Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Enoch Bennett

Enoch Arnold Bennett was born on 27 May 1867 in a modest house in Hanley, one of a conurbation of 6 towns which joined together at the beginning of the 20th century as Stoke-on-Trent, in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Enoch Bennett died on 27 March 1931 of typhoid at his home in Baker Street, London, England, UK. Enoch Bennett’s ashes are buried in Burslem cemetery. Their daughter Virginia Eldin lived in France and was president of the Arnold Bennett Society.

Enoch Bennett was an English novelist.

Enoch Bennett’s father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the family were able to move to a larger house between Hanley and Burslem. The younger Enoch Bennett was educated locally in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Enoch Bennett was employed by his father – his duties included rent collecting. Enoch Bennett was unhappy working for his father for little financial reward, and the theme of parental miserliness is important in his novels. In his spare time he was able to do a little journalism, but his breakthrough as a writer was to come after he had moved from his native Potteries. At the age of 21, he left his father’s practice and went to London as a solicitor’s clerk.

Enoch Bennett won a literary competition in Tit-Bits magazine in 1889 and was encouraged to take up journalism full time. In 1894, he became assistant editor of the periodical Woman. Enoch Bennett noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial which was bought by the syndicate for £75.00. Enoch Bennett then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel. Just over 4 years later, his 1st novel A Man from the North was published to critical acclaim and he became editor to the magazine.

From 1900 he devoted himself full time to writing, giving up the editorship and writing much serious criticism, and also theatre journalism, one of his special interests. Enoch Bennett moved to Trinity Hall Farm, Hockliffe, Bedfordshire, on Watling Street, which was the inspiration for his novel Teresa of Watling Street, which came out in 1904. Enoch Bennett’s father Enoch Bennett died there in 1902, and is buried in Chalgrove churchyard. In 1902, Anna of the 5 Towns, the 1st of a succession of stories which detailed life in the Potteries, appeared.

In 1903, he moved to Paris, where other great artists from around the world had converged on Montmartre and Montparnasse. Enoch Bennett spent the next 8 years writing novels and plays. In 1908 The Old Wives’ Tale was published, and was an immediate success throughout the English-speaking world. After a visit to America in 1911, where he had been publicised and acclaimed as no other visiting writer since Dickens, he returned to England where Old Wives’ Tale was reappraised and hailed as a masterpiece. During the First World War, he became Director of Propaganda at the War Ministry. Enoch Bennett refused a knighthood in 1918. Enoch Bennett won the 1923 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Riceyman Steps and in 1926, at the suggestion of Lord Beaverbrook, he began writing an influential weekly article on books for the Evening Standard newspaper.

Osbert Sitwell, in a letter to James Agate, notes that Enoch Bennett was not, despite current views, “the typical businessman, with his mean and narrow outlook”. Osbert Sitwell cited a letter from Enoch Bennett to a friend of James Agate, who remains anonymous, in Ego 5:

I find I am richer this year than last; so I enclose a cheque for £500.00 for you to distribute among young writers and artists and musicians who may need the money. You will know, better than I do, who they are. But I must make one condition, that you do not reveal that the money has come from me, or tell anyone about it.

Enoch Bennett separated from his French wife in 1922, and fell in love with the actress Dorothy Cheston, with whom he stayed for the rest of his life.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (pronounced /ˈt(j)ʊ(ə)rɪŋ/)was born on 23 June 1912 and died On 8 June 1954, his cleaner found him dead; the previous day, he had died of cyanide poisoning, apparently from a cyanide-laced apple he left half-eaten beside his bed. The apple itself was never tested for contamination with cyanide, but a post-mortem established that the cause of death was cyanide poisoning. Most believe that his death was intentional, and the death was ruled a suicide. Alan Turing’s mother, however, strenuously argued that the ingestion was accidental due to his careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Biographer Andrew Hodges suggests that Alan Turing may have killed himself in this ambiguous way quite deliberately, to give his mother some plausible deniability. Others suggest that Alan Turing was re-enacting a scene from ‘Snow White’, his favourite fairy tale. Because Alan Turing’s homosexuality would have been perceived as a security risk, the possibility of assassination has also been suggested. Alan Turing’s remains were cremated at Woking crematorium on 12 June 1954.

Alan Turing was an English mathematician, logician and cryptographer.

Alan Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. Alan Turing provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine. With the Turing test, meanwhile, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. Alan Turing later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating 1 of the 1st designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE, although it was never actually built in its full form. In 1948, he moved to the University of Manchester to work on the Manchester Mark I, then emerging as one of the world’s earliest true computers.

During the Second World War Turing worked at Bletchley Park, the UK’s codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Alan Turing devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

Alan Turing was homosexual, living in an era when homosexuality was still both illegal and officially considered a mental illness. Subsequent to his being outed, he was criminally prosecuted, which essentially ended his career. Alan Turing died not long after, under what some believe were ambiguous circumstances.

Alan Turing was conceived in Chhatrapur, Orissa, India. Alan Turing’s father, Julius Mathison Turing, was a member of the Indian Civil Service. Julius and wife Sara 1881 – 1976, daughter of Edward Waller Stoney, chief engineer of the Madras Railways wanted Alan Turing to be brought up in England, so they returned to Maida Vale, London, where Alan Turing was born 23 June 1912, as recorded by a blue plaque on the outside of the building, now the Colonnade Hotel. Alan Turing had an elder brother, John. Alan Turing’s father’s civil service commission was still active, and during Alan Turing’s childhood years his parents travelled between Guildford, England and India, leaving their 2 sons to stay with friends in Hastings in England. Very early in life, Alan Turing showed signs of the genius he was to display more prominently later.

Alan Turing’s parents enrolled him at St Michael’s, a day school, at the age of 6. The headmistress recognised his genius early on, as did many of his subsequent educators. In 1926, at the age of 14, he went on to Sherborne School, a famous and expensive public school in Dorset. Alan Turing’s 1st day of term coincided with the General Strike in England, but so determined was he to attend his 1st day that he rode his bicycle unaccompanied more than 60 miles (97 km) from Southampton to school, stopping overnight at an inn.

Alan Turing’s natural inclination toward mathematics and science did not earn him respect with some of the teachers at Sherborne, whose definition of education placed more emphasis on the classics. Alan Turing’s headmaster wrote to his parents: “I hope he will not fall between 2 schools. If he is to stay at public school, he must aim at becoming educated. If he is to be solely a Scientific Specialist, he is wasting his time at a public school”.

Despite this, Alan Turing continued to show remarkable ability in the studies he loved, solving advanced problems in 1927 without having even studied elementary calculus. In 1928, aged 16, Alan Turing encountered Albert Einstein’s work; not only did he grasp it, but he extrapolated Albert Einstein’s questioning of Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion from a text in which this was never made explicit.

Alan Turing’s hopes and ambitions at school were raised by the close friendship he developed with a slightly older fellow student, Christopher Morcom, who was Alan Turing’s 1st love interest. Christopher Morcom died suddenly only a few weeks into their last term at Sherborne, from complications of bovine tuberculosis, contracted after drinking infected cow’s milk as a boy. Alan Turing’s religious faith was shattered and he became an atheist. Alan Turing adopted the conviction that all phenomena, including the workings of the human brain, must be materialistic.

Alan Turing’s unwillingness to work as hard on his classical studies as on science and mathematics meant he failed to win a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to the college of his 2nd choice, King’s College, Cambridge. Alan Turing was an undergraduate there from 1931 to 1934, graduating with a distinguished degree, and in 1935 was elected a fellow at King’s on the strength of a dissertation on the central limit theorem.

In his momentous paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”(submitted on 28 May 1936), Alan Turing reformulated Kurt Gödel’s 1931 results on the limits of proof and computation, replacing Kurt Gödel’s universal arithmetic-based formal language with what are now called Turing machines, formal and simple devices. Alan Turing proved that some such machine would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical problem if it were representable as an algorithm, even if no actual Turing machine would be likely to have practical applications, being much slower than practically realisable alternatives.

Turing machines are to this day the central object of study in theory of computation. Alan Turing went on to prove that there was no solution to the Entscheidungs problem by 1st showing that the halting problem for Turing machines is undecidable: it is not possible to decide, in general, algorithmically whether a given Turing machine will ever halt. While his proof was published subsequent to Alonzo Church’s equivalent proof in respect to his lambda calculus, Alan Turing’s work is considerably more accessible and intuitive. It was also novel in its notion of a ‘Universal (Turing) Machine’, the idea that such a machine could perform the tasks of any other machine. The paper also introduces the notion of definable numbers.

Most of 1937 and 1938 he spent at Princeton University, studying under Alonzo Church. In 1938 he obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton; his dissertation introduced the notion of relative computing where Turing machines are augmented with so-called oracles, allowing a study of problems that cannot be solved by a Turing machine.

Back in Cambridge in 1939, he attended lectures by Ludwig Wittgenstein about the foundations of mathematics. The 2 argued and disagreed, with Alan Turing defending formalism and Ludwig Wittgenstein arguing that mathematics does not discover any absolute truths but rather invents them.

During the Second World War, Alan Turing was a main participant in the efforts at Bletchley Park to break German ciphers. Building on cryptanalysis work carried out in Poland by Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski from Cipher Bureau before the war, he contributed several insights into breaking both the Enigma machine and the Lorenz SZ 40/42 (a Teletype cipher attachment codenamed “Tunny” by the British), and was, for a time, head of Hut 8, the section responsible for reading German naval signals.

Since September 1938, Alan Turing had been working part-time for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS), the British code breaking organisation. Alan Turing worked on the problem of the German Enigma machine, and collaborated with Dilly Knox, a senior GCCS codebreaker. On 4 September 1939, the day after the UK declared war on Germany, Alan Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of GCCS.

Within weeks of arriving at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing had designed an electromechanical machine which could help break Enigma faster than bomba from 1932, the bombe, named after and building upon the original Polish-designed bomba. The bombe, with an enhancement suggested by mathematician Gordon Welchman, became one of the primary tools, and the major automated one, used to attack Enigma-protected message traffic.

Professor Jack Good, cryptanalyst working at the time with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, later said: “Turing’s most important contribution, I think, was of part of the design of the bombe, the cryptanalytic machine. He had the idea that you could use, in effect, a theorem in logic which sounds to the untrained ear rather absurd; namely that from a contradiction, you can deduce everything.”

The bomb searched for possibly correct settings used for an Enigma message (i.e., rotor order, rotor settings, etc.), and used a suitable “crib”: a fragment of probable plaintext. For each possible setting of the rotors (which had of the order of 1019 states, or 1022 for the U-boat Enigmas which eventually had 4 rotors, compared to the usual Enigma variant’s 3), the bomb performed a chain of logical deductions based on the crib, implemented electrically. The bomb detected when a contradiction had occurred, and ruled out that setting, moving onto the next. Most of the possible settings would cause contradictions and be discarded, leaving only a few to be investigated in detail. Alan Turing’s bomb was 1st installed on 18 March 1940. Over 200 bombs were in operation by the end of the war.

In December 1940, Alan Turing solved the naval Enigma indicator system, which was more mathematically complex than the indicator systems used by the other services. Alan Turing also invented a Bayesian statistical technique termed “Banburismus” to assist in breaking Naval Enigma. Banburismus could rule out certain orders of the Enigma rotors, reducing time needed to test settings on the bombs.

In the spring of 1941, Alan Turing proposed marriage to Hut 8 co-worker Joan Clarke, although the engagement was broken off by mutual agreement in the summer.

