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Freidrich Mohs

Friedrich Mohs
Friedrich Mohs

NAME: Freidrich Mohs (German)

BORN/DIED: 29th Jan 1773 – 29th Sept 1839

JOB: Geologist, Mineralogist

KEY FACTS: Freidrich Mohs was born in Germany. He was well educated and studied physics, chemistry and mathematics at university. He worked in a mine and developed an interest in minerals. He later took a job in Austria where he was required to sort minerals by their physical characteristics. This led him to develop a hardness scale (the hardest mineral, diamond, was given the value of 10 and the softest, talc, was given a value of 1). He realised that some minerals could scratch others and if they could make a scratch on another then they must be harder.

ACHIEVEMENTS: He is well known for his creation of ‘Moh’s scale of hardness’.

Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian
Maria Sibylla Merian

NAME: Maria Sibylla Merian

BORN/DIED: 2nd April 1647 – 13th January 1717

JOB: Botanical artist, Entomologist, Naturalist

KEY FACTS: Maria grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. She had a fascination for natural history and enjoyed painting images of plants and insects that she had seen. She had a particular fascination for caterpillars and was interested in their transformation into butterflies or moths. At the time, very few people had an interest in insects and little was known about them. On the 10th July 1966 Maria set sail for South America to paint new species of insects. In order to pay for the trip, she had to sell 255 of her paintings! She discovered many new facts about insets and published her findings in a book called Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium when she returned.

ACHIEVEMENTS: She is most famous for the publication of her book which helped to educate people about insects. In particular, she made significant contributions to scientific thinking for her careful documentations about the metamorphosis of butterflies. Her portrait could be found on German bank notes before they converted to the Euro.

Mary and Louis Leakey

Leakey
Leakey

NAME: Mary and Louis Leakey (English)

Mary: 16th Feb 1913 – 9th Dec 1996. Louis: 7th August 1903 – 1st Oct 1972.

JOB: Archaeologist and paleontologists.

KEY FACTS: Mary Leakey was born in London, England. Her family travelled around a lot and during this time she developed an interest in archaeology. She went on to meet and marry Louis Leakey, a paleoanthropologist (studied fossils). They had three sons and enjoyed exploring and excavating as a family. They spent much of their life working in Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa. Throughout their career they discovered 15 new species of animals.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Mary Leakey discovered 15 new species of animal throughout her career. Mary discovered the first proconsul skill (an extinct primate).

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall

NAME: Jane Goodall

BORN: 3rd April 1934

JOB: Anthropologist, Ethologist, Primatologist

KEY FACTS: Jane Goodall grew up in London, England and always loved animals. She particularly liked chimpanzees and dreamt of going to Africa to see them in the wild. When she was 23yrs old, Jane made it to Africa and began a job studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. She has since devoted her life to studying these animals and is considered a world expert on chimpanzees.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Jane has won awards including the J Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize and was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace in 2004. She also has a plaque on the Tree of Life at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

NAME: Richard Dawkins

BORN/DIED: 26th March 1941

Job: Evolutionary biologist, Author

KEY FACTS: Dawkins is English but lived in Kenya until he was 8 because of his fathers job. He was a Christian until his teenage years when he became interested in the theory of evolution. Dawkins studied zoology and went on to become a professor. He is best known for his books on evolution. He is an atheist (does not believe in a God).

ACHIEVEMENTS: Dawkins has won many awards for his books and often appears on TV and the radio to discuss his ideas.

Photo by David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11639311

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci

NAME: Leonardo Da Vinci (Italian)

BORN/DIED: 15th April 1452 – 2nd May 1519

Job: Artist, Botanist, Inventor, Scientist

KEY FACTS: Leonardo was born in Florence, Italy. Little is known about his early life. When he was 14 he became apprenticed to a famous artist and went on to become a famous artist himself. However, he was interested in lots of other areas including architecture, mathematics, engineering, geology, astronomy and paleontology. He kept journals full of his sketches which included scientific sketches and drawings of ideas he had for inventions.
Leonardo was fascinated by fossils. He was ahead of his time in recognising that they contained the remains of prehistoric animals. He recorded these observations in his journals.

ACHIEVEMENTS: He is regarded as one of the most famous artists in history with paintings including ‘The Last Supper’ and the ‘Mona Lisa’. He is also remembered for his designs for inventions such as a flying machine.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

NAME: Charles Darwin (English)

BORN/DIED:7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934

Job: Biologist, Geologist, Naturalist

KEY FACTS: Charles Darwin was born in England. He was the fifth of sixth children and his father was a wealthy doctor. Although his father wanted him to study medicine, Darwin decided to follow his interest in animals and the natural world. He is most famous for his work on natural selection. This is the idea that all species have evolved over time from common ancestors. He researched this idea when travelling around the world on the HMS Beagle to places like Australia and the Galapagos Islands. On his travels he also made lots of observations about what geology can tell us about the past, noting them down in his journal.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Darwin wrote many famous and influential books including ‘The Origin of the Species’ and ‘The Descent of Man’. He furthered scientific thinking on evolution.

Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom
Florence Bascom

NAME: Florence Bascom (American)

BORN/DIED: 14th July 1862 – 18th June 1945

Jobs: Geologist

KEY FACTS: Florence Bascom was born in Massachusetts, USA. Her father was a university professor and her mother was a women’s rights activist so they both encouraged her to get a good education. She became the second woman in the world to gain a PhD in Geology and the second woman elected to the Council of the Geological Society of America (a global society for earth scientists). She went on to have a long and influential teaching career as a geologist.

ACHIEVEMENTS: The second woman in the world to gain a PhD in Geology. The second woman elected to the Council of the Geological Society of America. Associate editor of the magazine American Geologist.

David Attenborough

David Attenborough
David Attenborough

NAME: David Attenborough

BORN: 8th May 1926

Jobs: Broadcaster, Naturalist

KEY FACTS: Attenborough was born in London, England and spent his childhood collecting fossils and stones. He had a fascination with nature and went on to study natural sciences at The University of Cambridge. Throughout his time working for the BBC, Attenborough has presented and been involved in the making of many programmes including Zoo Quest, Life on Earth, The Living Planet, Planet Earth and The Blue Planet.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Attenborough has been called ‘the greatest broadcaster of his time’ and is known internationally for his work. He has an honorary Doctor of Science award from both Oxford and Cambridge University. Many species of plant and animal have also been named in his honour.

Wildscreen’s photograph of David Attenborough at ARKive’s launch in Bristol, England © May 2003

Mary Anning

Mary Anning
Mary Anning

NAME: Steve Backshall

BORN/DIED: 21st May 1799 – 9th March 1847

BORN: Paleontologist

Keyfacts: Mary Anning was born in Lyme Regis in Dorset, England. This was a place where lots of fossils could be found along the coastline. Her family were poor and her education was very limited. Mary and her brother Joseph often went fossil hunting together. They would then sell the fossils to make money for their family. In 1811, when Mary was 12,Joseph dug up a 4-foot ichthyosaur skull. A few months later Mary found the rest of the skeleton. At the time, many people believed in the Biblical account of creation. This find made people question the history of the Earth.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified, the first two more complete plesiosaur skeletons found, the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany and important fish fossils.

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