John Ray Biography
Birthday: November 29, 1627 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Black Notley, near Braintree
The earliest of parson-naturalists known to the world, John Ray was one of the most eminent naturalists of the 17th century. He was also an influential philosopher and theologian. Ray was also the first person to give the biological definition of the term, ‘species’. He is hailed as ‘the father of natural history' and published some of the important works on plants, animals and natural theology. This founding figure of botany and zoology made ground-breaking contributions in the field of taxonomy. Born in a village to a blacksmith father and an amateur herbalist mother, Ray is believed to have spent much of his childhood helping his mother collect plants and observing the healing properties of them. Ray attended Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he received his bachelors and master’s degree. He was later appointed as the fellow of the college and he took a number of teaching positions but unfortunately resigned from his fellowship due to religious persecution. His contributions as a naturalist laid the foundation for many future works of research. Presently there are 172 works of him which are stored in some of the most prestigious libraries in London.