In July 1942, Alan Turing devised a technique termed Turingismus or Turingery for use against the Lorenz cipher used in the Germans’ new Geheimschreiber machine (“secret writer”) which was one of those codenamed “Fish”. Alan Turing also introduced the Fish team to Tommy Flowers who under the guidance of Max Newman, went on to build the Colossus computer, the world’s 1st programmable digital electronic computer, which replaced simpler prior machines (including the “Heath Robinson”) and whose superior speed allowed the brute-force decryption techniques to be applied usefully to the daily-changing cyphers. A frequent misconception is that Alan Turing was a key figure in the design of Colossus; this was not the case.

Alan Turing travelled to the United States in November 1942 and worked with U.S. Navy cryptanalysts on Naval Enigma and bombe construction in Washington, and assisted at Bell Labs with the development of secure speech devices. Alan Turing returned to Bletchley Park in March 1943. During his absence, Hugh Alexander had officially assumed the position of head of Hut 8, although Hugh Alexander had been de facto head for some time — Alan Turing having little interest in the day-to-day running of the section. Alan Turing became a general consultant for cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park.

In the latter part of the war, while teaching himself electronics at the same time, and assisted by engineer Donald Bayley, Alan Turing undertook the design of a portable machine codenamed Delilah to allow secure voice communications. It was intended for different applications, lacking capability for use with long-distance radio transmissions, and in any case, Delilah was completed too late to be used during the war. Though Alan Turing demonstrated it to officials by encrypting/decrypting a recording of a Winston Churchill speech, Delilah was not adopted for use.

In 1945, Alan Turing was awarded the OBE for his wartime services, but his work remained secret for many years. A biography published by the Royal Society shortly after his death recorded:

“3 remarkable papers written just before the war, on 3 diverse mathematical subjects, show the quality of the work that might have been produced if he had settled down to work on some big problem at that critical time. For his work at the Foreign Office he was awarded the OBE.”

From 1945 to 1947 he was at the National Physical Laboratory, where he worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine). Alan Turing presented a paper on 19 February 1946, which was the 1st detailed design of a stored-program computer. Although ACE was a feasible design, the secrecy surrounding the wartime work at Bletchley Park led to delays in starting the project and he became disillusioned. In late 1947 he returned to Cambridge for a sabbatical year. While he was at Cambridge, the Pilot ACE was built in his absence. It executed its 1st program on 10 May 1950.

In 1948 he was appointed Reader in the Mathematics Department at Manchester and in 1949 became deputy director of the computing laboratory at the University of Manchester, and worked on software for one of the earliest true computers — the Manchester Mark I. During this time he continued to do more abstract work, and in “Computing machinery and intelligence” (Mind, October 1950), Alan Turing addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment now known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called “intelligent”. The idea was that a computer could be said to “think” if it could fool an interrogator into thinking that the conversation was with a human.

In 1948, Alan Turing, working with his former undergraduate colleague, D.G. Champernowne, began writing a chess program for a computer that did not yet exist. In 1952, lacking a computer powerful enough to execute the program, Alan Turing played a game in which he simulated the computer, taking about half an hour per move. The game was recorded; the program lost to Alan Turing’s colleague Alick Glennie, although it is said that it won a game against Champernowne’s wife.

Alan Turing worked from 1952 until his death in 1954 on mathematical biology, specifically morphogenesis. Alan Turing published one paper on the subject called “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” in 1952, putting forth the Turing hypothesis of pattern formation. Alan Turing’s central interest in the field was understanding Fibonacci phyllotaxis, the existence of Fibonacci numbers in plant structures. Alan Turing used reaction-diffusion equations which are now central to the field of pattern formation. Later papers went unpublished until 1992 when Collected Works of A.M. Turing was published.

Homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom and regarded as a mental illness and subject to criminal sanctions. In 1952, Arnold Murray, a 19-year-old recent acquaintance of Alan Turing’s, helped an accomplice to break into Alan Turing’s house, and Alan Turing reported the crime to the police. As a result of the police investigation, Alan Turing acknowledged a sexual relationship with Arnold Murray, and a crime having been identified and settled, Alan Turing and Arnold Murray were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. Alan Turing was unrepentant and was convicted of the same crime Oscar Wilde had been convicted of more than 50 years before.

Alan Turing was given a choice between imprisonment and probation, conditional on his undergoing hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. Alan Turing accepted the estrogen hormone injections, which lasted for a year, to avoid jail. Side effects included gynecomastia (breast enlargement). Alan Turing’s conviction led to a removal of his security clearance and prevented him from continuing consultancy for GCHQ on cryptographic matters. At the time, there was acute public anxiety about spies and homosexual entrapment by Soviet agents, possibly due to the recent exposure of the Cambridge 5 as KGB double agents. ( Alan Turing was never accused of espionage.)

Since 1966, the Turing Award has been given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery to a person for technical contributions to the computing community. It is widely considered to be the computing world’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

Various tributes to Alan Turing have been made in Manchester, the city where he worked towards the end of his life. In 1994 a stretch of the A6010 road (the Manchester city intermediate ring road) was named Alan Turing Way. A bridge carrying this road was widened, and carries the name ‘Alan Turing Bridge’.

A statue of Alan Turing was unveiled in Manchester on 23 June 2001. It is in Sackville Park, between the University of Manchester building on Whitworth Street and the Canal Street ‘gay village’. A celebration of Alan Turing’s life and achievements arranged by the British Logic Colloquium and the British Society for the History of Mathematics was held on 5 June 2004 at the University of Manchester; the Alan Turing Institute was initiated in the university that summer. The building housing the School of Mathematics, the Photon Sciences Institute and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is named the Alan Turing Building and was opened in July 2007.

On 23 June 1998, on what would have been Alan Turing’s 86th birthday, Andrew Hodges, his biographer, unveiled an official English Heritage Blue Plaque on his childhood home in Warrington Crescent, London, now the Colonnade hotel. To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, a memorial plaque was unveiled on 7 June 2004 at his former residence, Hollymeade, in Wilmslow.

For his achievements in computing, various universities have honoured him. On 28 October 2004 a bronze statue of Alan Turing sculpted by John W Mills was unveiled at the University of Surrey in Guildford. The statue marks the 50th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death. It portrays him carrying his books across the campus. Turing Road in the University’s Research Park predates this.

The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, both have computer laboratories named after Alan Turing. The University of Texas at Austin has an honours computer science programme named the Turing Scholars. Istanbul Bilgi University organises an annual conference on the theory of computation called Turing Days. The computer room in King’s College, Cambridge is named the “Turing Room” after him. Carnegie Mellon University has a granite bench, situated in The Hornbostel Mall, with the name “A. M. Turing” carved across the top, “Read” down the left leg, and “Write” down the other. The Boston GLBT pride organisation named Alan Turing their 2006 Honourary Grand Marshal.

On 13 March 2000, St Vincent & The Grenadines issued a set of stamps to celebrate the greatest achievements of the 20th century, one of which carries a recognisable portrait of Alan Turing against a background of repeated 0s and 1s, and is captioned ‘1937: Alan Turing’s theory of digital computing’.

A 1.5-ton, life-size statue of Alan Turing was unveiled on 19 June 2007 at Bletchley Park. Built from approximately 500,000 pieces of Welsh slate, it was sculpted by Stephen Kettle, having been commissioned by the late American billionaire Sidney Frank.

The Turing Relay is a 6-stage relay race on riverside footpaths from Ely to Cambridge and back. These paths were used for running by Alan Turing while at Cambridge; his marathon best time was 2 hours, 46 minutes.

Experimental music duo Matmos, whose members are a homosexual couple, released a limited edition EP in 2006 entitled For Alan Turing.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, FRS (pronounced /ˈnjuːtən/; was born on 4 January 1643 at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire. At the time of Sir Isaac Newton’s birth, England had not adopted the latest papal calendar and therefore his date of birth was recorded as Christmas Day, 25 December 1642. Sir Isaac Newton was born 3 months after the death of his father. Born prematurely, he was a small child; his mother Hannah Ayscough reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart mug. Sir Isaac Newton died on 31 March 1727 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

After Isaac Newton’s death, his body was discovered to have had massive amounts of mercury in it, probably resulting from his alchemical pursuits. Mercury poisoning could explain Sir Isaac Newton’s eccentricity in late life.

Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian. Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In this work, Sir Isaac Newton described universal gravitation and the 3 laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next 3 centuries and is the basis for modern engineering. Sir Isaac Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation, thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the scientific revolution.

In mechanics, Sir Isaac Newton enunciated the principles of conservation of momentum and angular momentum. In optics, he invented the reflecting telescope and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into a visible spectrum. Sir Isaac Newton also formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound.

In mathematics, Sir Isaac Newton shares the credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of the differential and integral calculus. Sir Isaac Newton also demonstrated the generalised binomial theorem, developed the so-called “Newton’s method” for approximating the 0’s of a function, and contributed to the study of power series.

Sir Isaac Newton was also highly religious (though unorthodox), producing more work on Biblical hermeneutics than the natural science he is remembered for today.

In a 2005 poll of the Royal Society asking who had the greater effect on the history of science, Sir Isaac Newton was deemed much more influential than Albert Einstein.

Sir Isaac Newton was 3, when his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabus Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and held some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19: Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them.

According to E.T. Bell and H. Eves:

Sir Isaac Newton began his schooling in the village schools and was later sent to The King’s School, Grantham, where he became the top student in the school. At The King’s School, he lodged with the local apothecary, William Clarke and eventually became engaged to the apothecary’s stepdaughter, Anne Storer, before he went off to the University of Cambridge at the age of 19. As Sir Isaac Newton became engrossed in his studies, the romance cooled and Miss Storer married someone else. It is said he kept a warm memory of this love, but Sir Isaac Newton had no other recorded “sweet-hearts” and never married.

There are rumours that he remained a confirmed celibate. However, Bell and Eves’ sources for this claim, William Stukeley and Mrs. Vincent (the former Miss Storer – actually named Katherine, not Anne), merely say that Sir Isaac Newton entertained “a passion” for Storer while he lodged at the William Clarke house.

From the age of about 12 until he was 17, Sir Isaac Newton was educated at The King’s School, Grantham (where his signature can still be seen upon a library window sill). Sir Isaac Newton was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, where his mother, widowed by now for a 2nd time, attempted to make a farmer of him. Sir Isaac Newton hated farming. Henry Stokes, master at the King’s School, who persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. This he did at the age of 18, achieving an admirable final report.

In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge. According to John Stillwell, he entered Trinity as a sizar. At that time, the college’s teachings were based on those of Aristotle, but Sir Isaac Newton preferred to read the more advanced ideas of modern philosophers such as Descartes and astronomers such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. In 1665, he discovered the generalised binomial theorem and began to develop a mathematical theory that would later become infinitesimal calculus. Soon after Sir Isaac Newton had obtained his degree in August of 1665, the University closed down as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Sir Isaac Newton’s private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent 2 years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics and the law of gravitation.

