BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

 6 
Alfred Russel Wallace
(Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist)
Alfred Russel Wallace
6
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 
Thomas Henry Huxley
(English Biologist and Anthropologist Specialising in Comparative Anatomy.)
Thomas Henry Huxley
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ealing, London, England
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. 

 8 
Edward Jenner
(Physicians)
Edward Jenner
4
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.

 9 
Rosalind Franklin
8
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. 
 10 
Jeremy Wade
(Television presenter, Writer)
Jeremy Wade
6
Birthdate: March 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ipswich, Suffolk, England

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. 

 11 
Herbert Spencer
(Philosopher and Sociologist Known for His Hypothesis of ‘Social Darwinism’ and the Expression 'Survival of the Fittest')
Herbert Spencer
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Derby, Derbyshire, England
Died: December 8, 1903

Herbert Spencer was the man behind the expression “survival of the fittest,” after reading Charles Darwin's iconic work On the Origin of Species. The British anthropologist, sociologist, and philosopher introduced the concept of Social Darwinism, which applied the theory of evolution to societies and social classes.

 12 
J.B.S. Haldane
(British Scientist Who Developed the Mathematical Theory of Population Genetics and One of the Founders of ‘Neo-Darwinism’)
J.B.S. Haldane
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oxford, England
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.

 13 
Ronald Fisher
(Statistician)
Ronald Fisher
4
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. 

 14 
Richard Owen
(Biologist)
Richard Owen
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: December 18, 1892
 15 
Julian Huxley
(Biologist)
Julian Huxley
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 14, 1975
 16 
Dorothy Hodgkin
(Biochemist)
Dorothy Hodgkin
3
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.

 17 
James Lovelock
(Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer)
James Lovelock
6
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.

 18 
Aubrey de Grey
(Biologist)
Aubrey de Grey
10
Birthdate: April 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London
 19 
John Maynard Smith
(Mathematician, Evolutionary Biologist, Geneticist and One of the Founding Members of the 'University of Sussex')
John Maynard Smith
3
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.  

 20 
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
(British Politician and Zoologist Who Served as a Member of Parliament from Aylesbury)
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: August 27, 1937

Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild was a British soldier, politician, zoologist, and banker. He is best remembered for his service as the president of the largest Jewish communal organization in the UK, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, between 1925 and 1926. Walter Rothschild also made immense contributions to the field of zoology.

 21 
Erasmus Darwin
(Physician)
Erasmus Darwin
3
Birthdate: December 12, 1731
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Elston, Newark-on-Trent,
Died: April 18, 1802
 22 
Rupert Sheldrake
(English Author Best Known For His Research in Parapsychology)
Rupert Sheldrake
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England

Rupert Sheldrake is an English author best known for his research in the field of parapsychology. He is credited with proposing the concept of morphic resonance, which has been categorized as pseudoscience by mainstream scientists. Rupert Sheldrake is also known for his work encompassing paranormal subjects like telepathy, precognition, and the psychic staring effect.

 23 
Anne McLaren
(Geneticist)
Anne McLaren
3
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 
Paul Nurse
(Geneticist)
Paul Nurse
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wembley
 25 
John Edward Gray
(Zoologist)
John Edward Gray
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1800
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Walsall
Died: March 7, 1875

John Edward Gray was a British zoologist best remembered for his association with the British Museum in London, where he was the keeper of zoology from 1840 to 1874. John Edward Gray is also remembered for publishing several records of the museum collections that included descriptions of new species.

 26 
Hans Adolf Krebs
(British Biologist Who was a Pioneer Scientist in the Study of Cellular Perspiration)
Hans Adolf Krebs
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hildesheim, Germany
Died: November 22, 1981

Born to an ENT surgeon in Germany, Hans Adolf Krebs followed in his father’s footsteps and studied medicine. After fleeing Nazi Germany, he went to England, where he joined the University of Cambridge as a researcher. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist is remembered for his groundbreaking discovery of cellular respiration.

 27 
Alister Hardy
(Biologist, Marine biologist)
Alister Hardy
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nottingham
Died: May 22, 1985
 28 
W. D. Hamilton
(Biologist)
W. D. Hamilton
3
Birthdate: August 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: March 7, 2000
 29 
Tomas Lindahl
(Swedish-British Scientist Specialising in Cancer Research)
Tomas Lindahl
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Tomas Lindahl is a Swedish-British scientist who specializes in cancer research. He is best known as the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he received alongside Turkish chemist Aziz Sancar and American chemist Paul L. Modrich. Over the years, Tomas Lindahl has also been honored with other prestigious awards such as the Royal Medal and Copley Medal.

