Archive for John Napier

More Science Beards of Note

Posted in Beards, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2018 by telescoper

Following yesterdays post in response to the news that the Bank of England has released a list of names of the scientists who have been nominated to appear on the new £50 note, I have collected a few more great beards of British science.

If you recall, Beard Liberation Front spokesperson Keith Flett has argued on his blog for Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) who is indeed a worthy candidate, being both a very distinguished scientist and the possessor of a splendid beard:

However, it must be pointed out that Kelvin was just one of many distinguished British scientists to have been hirsute, especially in the Victorian Era. Two that spring immediately to mind are James Prescott Joule (after whom the SI unit of energy is named):

There is also of course James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetism:

I posted those three yesterday, but here are some extras.

First, from an older era, there is John Napier (1550-1617) the mathematician and astronomer perhaps most famous for inventing logarithms:

Next is Joseph Swan, noted for the development of the incandescent light bulb who, incidentally, was born in Sunderland (which is in the Midlands).

Then there is engineer, mathematician and physicist Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Lodge is best known for his work on the development of radio communications:

Another well-known hirsute scientist inventor is Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell, whose strongest association is with the first working telephone system.

Here’s physicist, chemist and physical chemist William Crookes:

And finally in this batch there is astronomer and mathematician John Couch Adams who did not grow a beard until relatively late in life, but whose facial hair definitely deserves recognition:

Anyway, please keep them coming! You can submit other candidates through the comments box. If you include a link to a picture I will update and include in this post. Note, however, that to be eligible the person must: (a) be a scientist; (b) be British; (c) be dead; and (d) not have been on a banknote before. For example, Charles Darwin has previously been on the tenner so he is ruled out and many other famous beards in science are ruled out by virtue of not being British.