Most modern historians believe that Sir Isaac Newton and Leibniz had developed infinitesimal calculus independently, using their own unique notations. According to Sir Isaac Newton’s inner circle, Sir Isaac Newton had worked out his method years before Leibniz, yet he published almost nothing about it until 1693, and did not give a full account until 1704. Meanwhile, Leibniz began publishing a full account of his methods in 1684. Moreover, Leibniz’s notation and “differential Method” were universally adopted on the Continent, and after 1820 or so, in the British Empire. Whereas Leibniz’s notebooks show the advancement of the ideas from early stages until maturity, there is only the end product in Sir Isaac Newton’s known notes. Sir Isaac Newton claimed that he had been reluctant to publish his calculus because he feared being mocked for it. Sir Isaac Newton had a very close relationship with Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, who from the beginning was impressed by Sir Isaac Newton’s gravitational theory. In 1691 Nicolas Fatio de Duillier planned to prepare a new version of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, but never finished it. However, in 1694 the relationship between the 2 men changed. At the time, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier had also exchanged several letters with Leibniz.

Starting in 1699, other members of the Royal Society (of which Sir Isaac Newton was a member) accused Leibniz of plagiarism, and the dispute broke out in full force in 1711. Sir Isaac Newton’s Royal Society proclaimed in a study that it was Sir Isaac Newton who was the true discoverer and labeled Leibniz a fraud. This study was cast into doubt when it was later found that Sir Isaac Newton himself wrote the study’s concluding remarks on Leibniz. Thus began the bitter Newton v. Leibniz calculus controversy, which marred the lives of both Sir Isaac Newton and Leibniz until the latter’s death in 1716.

Sir Isaac Newton is generally credited with the generalised binomial theorem, valid for any exponent. Sir Isaac Newton discovered Newton’s identities, Newton’s method, classified cubic plane curves (polynomials of degree 3 in 2 variables), made substantial contributions to the theory of finite differences, and was the 1st to use fractional indices and to employ coordinate geometry to derive solutions to Diophantine equations. Sir Isaac Newton approximated partial sums of the harmonic series by logarithms (a precursor to Euler’s summation formula), and was the 1st to use power series with confidence and to revert power series. Sir Isaac Newton also discovered a new formula for calculating pi.

Sir Isaac Newton was elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1669. In that day, any fellow of Cambridge or Oxford had to be an ordained Anglican priest. However, the terms of the Lucasian professorship required that the holder not be active in the church (presumably so as to have more time for science). Sir Isaac Newton argued that this should exempt him from the ordination requirement, and Charles II, whose permission was needed, accepted this argument. Thus a conflict between Sir Isaac Newton’s religious views and Anglican orthodoxy was averted.

From 1670 to 1672, Sir Isaac Newton lectured on optics. During this period he investigated the refraction of light, demonstrating that a prism could decompose white light into a spectrum of colours, and that a lens and a 2nd prism could recompose the multicoloured spectrum into white light.

Sir Isaac Newton also showed that the coloured light does not change its properties by separating out a coloured beam and shining it on various objects. Sir Isaac Newton noted that regardless of whether it was reflected or scattered or transmitted, it stayed the same colour. Thus, he observed that colour is the result of objects interacting with already-coloured light rather than objects generating the colour themselves. This is known as Newton’s theory of colour.

From this work he concluded that any refracting telescope would suffer from the dispersion of light into colours, and invented a reflecting telescope (today known as a Newtonian telescope) to bypass that problem. By grinding his own mirrors, using Sir Isaac Newton’s rings to judge the quality of the optics for his telescopes, he was able to produce a superior instrument to the refracting telescope, due primarily to the wider diameter of the mirror. In 1671 the Royal Society asked for a demonstration of his reflecting telescope. Their interest encouraged him to publish his notes On Colour, which he later expanded into his Opticks. When Robert Hooke criticised some of Sir Isaac Newton’s ideas, Sir Isaac Newton was so offended that he withdrew from public debate. The 2 men remained enemies until Hooke’s death.

Sir Isaac Newton argued that light is composed of particles or corpuscles, which were refracted by accelerating toward the denser medium, but he had to associate them with waves to explain the diffraction of light (Opticks Bk. II, Props. XII-L). Later physicists instead favoured a purely wavelike explanation of light to account for diffraction. Today’s quantum mechanics, photons and the idea of wave–particle duality bear only a minor resemblance to Sir Isaac Newton’s understanding of light.

In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Sir Isaac Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles. The contact with the theosophist Henry More, revived his interest in alchemy. Sir Isaac Newton replaced the ether with occult forces based on Hermetic ideas of attraction and repulsion between particles. John Maynard Keynes, who acquired many of Sir Isaac Newton’s writings on alchemy, stated that “Newton was not the first of the age of reason: he was the last of the magicians.” Sir Isaac Newton’s interest in alchemy cannot be isolated from his contributions to science.(This was at a time when there was no clear distinction between alchemy and science.) Had Sir Isaac Newton not relied on the occult idea of action at a distance, across a vacuum, he might not have developed his theory of gravity.

In 1704 Sir Isaac Newton published Opticks, in which he expounded his corpuscular theory of light. Sir Isaac Newton considered light to be made up of extremely subtle corpuscles, that ordinary matter was made of grosser corpuscles and speculated that through a kind of alchemical transmutation “Are not gross Bodies and Light convertible into one another, …and may not Bodies receive much of their Activity from the Particles of Light which enter their Composition?” Sir Isaac Newton also constructed a primitive form of a frictional electrostatic generator, using a glass globe.

In 1677, Sir Isaac Newton returned to his work on mechanics, i.e., gravitation and its effect on the orbits of planets, with reference to Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, and consulting with Hooke and Flamsteed on the subject. Sir Isaac Newton published his results in De motu corporum in gyrum (1684). This contained the beginnings of the laws of motion that would inform the Principia.

The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (now known as the Principia) was published on 5 July 1687 with encouragement and financial help from Edmond Halley. In this work Sir Isaac Newton stated the 3 universal laws of motion that were not to be improved upon for more than 200 years. Sir Isaac Newton used the Latin word gravitas (weight) for the effect that would become known as gravity, and defined the law of universal gravitation. In the same work he presented the 1st analytical determination, based on Boyle’s law, of the speed of sound in air. Sir Isaac Newton’s postulate of an invisible force able to act over vast distances led to him being criticised for introducing “occult agencies” into science.

With the Principia, Sir Isaac Newton became internationally recognised. Sir Isaac Newton acquired a circle of admirers, including the Swiss-born mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, with whom he formed an intense relationship that lasted until 1693. The end of this friendship led Sir Isaac Newton to a nervous breakdown.

In the 1690s, Sir Isaac Newton wrote a number of religious tracts dealing with the literal interpretation of the Bible. Henry More’s belief in the universe and rejection of Cartesian dualism may have influenced Sir Isaac Newton’s religious ideas. A manuscript he sent to John Locke in which he disputed the existence of the Trinity was never published. Later works – The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728) and Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733) – were published after his death. Sir Isaac Newton also devoted a great deal of time to alchemy.

Sir Isaac Newton was also a member of the Parliament of England from 1689 to 1690 and in 1701, but his only recorded comments were to complain about a cold draft in the chamber and request that the window be closed.

Sir Isaac Newton moved to London to take up the post of warden of the Royal Mint in 1696, a position that he had obtained through the patronage of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sir Isaac Newton took charge of England’s great recoining, somewhat treading on the toes of Master Lucas (and securing the job of deputy comptroller of the temporary Chester branch for Edmond Halley). Sir Isaac Newton became perhaps the best-known Master of the Mint upon Lucas’ death in 1699, a position Sir Isaac Newton held until his death. These appointments were intended as sinecures, but Sir Isaac Newton took them seriously, retiring from his Cambridge duties in 1701, and exercising his power to reform the currency and punish clippers and counterfeiters. As Master of the Mint in 1717 Sir Isaac Newton unofficially moved the Pound Sterling from the silver standard to the gold standard by creating a relationship between gold coins and the silver penny in the “Law of Queen Anne”; these were all great reforms at the time, adding considerably to the wealth and stability of England. It was his work at the Mint, rather than his earlier contributions to science, that earned him a knighthood from Queen Anne in 1705.

Sir Isaac Newton was made President of the Royal Society in 1703 and an associate of the French Académie des Sciences. In his position at the Royal Society, Sir Isaac Newton made an enemy of John Flamsteed, the Astronomer Royal, by prematurely publishing Flamsteed’s star catalogue, which Sir Isaac Newton had used in his studies.

Sir Isaac Newton’s half-niece, Catherine Barton Conduitt, served as his hostess in social affairs at his house on Jermyn Street in London; he was her “very loving Uncle,” according to his letter to her when she was recovering from smallpox.

Although Sir Isaac Newton, who had no children, had divested much of his estate onto relatives in his last years, he actually died intestate.

Historian Stephen D. Snobelen says of Newton, “Isaac Newton was a heretic. But like Nicodemus, the secret disciple of Jesus, he never made a public declaration of his private faith – which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. Sir Isaac Newton hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs.” Stephen D. Snobelen concludes that Sir Isaac Newton was at least a Socinian sympathiser (he owned and had thoroughly read at least 8 Socinian books), possibly an Arian and almost certainly an antitrinitarian. In an age notable for its religious intolerance there are few public expressions of Sir Isaac Newton’s radical views, most notably his refusal to take holy orders and his refusal, on his death bed, to take the sacrament when it was offered to him.

In a view disputed by Snobelen, T.C. Pfizenmaier argues that Sir Isaac Newton held the Eastern Orthodox view of the Trinity rather than the Western one held by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and most Protestants. In his own day, he was also accused of being a Rosicrucian (as were many in the Royal Society and in the court of Charles II).

Although the laws of motion and universal gravitation became Sir Isaac Newton’s best-known discoveries, he warned against using them to view the universe as a mere machine, as if akin to a great clock. Sir Isaac Newton said, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”

Sir Isaac Newton’s scientific fame notwithstanding, Sir Isaac Newton’s studies of the Bible and of the early Church Fathers were also noteworthy. Sir Isaac Newton wrote works on textual criticism, most notably An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture. Sir Isaac Newton also placed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at 3 April, AD 33, which agrees with one traditionally accepted date. Sir Isaac Newton also attempted, unsuccessfully, to find hidden messages within the Bible.

In his own lifetime, Sir Isaac Newton wrote more on religion than he did on natural science. Sir Isaac Newton believed in a rationally immanent world, but he rejected the hylozoism implicit in Leibniz and Baruch Spinoza. Thus, the ordered and dynamically informed universe could be understood, and must be understood, by an active reason, but this universe, to be perfect and ordained, had to be regular.

“Newton,” by William Blake; here, Newton is depicted as a “divine geometer” Sir Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle’s mechanical philosophy was promoted by rationalist pamphleteers as a viable alternative to the pantheists and enthusiasts, and was accepted hesitantly by orthodox preachers as well as dissident preachers like the latitudinarians. Thus, the clarity and simplicity of science was seen as a way to combat the emotional and metaphysical superlatives of both superstitious enthusiasm and the threat of atheism, and, at the same time, the 2nd wave of English deists used Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries to demonstrate the possibility of a “Natural Religion.”

The attacks made against pre-Enlightenment “magical thinking,” and the mystical elements of Christianity, were given their foundation with Robert Boyle’s mechanical conception of the universe. Sir Isaac Newton gave Robert Boyle’s ideas their completion through mathematical proofs and, perhaps more importantly, was very successful in popularising them. Sir Isaac Newton refashioned the world governed by an interventionist God into a world crafted by a God that designs along rational and universal principles. These principles were available for all people to discover, allowed people to pursue their own aims fruitfully in this life, not the next, and to perfect themselves with their own rational powers.