 30 
John Gurdon
(Biologist)
John Gurdon
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dippenhall, England
 31 
Ian Wilmut
(British Embryologist Known for Creating a Cloned Sheep Named 'Dolly' From an Adult Sheep’s Somatic Cell)
Ian Wilmut
2
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
(Biologist who was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity)
William Bateson
2
Birthdate: August 8, 1861
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Died: February 8, 1926
 33 
John Sulston
(Biologist)
John Sulston
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: March 6, 2018
 34 
Oliver Smithies
(Geneticist)
Oliver Smithies
2
Birthdate: June 23, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Halifax
Died: January 10, 2017
 35 
John Needham
(British Naturalist, Biologist, and Clergyman Who Supported the 'Theory of Spontaneous Generation')
John Needham
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1713
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 30, 1781

British naturalist and biologist John Needham was also a Roman Catholic priest who became the first Catholic clergyman to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He supported the theories of spontaneous generation and vitalism. He also served the Imperial Academy in Brussels as its director.

 36 
Susan Greenfield, Baroness Greenfield
2
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.

 37 
Charles Galton Darwin
(Former physicist who served as director of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) during the Second World War)
Charles Galton Darwin
2
Birthdate: December 18, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
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. 

 38 
C.H. Waddington
(British Developmental Biologist, Paleontologist, Geneticist Known for Developing the Concept of the 'Epigenetic Landscape')
C.H. Waddington
2
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 
Martin Evans
(Biologist)
Martin Evans
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stroud, England
 40 
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
(Structural biologist)
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
2
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.

 41 
Keith Campbell
(Biologist)
Keith Campbell
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: October 5, 2012
 42 
Lewis Wolpert
(South African-Born British Developmental Biologist Known for His 'French Flag Model')
Lewis Wolpert
0
Birthdate: October 19, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: January 28, 2021

Pioneering South African-born British developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert is known for introducing the French flag model of embryonic development. He was associated with King’s College London and University College London. A victim of depression and suicidal thoughts in his later years, he wrote about his condition in the book Malignant Sadness.

 43 
Robert Bakewell
(Agriculturalist)
Robert Bakewell
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1725
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dishley, England
Died: October 1, 1795
 44 
Norman Heatley
(English Biochemist, Biologist and One of the Scientists Who Developed 'Penicillin')
Norman Heatley
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
Died: January 5, 2004

Norman Heatley was an English biochemist and biologist. He was part of a team of Oxford University scientists whose work led to the development of penicillin. Heatley is credited with developing a technique for purifying penicillin in bulk. Norman Heatley's contribution in the development of penicillin was not fully recognized until 1990.

 45 
G. Evelyn Hutchinson
(British Ecologist Who is Referred to as the Father of Modern Ecology)
G. Evelyn Hutchinson
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: May 17, 1991

G. Evelyn Hutchinson was a British ecologist best remembered for his contributions to the fields of systems ecology, limnology, entomology, radiation ecology, biogeochemistry, genetics, art history, philosophy, anthropology, religion, and a mathematical theory of population growth. G. Evelyn Hutchinson is sometimes referred to as the father of modern ecology.

 46 
Ray Lankester
(British Zoologist and Evolutionary Biologist)
Ray Lankester
1
Birthdate: May 15, 1847
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 13, 1929

Ray Lankester was a British zoologist and evolutionary biologist. Lankester held chairs at Oxford University and University College London. He is also remembered for his association with the Natural History Museum, where he served as the third director. Ray Lankester was honored with several prestigious awards, including the Copley Medal.

 47 
David Lack
(British Evolutionary Biologist Who Developed 'Lack's Principle')
David Lack
1
Birthdate: July 16, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 12, 1973

David Lack was a British evolutionary biologist best remembered for his immense contributions to ecology, ornithology, and ethology. He is also remembered for writing several historically significant books, such as Darwin's Finches and Life of the Robin. David Lack is also credited with developing what came to be known as Lack's Principle or group selection.

 48 
Paul J. McAuley
(Botanist, Science fiction writer)
Paul J. McAuley
0
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.

 49 
Karl Shuker
(British Cryptozoologist, Zoologist, and Author)
Karl Shuker
1
Birthdate: September 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Midlands

Karl Shuker is a British cryptozoologist, zoologist, and author. He is currently working as a writer and zoological consultant in the Midlands, England. Shuker is best known for his contribution to magazines, such as Fortean Times, where he is a columnist. Karl Shuker is also associated with the Journal of Cryptozoology, where he is working as the editor-in-chief.

 50 
Walter Baldwin Spencer
(Anthropologist)
Walter Baldwin Spencer
1
Birthdate: June 23, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stretford, England
Died: July 14, 1929

English biologist and anthropologist Walter Baldwin Spencer is remembered for his pioneering study of the indigenous population of Australia. He initially taught biology but later drifted to anthropology. He was also knighted but died while on an expedition to study the Ushuaia of the Tierra del Fuego.