Sir Isaac Newton saw God as the master creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. But the unforeseen theological consequence of his conception of God, as Leibniz pointed out, was that God was now entirely removed from the world’s affairs, since the need for intervention would only evidence some imperfection in God’s creation, something impossible for a perfect and omnipotent creator. Leibniz’s theodicy cleared God from the responsibility for “l’origine du mal” by making God removed from participation in his creation. The understanding of the world was now brought down to the level of simple human reason, and humans, as Odo Marquard argued, became responsible for the correction and elimination of evil.

On the other hand, latitudinarian and Sir Isaac Newtonian ideas taken too far resulted in the millenarians, a religious faction dedicated to the concept of a mechanical universe, but finding in it the same enthusiasm and mysticism that the Enlightenment had fought so hard to extinguish.

In a manuscript he wrote in 1704 in which he describes his attempts to extract scientific information from the Bible, he estimated that the world would end no earlier than 2060. In predicting this he said, “This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”

As warden of the Royal Mint, Sir Isaac Newton estimated that 20% of the coins taken in during The Great Recoinage were counterfeit. Counterfeiting was high treason, punishable by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Despite this, convictions of the most flagrant criminals could be extremely difficult to achieve; however, Sir Isaac Newton proved to be equal to the task.

Disguised as an habitué of bars and taverns, he gathered much of that evidence himself. For all the barriers placed to prosecution, and separating the branches of government, English law still had ancient and formidable customs of authority. Sir Isaac Newton was made a justice of the peace and between June 1698 and Christmas 1699conducted some 200 cross-examinations of witnesses, informers and suspects. Sir Isaac Newton won his convictions and in February 1699, he had 10 prisoners waiting to be executed.

Possibly Sir Isaac Newton’s greatest triumph as the king’s attorney was against William Chaloner. One of William Chaloner’s schemes was to set up phony conspiracies of Catholics and then turn in the hapless conspirators whom he entrapped. William Chaloner made himself rich enough to posture as a gentleman. Petitioning Parliament, William Chaloner accused the Mint of providing tools to counterfeiters (a charge also made by others). Sir Isaac Newton proposed that he be allowed to inspect the Mint’s processes in order to improve them. Sir Isaac Newton petitioned Parliament to adopt his plans for a coinage that could not be counterfeited, while at the same time striking false coins. Sir Isaac Newton was outraged, and went about the work to uncover anything about William Chaloner. During his studies, he found that William Chaloner was engaged in counterfeiting. Sir Isaac Newton immediately put William Chaloner on trial, but William Chaloner had friends in high places and, to Sir Isaac Newton’s horror, William Chaloner walked free. Sir Isaac Newton put him on trial a 2nd time with conclusive evidence. William Chaloner was convicted of high treason and hanged, drawn and quartered on 23 March 1699 at Tyburn gallows.

Enlightenment philosophers chose a short history of scientific predecessors—Galileo, Roger Boyle,and Sir Isaac Newton principally—as the guides and guarantors of their applications of the singular concept of Nature and Natural Law to every physical and social field of the day. In this respect, the lessons of history and the social structures built upon it could be discarded.

It was Sir Isaac Newton’s conception of the universe based upon Natural and rationally understandable laws that became the seed for Enlightenment ideology. Locke and Voltaire applied concepts of Natural Law to political systems advocating intrinsic rights; the physiocrats and Adam Smith applied Natural conceptions of psychology and self-interest to economic systems and the sociologists criticised the current social order for trying to fit history into Natural models of progress. Monboddo and Samuel Clarke resisted elements of Sir Isaac Newton’s work, but eventually rationalised it to conform with their strong religious views of nature.

The famous three laws of motion:

Newton’s 1st Law (also known as the Law of Inertia) states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and that an object in uniform motion tends to stay in uniform motion unless acted upon by a net external force.

Newton’s 2nd Law states that an applied force, on an object equals the rate of change of its momentum, with time. Mathematically, this is expressed as

Because this relation only holds when the mass is constant, that is, when, the 1st term vanishes, and the equation can be written in the iconic form

This equation states that a force applied to an object of mass m causes it to accelerate at a rate.

This equality requires a consistent set of units for measuring mass, length, and time. One such set is the SI system, where mass is in kilograms, length in metres, and time in seconds. This leads to force being in newtons, named in his honour, and acceleration in metres per second per second. The English analogous system is slugs, feet, and seconds.

Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that any force exerted onto an object has a counterpart force that is exerted in the opposite direction back onto the 1st object. The most common example is of 2 ice skaters pushing against each other and sliding apart in opposite directions. Another example is the recoil of a firearm, in which the force propelling the bullet is exerted equally back onto the gun and is felt by the shooter. Since the objects in question do not necessarily have the same mass, the resulting acceleration of the 2 objects can be different (as in the case of firearm recoil).

Newton’s apple

Reputed descendants of Newton’s apple tree, at the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge and the Instituto Balseiro library garden“ When Newton saw an apple fall, he found

In that slight startle from his contemplation –
‘Tis said (for I’ll not answer above ground
For any sage’s creed or calculation) –
A mode of proving that the earth turn’d round
In a most natural whirl, called “gravitation;”
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.

Newton himself often told that story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. It fell straight down–why was that, he asked?

Cartoons have gone further to suggest the apple actually hit Sir Isaac Newton’s head, and that its impact somehow made him aware of the force of gravity. John Conduitt, Sir Isaac Newton’s assistant at the Royal Mint and husband of Sir Isaac Newton’s niece, described the event when he wrote about Sir Isaac Newton’s life:

“In the year 1666 he retired again from Cambridge to his mother in Lincolnshire. Whilst he was pensively meandering in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from a tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from earth, but that this power must extend much further than was usually thought. Why not as high as the Moon said he to himself and if so, that must influence her motion and perhaps retain her in her orbit, where upon he fell a calculating what would be the effect of that supposition.”

The question was not whether gravity existed, but whether it extended so far from Earth that it could also be the force holding the moon to its orbit. Sir Isaac Newton showed that if the force decreased as the inverse square of the distance, one could indeed calculate the Moon’s orbital period, and get good agreement. Sir Isaac Newton guessed the same force was responsible for other orbital motions, and hence named it “universal gravitation”.

A contemporary writer, William Stukeley, recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life a conversation with Newton in Kensington on 15 April 1726, in which Sir Isaac Newton recalled “when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasioned by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself. Why should it not go sideways or upwards, but constantly to the earth’s centre.” In similar terms, Voltaire wrote in his Essay on Epic Poetry (1727), “Sir Isaac Newton walking in his gardens, had the first thought of his system of gravitation, upon seeing an apple falling from a tree.” These accounts are probably exaggerations of Sir Isaac Newton’s own tale about sitting by a window in his home (Woolsthorpe Manor) and watching an apple fall from a tree.

Various trees are claimed to be “the” apple tree which Sir Isaac Newton describes. The King’s School, Grantham, claims that the tree was purchased by the school, uprooted and transported to the headmaster’s garden some years later, the staff of the [now] National Trust-owned Woolsthorpe Manor dispute this, and claim that a tree present in their gardens is the one described by Sir Isaac Newton. A descendant of the original tree can be seen growing outside the main gate of Trinity College, Cambridge, below the room Sir Isaac Newton lived in when he studied there. The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale can supply grafts from their tree, which appears identical to Flower of Kent, a coarse-fleshed cooking variety.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February, 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England and died on 19 April, 1882 in Downe, Kent, England. Charles Darwin had expected to be buried in St Mary’s churchyard at Downe, but at the request of Charles Darwin’s colleagues, William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) arranged for Charles Darwin to be given a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Only 5 non-royal personages were granted that honour of a UK state funeral during the 19th century.

Charles Darwin was an English naturalist, who realised and demonstrated that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s, and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Charles Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology, as it provides a unifying logical explanation for the diversity of life.

Charles Darwin developed his interest in natural history while studying medicine at Edinburgh University, then theology at Cambridge. Charles Darwin’s 5-year voyage on the Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Charles Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. Charles Darwin was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.

Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. Charles Darwin examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Charles Darwin’s research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.

In recognition of Charles Darwin’s pre-eminence, he was 1 of only 5 19th century UK non-royal personages to be honoured by a state funeral, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.

Charles Robert Darwin was born in his family home, the Mount. Charles Darwin was the 5th of 6 children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin, and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). Charles Darwin was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, made a nod toward convention by having baby Charles Darwin baptised in the Anglican Church. Nonetheless, Charles Darwin and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother, and in 1817, Charles Darwin joined the day school, run by its preacher. In July of that year, when Charles Darwin was 8years old, his mother died. From September 1818, he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.

Charles Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire. In the autumn, he went with Erasmus to the University of Edinburgh to study medicine, but was revolted by the brutality of surgery and neglected his medical studies. Charles Darwin learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who told him exciting tales of the South American rainforest. This experience gave him evidence that “Negroes and Europeans” were closely related despite superficial differences in appearance.

In Charles Darwin’s 2nd year he joined the Plinian Society, a student group of natural history enthusiasts, and assisted Dr. Robert Edmund Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine animals in the Firth of Forth. In March 1827 Charles Darwin made a presentation to the Plinian of his own discovery that the black spores often found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech. Dr Edmund Grant expounded Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s theory of evolution by acquired characteristics, and the evolutionary ideas of Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus which Charles Darwin had recently read. Dr Edmund Grant found evidence for homology, the radical theory that all animals have similar organs which differ only in complexity, thus showing common descent.

Charles Darwin also joined Robert Jameson’s natural history course, learning geology including the debate between Neptunism and Plutonism, receiving training in classifying plants, and assisting with work on the extensive collections of the University Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time.

In 1827, his father, unhappy at his younger son’s lack of progress, shrewdly enrolled him in a Bachelor of Arts course at Christ’s College, Cambridge to qualify as a clergyman, expecting him to get a good income as an Anglican parson. However, Charles Darwin preferred riding and shooting to studying. Along with his cousin William Darwin Fox, he became engrossed in the craze at the time for the competitive collecting of beetles. William Darwin Fox introduced him to the Reverend John Stevens Henslow, professor of botany, for expert advice on beetles. Charles Darwin joined Henslow’s natural history course, and became known to the dons as “the man who walks with Henslow”. When exams drew near, Charles Darwin focused on his studies and received private instruction from Reverend John Stevens Henslow. Charles Darwin particularly liked the writings of William Paley, including his argument for divine design in nature, which showed adaptation arising from divine laws. In his finals in January 1831, Charles Darwin performed well in theology and, having scraped through in classics, mathematics and physics, came 10th out of a pass list of 178.

Residential requirements kept Charles Darwin at Cambridge until June. Following Reverend John Stevens Henslow’s example and advice, he was in no rush to take Holy Orders. Inspired by Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative, he planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. To prepare himself, Charles Darwin joined the geology course of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick and, in the summer, went with him to assist in mapping strata in Wales. After a fortnight with student friends at Barmouth, he returned home to find a letter from Reverend John Stevens Henslow recommending Charles Darwin as a suitable (if unfinished) naturalist for the unpaid position of gentleman’s companion to Robert FitzRoy, the captain of HMS Beagle, which was to leave in 4 weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America. Charles Darwin’s father objected to the planned 2-year voyage, regarding it as a waste of time, but was persuaded by his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood, to agree to his son’s participation.

The Beagle survey took 5 years, 2/3 of which Charles Darwin spent on land. Charles Darwin carefully noted a rich variety of geological features, fossils and living organisms, and methodically collected an enormous number of specimens, many of them new to science. At intervals during the voyage he sent specimens to Cambridge together with letters about his findings, and these established his reputation as a naturalist. Charles Darwin’s extensive detailed notes showed his gift for theorising and formed the basis for his later work. The journal he originally wrote for his family, published as The Voyage of the Beagle, summarises his findings and provides social, political and anthropological insights into the wide range of people he met, both native and colonial.

While on board the ship, Charles Darwin suffered badly from seasickness. In October 1833 he caught a fever in Argentina, and in July 1834, while returning from the Andes down to Valparaíso, he fell ill and spent a month in bed.

Before they set out, Robert FitzRoy gave Charles Darwin the 1st volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which explained landforms as the outcome of gradual processes over huge periods of time. On their 1st stop ashore at St Jago, Charles Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs consisted of baked coral fragments and shells. This matched Charles Lyell’s concept of land slowly rising or falling, giving Charles Darwin a new insight into the geological history of the island which inspired him to think of writing a book on geology. Charles Darwin went on to make many more discoveries, some of them particularly dramatic. Charles Darwin saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells in Patagonia as raised beaches, and after experiencing an earthquake in Chile saw mussel-beds stranded above high tide showing that the land had just been raised. High in the Andes he saw several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach, with seashells nearby. Charles Darwin theorised that coral atolls form on sinking volcanic mountains, and confirmed this when the Beagle surveyed the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

During the 1st year in South America, Charles Darwin made a major find of fossils of huge extinct mammals in strata with modern seashells, indicating recent extinction and no change in climate or signs of catastrophe. They included the little known Megatherium and fragments of armour which he thought looked like giant versions of the armour on local armadillos, as well as unknown species which aroused great interest when they were sent to England. After the voyage Richard Owen showed that most were closely related to living creatures exclusively found in the Americas.

As HMS Beagle surveyed the coasts of South America, Charles Darwin began to theorise about the wonders of nature around him. Charles Lyell’s 2nd volume, which argued against evolutionism and explained species distribution by “centres of creation”, was sent out to Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin puzzled over all he saw, and his ideas went beyond Charles Lyell. In Argentina, he found that 2 types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. On the Galápagos Islands he collected birds, and noted that mockingbirds differed depending on which island they came from. Charles Darwin also heard that local Spaniards could tell from their appearance on which island tortoises originated, but thought the creatures had been imported by buccaneers. In Australia, the marsupial rat-kangaroo and the platypus seemed so unusual that Charles Darwin thought it was almost as though 2 distinct Creators had been at work.

In Cape Town he and Robert FitzRoy met John Herschel, who had recently written to Charles Lyell about that “mystery of mysteries”, the origin of species. When organising his notes on the return journey, Charles Darwin wrote that if his growing suspicions about the mockingbirds, the tortoises and the Falkland Island William Darwin Fox were correct, “such facts undermine the stability of Species”, then cautiously added “would” before “undermine”. Charles Darwin later wrote that such facts “seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species”.

3 natives who had been taken from Tierra del Fuego on the Beagle’s previous voyage were taken back there to become missionaries. They had become “civilised” in England over the previous 2 years, yet their relatives appeared to Charles Darwin to be “miserable, degraded savages”. A year on, the mission had been abandoned and only Jemmy Button spoke with them to say he preferred his harsh previous way of life and did not want to return to England. Because of this experience, Charles Darwin came to think that humans were not as far removed from animals as his friends then believed, and saw differences as relating to cultural advances towards civilisation rather than being racial. Charles Darwin detested the slavery he saw elsewhere in South America, and was saddened by the effects of European settlement on Aborigines in Australia and Maori in New Zealand.

Towards the end of the voyage Captain Roger FitzRoy began writing the official Narrative of the Beagle voyages, and after reading Charles Darwin’s diary he proposed incorporating it into the account. Charles Darwin agreed to rewrite his Journal to provide a separate 3rd volume, on natural history.

While Charles Darwin was still on the voyage, Revrend John Stevens Henslow fostered his former pupil’s reputation by giving selected naturalists access to the fossil specimens and a pamphlet of Charles Darwin’s geological letters. When the Beagle returned on 2 October 1836, Charles Darwin was a celebrity in scientific circles. After visiting his home in Shrewsbury and seeing relatives, Charles Darwin hurried to Cambridge to see Revrend John Stevens Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to describe and catalogue the collections, and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Charles Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Charles Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking experts to describe the collections. Zoologists had a huge backlog of work, and there was a danger of specimens just being left in storage.

An eager Charles Lyell met Charles Darwin for the first time on 29 October and soon introduced him to the up-and-coming anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons at his disposal to work on the fossil bones collected by Charles Darwin. Richard Owen’s surprising results included gigantic extinct sloths including a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium, a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara, and armour fragments from a huge armadillo (Glyptodon), as Charles Darwin had initially surmised. These extinct creatures were closely related to living species in South America.

In mid-December, Charles Darwin moved to Cambridge to organise work on his collections and rewrite his Journal. Charles Darwin wrote his 1st paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and with Charles Lyell’s enthusiastic backing read it to the Geological Society of London on 4 January 1837. On the same day, he presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon revealed that the Galapagos birds that Charles Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, 12 separate species of finches. On 17 February 1837, Charles Darwin was elected to the Council of the Geographical Society, and in his presidential address, Charles Lyell presented Richard Owen’s findings on Charles Darwin’s fossils, stressing geographical continuity of species as supporting his uniformitarian ideas.

Charles Darwin’s 1st sketch of an evolutionary tree from his 1st Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837)On 6 March 1837, Charles Darwin moved to London to be close to this work, and joined the social whirl around scientists and savants such as Charles Babbage, who thought that God preordained life by natural laws rather than ad hoc miraculous creations. Charles Darwin lived near his freethinking brother Erasmus, who was part of this Whig circle and whose close friend the writer Harriet Martineau promoted the ideas of Thomas Malthus underlying the Whig “Poor Law reforms” aimed at discouraging the poor from breeding beyond available food supplies. John Herschel’s question on the origin of species was widely discussed. Medical men even joined Grant in endorsing transmutation of species, but to Charles Darwin’s scientist friends such radical heresy attacked the divine basis of the social order already under threat from recession and riots.

John Gould now revealed that the Galapagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and the “wrens” were yet another species of finches. Darwin had not kept track of which islands the finch specimens were from, but found information from the notes of others on the Beagle, including FitzRoy, who had more carefully recorded their own collections. The zoologist Thomas Bell showed that the Galápagos tortoises were native to the islands. By mid-March, Charles Darwin was convinced that creatures arriving in the islands had become altered in some way to form new species on the different islands, and investigated transmutation while noting his speculations in his “Red Notebook” which he had begun on the Beagle. In mid-July, he began his secret “B” notebook on transmutation, and on page 36 wrote “I think” above his 1st sketch of an evolutionary tree.

As well as launching into this intensive study of transmutation, Charles Darwin became mired in more work. While still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Revrend John Stevens Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. Charles Darwin agreed to unrealistic dates for this and for a book on South American Geology supporting Charles Lyell’s ideas. Charles Darwin finished writing his Journal around 20 June 1837 just as Queen Victoria came to the throne, but then had its proofs to correct.

Charles Darwin’s health suffered from the pressure. On 20 September 1837, he had “palpitations of the heart”. On doctor’s advice that a month of recuperation was needed, he went to Shrewsbury then on to visit his Wedgwood relatives at Maer Hall, but found them too eager for tales of his travels to give him much rest. Charles Darwin’s charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin Emma Wedgwood, 9 months older than Charles Darwin, was nursing his invalid aunt. Charles Darwin’s uncle Jos pointed out an area of ground where cinders had disappeared under loam and suggested that this might have been the work of earthworms. This inspired a talk which Charles Darwin gave to the Geological Society on 1 November, the 1st demonstration of the role of earthworms in soil formation.

William Whewell pushed Charles Darwin to take on the duties of Secretary of the Geological Society. After first declining this extra work, he accepted the post in March 1838. Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, remarkable progress was made on transmutation. Charles Darwin took every opportunity to question expert naturalists and, unconventionally, people with practical experience such as farmers and pigeon fanciers. Over time his research drew on information from his relatives and children, the family butler, neighbours, colonists and former shipmates. Charles Darwin included mankind in his speculations from the outset, and on seeing an ape in the zoo on 28 March 1838 noted its child-like behaviour.

The strain took its toll, and by June he was being laid up for days on end with stomach problems, headaches and heart symptoms. For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress, such as when attending meetings or dealing with controversy over his theory. The cause of Charles Darwin’s illness was unknown during his lifetime, and attempts at treatment had little success. Recent attempts at diagnosis have suggested Chagas disease caught from insect bites in South America, Ménière’s disease, or various psychological illnesses as possible causes, without any conclusive results.

On 23 June 1838, he took a break from the pressure of work and went “geologising” in Scotland. Charles Darwin visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at 3 heights. Charles Darwin thought that these were marine raised beaches: they were later shown to have been shorelines of a proglacial lake.

Fully recuperated, he returned to Shrewsbury in July. Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about career and prospects on 2 scraps of paper, 1 with columns headed “Marry” and “Not Marry”. Advantages included “constant companion and a friend in old age … better than a dog anyhow”, against points such as “less money for books” and “terrible loss of time.” Having decided in favour, he discussed it with his father, then went to visit Emma on 29 July 1838. Charles Darwin did not get around to proposing, but against his father’s advice he mentioned his ideas on transmutation.

Continuing his research in London, Charles Darwin’s wide reading now included the 6th edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population

In October 1838, that is, 15 months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work…

Malthus asserted that unless human population is kept in check, it increases in a geometrical progression and soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. Charles Darwin was well prepared to see at once that this also applied to de Candolle’s “warring of the species” of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. As species always breed beyond available resources, favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, while unfavourable variations would be lost. This would result in the formation of new species. On 28 September 1838 he noted this insight, describing it as a kind of wedging, forcing adapted structures into gaps in the economy of nature as weaker structures were thrust out. Over the following months he compared farmers picking the best breeding stock to a Malthusian Nature selecting from variants thrown up by “chance” so that “every part of [every] newly acquired structure is fully practised and perfected”, and thought this analogy “the most beautiful part of my theory”.

On 11 November, he returned to Maer and proposed to Emma, once more telling her his ideas. Emma accepted, then in exchanges of loving letters she showed how she valued his openness, but her upbringing as a very devout Anglican led her to express fears that his lapses of faith could endanger her hopes to meet in the afterlife.

While he was house-hunting in London, bouts of illness continued and Emma wrote urging him to get some rest, almost prophetically remarking “So don’t be ill any more my dear Charley till I can be with you to nurse you.” Charles Darwin found what they called “Macaw Cottage” (because of its gaudy interiors) in Gower Street, then moved his “museum” in over Christmas. The marriage was arranged for 24 January 1839, but the Wedgwoods set the date back. On the 24th, Charles Darwin was honoured by being elected as Fellow of the Royal Society.

On 29 January 1839, Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in an Anglican ceremony arranged to suit the Unitarians, then immediately caught the train to London and their new home.

Charles Darwin’s research subsequently included animal husbandry and extensive experiments with plants, investigating many detailed ideas and finding evidence that species were not fixed to convince sceptical naturalists. For more than a decade this work was in the background to his main occupation, publication of the scientific results of the Beagle voyage.

When Robert FitzRoy’s Narrative was published in May 1839, Charles Darwin’s Journal and Remarks (The Voyage of the Beagle) as the 3rd volume was such a success that later that year it was published on its own.

Early in 1842, Charles Darwin sent a letter about his ideas to Charles Lyell, who was dismayed that his ally now denied “seeing a beginning to each crop of species”. In May, Charles Darwin’s book on coral reefs was published after more than 3 years of work, and he then wrote a “pencil sketch” of his theory. To escape the pressures of London, the family moved to rural Down House in November. On 11 January 1844 Charles Darwin mentioned his theorising to the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, writing with melodramatic humour “it is like confessing a murder”. To his relief, Joseph Dalton Hooker replied “There may in my opinion have been a series of productions on different spots, & also a gradual change of species. I shall be delighted to hear how you think that this change may have taken place, as no presently conceived opinions satisfy me on the subject.”

By July, Charles Darwin had expanded his “sketch” into a 230-page “Essay”, to be expanded with his research results if he died prematurely. Charles Darwin was shocked in November to find many of his arguments anticipated in the anonymously published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, though it lacked any convincing explanation for transmutation. The book was amateurish and he scorned its geology and anatomy, but as a best-seller it widened middle-class interest in transmutation, paving the way for Charles Darwin as well as reminding him of the need to counter all arguments.

Charles Darwin completed his 3rd geological book in 1846, and turned in relief to dissecting and classifying the barnacles he had collected, using his new ideas of common descent, and the anatomy he had learnt as Dr. Robert Edmund Grant’s student. In 1847, Joseph Dalton Hooker read the “Essay” and sent notes that provided Charles Darwin with the calm critical feedback that he needed, but would not commit himself and questioned Charles Darwin’s opposition to continuing acts of creation.

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Charles Darwin went in 1849 to Dr. James Gully’s Malvern spa and was surprised to find some benefit from hydrotherapy. Then in 1851 his treasured daughter Annie fell ill, reawakening his fears that his illness might be hereditary. After a long series of crises, she died and Charles Darwin’s faith in Christianity dwindled away.

In 8 years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Charles Darwin found “homologies” that supported his theory by showing that slightly changed body parts could serve different functions to meet new conditions. In 1853 it earned him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist. Charles Darwin resumed work on his theory of species in 1854, and in November realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to “diversified places in the economy of nature”.

By the start of 1856, Charles Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Joseph Dalton Hooker increasingly doubted the traditional view that species were fixed, but their young friend Thomas Henry Huxley was firmly against evolution. Charles Lyell was intrigued by Charles Darwin’s speculations without realising their extent. When he read a paper by Alfred Russel Wallace on the Introduction of species, he saw similarities with Charles Darwin’s thoughts and urged him to publish to establish precedence. Though Charles Darwin saw no threat, he began work on a short paper. Finding answers to difficult questions held him up repeatedly, and he expanded his plans to a “big book on species” titled Natural Selection. Charles Darwin continued his researches, obtaining information and specimens from naturalists worldwide including Alfred Russel Wallace who was working in Borneo. In December 1857, Charles Darwin received a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace asking if the book would examine human origins. Charles Darwin responded that he would avoid that subject, “so surrounded with prejudices”, while encouraging Alfred Russel Wallace’s theorising and adding that “I go much further than you.”

Charles Darwin’s book was half way when, on 18 June 1858, he received a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace describing natural selection. Shocked that he had been “forestalled”, Charles Darwin sent it on to Charles Lyell, as requested, and, though Alfred Russel Wallace had not asked for publication, he suggested he would send it to any journal that Alfred Russell Wallace chose. Charles Darwin’s family was in crisis with children in the village dying of scarlet fever, and he put matters in the hands of Charles Lyell and Joseph Dalton Hooker. They decided on a joint presentation at the Linnean Society on 1 July of On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection; however, Charles Darwin’s baby son died of the scarlet fever and he was too distraught to attend.

There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory; after the paper was published in the August journal of the society, it was reprinted in several magazines and there were some reviews and letters, but the president of the Linnean remarked in May 1859 that the year had not been marked by any revolutionary discoveries. Only one review rankled enough for Charles Darwin to recall it later; Professor Samuel Haughton of Dublin claimed that “all that was new in them was false, and what was true was old.” Charles Darwin struggled for 13 months to produce an abstract of his “big book”, suffering from ill health but getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends. Charles Lyell arranged to have it published by John Murray.

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (usually abbreviated to On the Origin of Species) proved unexpectedly popular, with the entire stock of 1,250 copies oversubscribed when it went on sale to booksellers on 22 November 1859. In the book, Charles Darwin set out “one long argument” of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections. Charles Darwin’s only allusion to human evolution was the understatement that “light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history”.

Charles Darwin’s theory is simply stated in the introduction:

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.

Charles Darwin put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term “evolution”, and at the end of the book concluded that;

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

As “Darwinism” became widely accepted in the 1870s, amusing cariacatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

There was wide public interest in Charles Darwin’s book and a controversy which he monitored closely, keeping press cuttings of reviews, articles, satires, parodies and caricatures. Charles Darwin had carefully said no more than “Light will be thrown on the origin of man”, but the 1st review claimed it made a creed of the “men from monkeys” idea already controversial from Vestiges. Amongst favourable responses were Thomas Henry Huxley’s reviews which included swipes at Richard Owen, leader of the scientific establishment Thomas Henry Huxley was trying to overthrow, and when Richard Owen’s review appeared it joined those that condemned the book.

The Church of England scientific establishment, including Charles Darwin’s old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow, reacted against the book, though it was well received by liberal clergymen who interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design, with the cleric Charles Kingsley seeing it as “just as noble a conception of Deity”. In 1860, the publication of Essays and Reviews by 7 liberal Anglican theologians diverted clerical attention from Charles Darwin, with its ideas including higher criticism attacked by church authorities as heresy. It included Baden Powell’s argument that miracles broke God’s laws, so belief in them was atheistic, and his praise for “Mr Darwin’s masterly volume [supporting] the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature”.

The most famous confrontation took place at the public 1860 Oxford evolution debate during a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Professor John William Draper delivered a long lecture about Charles Darwin and social progress. The Bishop of Oxford Samuel Wilberforce, who was not opposed to transmutation, then argued against Charles Darwin’s explanation. In the ensuing debate Joseph Hooker argued strongly for Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley established himself as “Darwin’s bulldog” – the fiercest defender of evolutionary theory on the Victorian stage. Both sides came away feeling victorious, but Thomas Huxley went on to make much of his claim that on being asked by Wilberforce whether he was descended from monkeys on his grandfather’s side or his grandmother’s side, Thomas Huxley muttered: “The Lord has delivered him into my hands” and replied that he “would rather be descended from an ape than from a cultivated man who used his gifts of culture and eloquence in the service of prejudice and falsehood”. Thomas Huxley portrayed a polarisation between religion and science and used Charles Darwinism to campaign against the authority of the clergy in education.

Charles Darwin’s illness kept him away from the public debates, though he read eagerly about them and mustered support through correspondence. Asa Gray persuaded a publisher in the United States to pay royalties, and Charles Darwin imported and distributed Asa Gray’s pamphlet Natural Selection is not inconsistent with Natural Theology. In Britain, friends including Joseph Hooker and Charles Lyell took part in the scientific debates which Thomas Henry Huxley pugnaciously led to overturn the dominance of clergymen and aristocratic amateurs under Roger Owen in favour of a new generation of professional scientists. Roger Owen mistakenly claimed certain anatomical differences between ape and human brains, and accused Thomas Henry Huxley of advocating “Ape Origin of Man”. Thomas Henry Huxley gladly did just that, and his campaign over two years was devastatingly successful in ousting Roger Owen and the “old guard”. Darwin’s friends formed The X Club and helped to gain him the honour of the Royal Society’s Copley Medal in 1864.

Broader public interest had already been stimulated by Vestiges, and the Origin of Species was translated into many languages and went through numerous reprints, becoming a staple scientific text accessible both to a newly curious middle class and to “working men” who flocked to Thomas Henry Huxley’s lectures. Charles Darwin’s theory also resonated with various movements at the time and became a key fixture of popular culture.

Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last 22 years of his life, Charles Darwin pressed on with his work. Charles Darwin had published an abstract of his theory, but more controversial aspects of his “big book” were still incomplete, including explicit evidence of humankind’s descent from earlier animals, and exploration of possible causes underlying the development of society and of human mental abilities. Charles Darwin had yet to explain features with no obvious utility other than decorative beauty. Charles Darwin’s experiments, research and writing continued.

When Charles Darwin’s daughter fell ill, he set aside his experiments with seedlings and domestic animals to accompany her to a seaside resort where he became interested in wild orchids. This developed into an innovative study of how their beautiful flowers served to control insect pollination and ensure cross fertilisation. As with the barnacles, homologous parts served different functions in different species. Back at home, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with experiments on climbing plants. A reverent Ernst Haeckel who had spread a version of Darwinismus in Germany visited him. Alfred Russel Wallace remained supportive, though he increasingly turned to Spiritualism.

Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication, the 1st part of Charles Darwin’s planned “big book” (expanding on his “abstract” published as The Origin of Species), grew to 2 huge volumes, forcing him to leave out human evolution and sexual selection, and sold briskly despite its size. A further book of evidence, dealing with natural selection in the same style, was largely written, but remained unpublished until transcribed in 1975.

The question of human evolution had been taken up by his supporters (and detractors) shortly after the publication of The Origin of Species, but Charles Darwin’s own contribution to the subject came more than 10 years later with the 2-volume The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex published in 1871. In the 2nd volume, Charles Darwin introduced in full his concept of sexual selection to explain the evolution of human culture, the differences between the human sexes, and the differentiation of human races, as well as the beautiful (and seemingly non-adaptive) plumage of birds. A year later Charles Darwin published his last major work, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which focused on the evolution of human psychology and its continuity with the behaviour of animals. Charles Darwin developed his ideas that the human mind and cultures were developed by natural and sexual selection, an approach which has been revived in the last 3 decades with the emergence of evolutionary psychology. As he concluded in Descent of Man, Charles Darwin felt that, despite all of humankind’s “noble qualities” and “exalted powers”: “Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”

Charles Darwin’s evolution-related experiments and investigations culminated in books on the movement of climbing plants, insectivorous plants, the effects of cross and self fertilisation of plants, different forms of flowers on plants of the same species, and The Power of Movement in Plants. In his last book, he returned to the effect earthworms have on soil formation.

Charles Darwin and his eldest son William Erasmus Darwin in 1842.

Charles Darwin’s Children:

William Erasmus Darwin (27 December 1839–1914)

Anne Elizabeth Darwin (2 March 1841–22 April 1851)

Mary Eleanor Darwin (23 September 1842–16 October 1842)

Henrietta Emma “Etty” Darwin (25 September 1843–1929)

George Howard Darwin (9 July 1845–7 December 1912)

Elizabeth “Bessy” Darwin (8 July 1847–1926)

Francis Darwin (16 August 1848–19 September 1925)

Leonard Darwin (15 January 1850–26 March 1943)

Horace Darwin (13 May 1851–29 September 1928)

Charles Waring Darwin (6 December 1856–28 June 1858)

The Darwin had 10 children: 2 died in infancy, and Annie’s death at the age of 10 had a devastating effect on her parents. Charles Darwin was a devoted father and uncommonly attentive to his children. Whenever they fell ill he feared that they might have inherited weaknesses from inbreeding due to the close family ties he shared with his wife and cousin, Emma Wedgwood. Charles Darwin examined this topic in his writings, contrasting it with the advantages of crossing amongst many organisms. Despite his fears, most of the surviving children went on to have distinguished careers as notable members of the prominent Darwin-Wedgwood family.

Of his surviving children, George, Francis and Horace became Fellows of the Royal Society, distinguished as astronomer, botanist and civil engineer, respectively. Charles Darwin’s son Leonard, on the other hand, went on to be a soldier, politician, economist, eugenicist and mentor of the statistician and evolutionary biologist Ronald Fisher.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson was born on 6 January 1955 in Consett, County Durham. Rowan Atkinson is an English comedian, actor and writer, famous for his title roles in the British television comedies Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line, and Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson has been listed in The Observer as 1 of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, and amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians.

Rowan Atkinson’s parents were Eric Atkinson, a farmer and company director, and his wife Ella May (née Bambridge), who married on 29 June 1945. Rowan Atkinson has 2 elder brothers, Rodney Atkinson, a eurosceptic economist who narrowly lost the United Kingdom Independence Party leadership election in 2000, and Rupert Atkinson.

Rowan Atkinson was raised Anglican. Rowan Atkinson was educated at Durham Choristers School, followed by St Bees School, and studied electrical engineering at Newcastle University. Rowan Atkinson continued with an MSc at The Queen’s College, Oxford, first achieving notice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1976. At Oxford, he also acted and performed early sketches for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), the Oxford Revue and the Experimental Theatre Club (ETC), meeting writer Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, with whom he would continue to collaborate during his career.

After he went to university, Rowan Atkinson toured with Angus Deayton as his straight man in an act that was eventually filmed for a television show. After the success of the show, he did a one-off pilot for ITV in 1979 called Canned Laughter. Rowan Atkinson then went on to do Not the Nine O’Clock News, produced by his friend John Lloyd. Rowan Atkinson starred on the show along with Pamela Stephenson, Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, and was one of the main sketch writers.

The success of Not the Nine O’Clock News led to his starring in the medieval sitcom The Black Adder, which he also co-wrote with Richard Curtis, in 1983. Despite a mixed reception, a 2nd series was written, this time by Curtis and Ben Elton, and 1st screened in 1985. Blackadder II followed the fortunes of one of the descendants of Rowan Atkinson’s original character, this time in the Elizabethan era. The same pattern was repeated in 2 sequels Blackadder the 3rd (1987) (set in the Regency era), and Blackadder Goes 4th(1989) (set in World War I). The Blackadder series went on to become one of the most successful BBC situation comedies of all time, spawning television specials including Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988) and Blackadder: The Cavalier Years (1988).

Rowan Atkinson’s other famous creation, the hapless Mr. Bean, 1st appeared on New Years Day in 1990 in a 30 special for Thames Television. The character of Mr. Bean has been likened somewhat to a modern-day Charlie Chaplin. During this time, Rowan Atkinson appeared at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal in 1987 and 1989. Several sequels to Mr. Bean appeared on television in the 1990s, and it eventually made into a major motion picture in 1997. Entitled Bean, it was directed by Mel Smith, his former co-star from Not the Nine O’Clock News. A 2nd movie was released in 2007 entitled Mr. Bean’s Holiday.

Rowan Atkinson has fronted campaigns for Hitachi electrical goods, Fujifilm, and Give Blood. Most famously, he appeared as a hapless and error-prone espionage agent in a long-running series for Barclaycard, on which character his title role in Johnny English was based. In May 2008 he appeared in the BBC documentary series Comedy Map of Britain.

Rowan Atkinson’s film career began in 1983 with a supporting part in the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again and a leading role in Dead on Time with Nigel Hawthorne. Rowan Atkinsappeared in former Not the Nine O’Clock News co-star Mel Smith’s directorial debut The Tall Guy in 1989. He also appeared alongside Anjelica Huston and Mai Zetterling in Roald Dahl’s The Witches in 1990. In 1993 he played the part of Dexter Hayman in Hot Shots! Part Deux, a parody of Rambo III starring Sylvester Stallone.

Rowan Atkinson, with his turn as a verbally bumbling vicar, gained further recognition in the 1994 hit 4 Weddings and a Funeral. That same year he featured in Walt Disney’s The Lion King as Zazu the Hornbill. Rowan Atkinson continued to appear in supporting roles in successful comedies, including Rat Race (2001), Scooby-Doo
(2002), and Love Actually (2003).

In addition to his supporting roles, Rowan Atkinson has also had success as a leading man. Rowan Atkinson’s television character Mr. Bean debuted on the big screen in 1997 with Bean to international success. A sequel, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, was released in March 2007 and may be the last time he plays the character. Rowan Atkinson has also starred in the James Bond parody Johnny English in 2003. Keeping Mum (2005, released in the U.S. in 2006) was a departure for Rowan Atkinson, starring in a straight role.

One of his better-known trademark comic devices is over-articulation of the “B” sound, such as his pronunciation of “Bob” in a Blackadder episode.

Rowan Atkinson’s style is often visually-based. This visual style, which has been compared to Charlie Chaplin, sets Rowan Atkinson apart as most modern television and film comedies rely heavily on dialogue, and stand-up comedy is mostly based on monologues. This talent for visual comedy has led to Rowan Atkinson being called “the man with the rubber face”.

In early 2008 it was confirmed that Rowan Atkinson would fulfil a lifelong ambition and take on the role of Fagin in Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! which will be produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh. Rowan Atkinson was quoted as saying, “In the 1980s I enjoyed doing a lot of West End theatre and since then have been distracted very much by Mr Bean and film-making. I had been thinking for some time about returning to the stage, and the idea of the role of Fagin has long intrigued me. I even had the part in a school production.” The production will open in early December 2008. The roles of Nancy and Oliver were selected by the British public in a TV reality competition on the show. Jodie Prenger.

Rowan Atkinson married Sunetra Sastry in 1990, having met her professionally on the set of Blackadder. They married quietly at the Russian Tea Room in New York City, U.S., with Stephen Fry acting as the best man. The couple have 2 children, Lily and Benjamin, and live in England in the Northamptonshire village of Apethorpe.

In June 2005, Rowan Atkinson led a coalition of the UK’s most prominent actors and writers, including Nicholas Hytner, Stephen Fry and Ian McEwan, to the British Parliament in an attempt to force a review of the controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Bill — on the grounds that the bill would give religious groups a “weapon of disproportionate power” whose threat would engender a culture of self-censorship among artists.

With an estimated wealth of £100,000,000, Rowan Atkinson is able to indulge his passion for cars that began with driving his mother’s Morris Minor around the family farm. Rowan Atkinson has written for the British magazines Car and Evo.

Rowan Atkinson also holds a UK LGV licence, gained because lorries held a fascination for him, and to ensure employment as a young actor.

A lover of and participant in car racing, he appeared as racing driver Henry Birkin in the television play Full Throttle in 1995. In 1991, he starred in the self-penned The Driven Man, a series of sketches featuring Rowan Atkinson driving around London trying to solve his car-fetish, and discussing it with taxi drivers, policemen, used-car salesmen and psychotherapists.

Rowan Atkinson’s car collection is dominated by Aston Martins, including the DB7 Vantage used in Johnny English. Rowan Atkinson’s Aston Martin V8 Zagato, featuring a novelty registration plate, was driven by his character Dexter in the film The Tall Guy. Rowan Atkinson was cited for speeding in the car, just as his character was in the movie. Rowan Atkinson also received a driving ban as a result of the incident. Rowan Atkinson also races in his V8 Zagato, from which he escaped unhurt after crashing it into a barrier at an Aston Martin Owners Club event in Croft Circuit in 2001. Rowan Atkinson is reported to have placed an advanced order for a Morgan Aero Max, which costs £110,000.

Rowan Atkinson has raced in other cars, including a Renault 5 GT Turbo for 2 seasons for its 1 make series. Rowan Atkinson owns one McLaren F1, which was involved in an accident with an Austin Metro. Other cars he owns include an Audi A8, and a Honda Civic Hybrid.

The Conservative Party politician Alan Clark, himself a devotee of classic motor cars, recorded in his published Diaries this chance meeting with a man he later realised was Rowan Atkinson while driving through Oxfordshire in May 1984: “Just after leaving the motorway at Thame I noticed a dark red DBS V8 Aston Martin on the slip road with the bonnet up, a man unhappily bending over it. I told Jane to pull in and walked back. A DV8 in trouble is always good for a gloat.” Alan Clark writes that he gave Rowan Atkinson a lift in his Rolls Royce to the nearest telephone box, but was disappointed in his bland reaction to being recognised, noting that: “he didn’t sparkle, was rather disappointing and chetif.”

1 car Rowan Atkinson will not own is a Porsche: “I have a problem with Porsches. They’re wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people — and I wish them no ill — are not, I feel, my kind of people. I don’t go around saying that Porsches are a pile of dung, but I do know that psychologically I couldn’t handle owning one.”

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Joe Meek

Joe Meek was born Robert George Meek on 5 April 1929 and died on 3 February 1967 in London. Joe Meek was a pioneering English record producer and songwriter acknowledged as 1 of the world’s 1st and most imaginative independent producers.

Joe Meek’s most famous work was The Tornados’ hit “Telstar” (1962), which became the 1st record by a British group to hit #1 in the US Hot 100. It also spent 5 weeks atop the UK singles chart, with Joe Meek receiving an Ivor Novello Award for this production as the “Best-Selling A-Side” of 1962.

Joe Meek’s other notable hit productions include “Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O” and “Cumberland Gap” by Lonnie Donegan (as engineer), “Johnny Remember Me” by John Leyton, “Just Like Eddie” by Heinz, “Angela Jones” by Michael Cox and “Have I the Right?” by The Honeycombs, “Tribute to Buddy Holly” by Mike Berry. Joe Meek’s concept album I Hear a New World is regarded as a watershed in modern music for its innovative use of electronic sounds.

Joe Meek was also producing music for films, most notably Live It Up! (US title Sing and Swing), a 1963 pop music film starring Heinz Burt, David Hemmings and Steve Marriott, also featuring Gene Vincent, Jenny Moss, The Outlaws, Kim Roberts, Kenny Ball, Patsy Ann Noble and others. Joe Meek wrote most of the songs and incidental music, much of which was recorded by The Saints and produced by Joe Meek.

Joe Meek’s commercial success as a producer was short-lived and Joe Meek gradually sank into debt and depression. On 3 February 1967, using a shotgun owned by musician Heinz Burt, Joe Meek murdered his landlady before turning the gun on himself. Aged only 37, he died 8 years to the day after his hero, Buddy Holly.

A stint in the Royal Air Force as a radar operator spurred a life-long interest in electronics and outer space. From 1953 he worked for the Midlands Electricity Board. Joe Meek used the resources of his company to develop his interest in electronics and music production, including acquiring a disc cutter and producing his 1st record.

Joe Meek left the electricity board to work as a sound engineer for a leading independent radio production company that made programmes for Radio Luxembourg, and made his breakthrough with his work on Ivy Benson’s Music for Lonely Lovers. Joe Meek’s technical ingenuity was 1st shown on the Humphrey Lyttelton jazz single “Bad Penny Blues” (Parlophone Records, 1956) when, contrary to Humphrey Lyttleton’s wishes, he ‘modified’ the sound of the piano and compressed the sound to a greater than normal extent. The record became a hit. Joe Meek then put enormous effort into Dennis Preston’s Landsdowne Studio but tensions between Dennis Preston and Joe Meek soon saw Joe Meek forced out.

In January 1960, together with William Barrington-Coupe, Joe Meek founded Triumph Records. The label very nearly had a #1 hit with Joe Meek’s production of Angela Jones by Michael Cox. Michael Cox was one of the featured singers on Jack Good’s TV music show Boy Meets Girls and the song was given massive promotion. Unfortunately, Triumph Records, being an independent label, was at the mercy of small pressing plants, who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep up with sales demands. The record made a respectable appearance in the Top Ten, but it proved that Joe Meek needed the muscle of the major companies to get his records into the shops when it mattered.

Despite an interesting catalogue of Joe Meek productions, indifferent business results and Joe Meek proving difficult to work with eventually led to the label’s demise. Joe Meek would later license many of the Triumph recordings to labels such as Top Rank and Pye.

That year Joe Meek conceived, wrote and produced an “Outer Space Music Fantasy”‘ concept album I Hear A New World with a band called Rod Freeman & The Blue Men. The album was shelved for decades, apart from some EP tracks taken from it.

Joe Meek went on to set up his own production company known as RGM Sound Ltd (later Meeksville Sound Ltd) with toy importer, ‘Major’ Wilfred Alonzo Banks as his financial backer. Joe Meek operated from his now-legendary home studio which he constructed at 304 Holloway Road, Islington, a 3-floor flat above a leather-goods store (currently empty).

Joe Meeks’ 1st hit from Holloway Road was a UK #1 smash: John Leyton’s Johnny Remember Me (1961). This memorable “death ditty” was cleverly promoted by John Leyton’s manager, expatriate Australian entrepreneur Robert Stigwood. Robert Stigwood was able to get John Leyton to perform the song in several episodes of the popular TV soap opera Harpers West One in which he was making a series of guest appearances. Joe Meek’s 3rd UK #1 and last major success was with The Honeycombs’ Have I The Right? in 1964, which also became a No.5 hit on the American Billboard pop charts. The success of John Leyton’s recordings was instrumental in establishing Robert Stigwood and Joe Meek as 2 of Britain’s 1st independent record producers.

When his landlords, who lived downstairs, felt that the noise was too much, they would indicate so with a broom on the ceiling. Joe Meek would signal his contempt by placing loudspeakers in the stairwell and turning up the volume.

A blue plaque has since been placed at the location of the studio to commemorate Joe Meek’s life and work.

Joe Meek was obsessed with the occult and the idea of “the other side”. Joe Meek would set up tape machines in graveyards in a vain attempt to record voices from beyond the grave, in one instance capturing the meows of a cat he claimed was speaking in human tones, asking for help. In particular, he had an obsession with Buddy Holly (claiming the late American rocker had communicated with him in dreams) and other dead rock and roll musicians.

Joe Meek’s professional efforts were often hindered by his paranoia (Joe Meek was convinced that Decca Records would put hidden microphones behind his wallpaper in order to steal his ideas), drug use and attacks of rage or depression. Upon receiving an apparently innocent phone call from Phil Spector, Joe Meek immediately accused Phil Spector of stealing his ideas before hanging up angrily.

Joe Meek’s homosexuality – illegal in the UK at the time – put him under further pressure; he had been charged with “importuning for immoral purposes” in 1963 and was consequently subjected to blackmail. In January of 1967, police in Tattingstone, Suffolk, discovered a suitcase containing the mutilated body of Bernard Oliver, an alleged rent boy who had previously associated with Joe Meek. According to some accounts, Joe Meek became concerned that he would be implicated in the murder investigation when the Metropolitan police stated that they would be interviewing all known homosexuals in the city.

In the meantime, the hits had dried up and as Joe Meek’s financial position became increasingly desperate, his depression deepened. On 3 February, 1967, the 8th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, Joe Meek killed his landlady Violet Shenton and then himself with a single barreled shotgun that he had confiscated from his protegé, former Tornados bassist and solo star Heinz Burt at his Holloway Road home/studio. Joe Meek had flown into a rage and taken the gun from Heinz Burt when he informed Joe Meek that he used it while on tour to shoot birds. Joe Meek had kept the gun under his bed, along with some cartridges. As the shotgun had been registered to Heinz Burt, he was questioned intensively by police, before being eliminated from their enquiries.

Joe Meek was subsequently buried in plot 99 at Newent Cemetery in Newent, Gloucestershire. Joe Meek’s black granite tombstone can be found near the middle of the cemetery.

Despite not being able to play a musical instrument or write notation, Joe Meek displayed a remarkable facility for writing and producing successful commercial recordings. In writing songs he was reliant on musicians such as Dave Adams, Geoff Goddard or Charles Blackwell to transcribe melodies from his vocal “demos”. Joe Meek worked on 245 singles, of which 45 were major hits (top 50 or better).

Joe Meek pioneered studio tools such as multiple over-dubbing on 1 and 2 track machines, close miking, direct input of bass guitars, the compressor, and effects like echo and reverb, as well as sampling. Unlike other producers, his search was for the ‘right’ sound rather than for a catchy musical tune, and throughout his brief career he single-mindedly followed his quest to create a unique “sonic signature” for every record he produced.

At a time when many studio engineers were still wearing white coats and assiduously trying to maintain clarity and fidelity, Joe Meek, the maverick, was producing everything on the 3 floors of his “home” studio and was never afraid to distort or manipulate the sound if it created the effect he was seeking. For Johnny Remember Me he placed the violins on the stairs, the drummer almost in the bathroom, and the brass section on a different floor entirely.

Joe Meek was 1 of the 1st producers to grasp and fully exploit the possibilities of the modern recording studio. Joe Meek’s innovative techniques — physically separating instruments, treating instruments and voices with echo and reverb, processing the sound through his fabled home-made electronic devices, the combining of separately-recorded performances and segments into a painstakingly constructed composite recording — comprised a major breakthrough in sound production. Up to that time, the standard technique for pop, jazz and classical recordings alike was to record all the performers in one studio, playing together in real time, a legacy of the days before magnetic tape, when performances were literally cut live, directly onto disc.

Joe Meek’s style was also substantially different from that of his contemporary Phil Spector, who typically created his famous “Wall of sound” productions by making live recordings of large ensembles that used multiples of major instruments like bass, guitar and piano to create the complex sonic backgrounds for his singers.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com  more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share

Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett was born Roger Keith Barrett; on 6 January 1946 and died on 7 July 2006. Syd Barrett was an English singer, songwriter, guitarist and artist. Syd Barrett is most remembered as a founding member of British psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd, providing major musical and stylistic direction in their early work, although he left the group in 1968 amidst speculations of mental illness exacerbated by heavy drug use.

Syd Barrett was active as a rock musician for about 7 years, recording 2 albums with Pink Floyd and 2 solo albums before going into self-imposed seclusion lasting more than 30 years. Syd Barrett’s post–rock band life was as an artist and keen gardener, ending with his death in 2006, and a number of biographies have been written about him since the 1980s. During his withdrawal from public life there were numerous speculative, although largely appreciative works about him, most notably his former band Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here.

Syd Barrett was born in the English city of Cambridge to a middle-class family. Syd Barrett’s father, Arthur Max Barrett, was a prominent pathologist, and both he and his wife, Winifred, encouraged the young Roger (as he was known then) in his music. When Syd Barrett was 3 years old, his family moved to 183 Hills Road. After his brothers and sisters left home, his mother rented out rooms to lodgers, including a future Prime Minister of Japan. Syd Barrett acquired the nickname “Syd” at the age of 14, a reference to an old local Cambridge jazz drummer, Sid Barrett. Syd Barrett changed the spelling in order to differentiate himself from his namesake. Syd Barrett’s father died of cancer on 11 December, 1961, less than a month before Syd Barrett’s 16th birthday. Syd Barrett attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, now known as Hills Road 6th Form College in Cambridge, and, from 1962 to 1963/64 and Cambridge College of Arts and Technology (now Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University) since 1964. Syd Barrett then enrolled in Camberwell art school in South London in 1964 before forming his 1st band in 1965. During this pre–Pink Floyd time he wrote such tunes as “Effervescing Elephant” to play at local parties.

Starting in 1964, the band that would become Pink Floyd underwent various line-up and name changes such as “The Abdabs”, “The Screaming Abdabs”, “Sigma 6” and “The Meggadeaths”. In 1965, Syd Barrett joined them as “The Tea Set”, and when they found themselves playing a concert with a band of the same name, Syd Barrett came up with the name “The Pink Floyd Sound” (later “The Pink Floyd”). Syd Barrett devised the name “Pink Floyd” by juxtaposing the 1st names of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council whom he had read about in a sleeve note by Paul Oliver for a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller LP (Philips BBL-7512): “Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, (…) Pink Anderson or Floyd Council—these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys”.

While Pink Floyd began by playing cover versions of American R&B songs (in much the same vein as contemporaries The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Kinks), by 1966they had carved out their own style of improvised rock and roll, which drew as much from improvised jazz as it did from British pop-rock, such as that championed by The Beatles. In that year, a new rock concert venue, the UFO, opened in London and quickly became a haven for British psychedelic music. Pink Floyd, the house band, was their most popular attraction, and, after making appearances at the rival Roundhouse, became the most popular musical group of the so-called “London Underground” psychedelic music scene.

By the end of 1966 Pink Floyd had gained a reliable management team in Andrew King and Peter Jenner. The duo soon befriended American expatriate Joe Boyd, who was making a name for himself as one of the more important entrepreneurs on the British music scene. Joe Boyd produced a recording session for the group in January 1967 at Sound Techniques in Chelsea, which resulted in a demo of the single “Arnold Layne”. King and Jenner took the song to the recording behemoth EMI, who were impressed enough to offer the band a contract, under which they would be allowed to record an album. The band accepted. By the time the album was released, “Arnold Layne” had reached number 20 on the British singles charts (despite a ban by Radio London) and a follow-up single, “See Emily Play” had done even better, peaking at number 6.

These 1st 2 singles, as well as a 3rd(“Apples and Oranges”), were written by Syd Barrett, who also was the principal visionary/author of their critically acclaimed 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The album’s title was taken from the mystical “Pan” chapter of The Wind in the Willows. Of the 11 songs on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Syd Barrett wrote 8 and co-wrote another 2.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was recorded intermittently between January and July 1967 in Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. At that same time at Abbey Road the Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in Studio 1 and the Pretty Things were recording S.F. Sorrow. When The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released in August of that year, it became a smash hit in the UK, hitting #6 on the British album charts (the album was not nearly so successful in the USA). However, as the band began to attract a large fanbase, the pressures on Syd Barrett contributed to his experiencing increasing psychiatric illness.

Syd Barrett’s behaviour became increasingly unpredictable, partly as a consequence of frequent experimentation with psychedelic drugs such as LSD. Many report having seen him on stage with the group, strumming on 1 chord through the entire concert, or not playing at all. At a show at The Fillmore West in San Francisco, during a performance of “Interstellar Overdrive”, Syd Barrett slowly detuned his guitar. The audience seemed to enjoy such antics, unaware of the rest of the band’s consternation. Before a performance in late 1967, Syd Barrett apparently crushed Mandrax and an entire tube of Brylcreem into his hair, which subsequently melted down his face under the heat of the stage lighting, making him look like “a guttered candle”. Nick Mason later disputed the Mandrax portion of this story, stating that “Syd would never waste good mandies”.

Following a disastrous abridged tour of the United States, David Gilmour (a school friend of Syd Barrett’s) was asked to join the band as a 2nd guitarist to cover for Syd Barrett as Syd Barrett’s erratic behaviour prevented him from performing. For a handful of shows David played and sang while Syd Barrett wandered around on stage, occasionally deigning to join in playing. The other band members soon tired of Syd Barrett’s antics and, in January 1968, on the way to a show at Southampton University, the band elected not to pick Syd Barrett up: 1 person in the car said, “Shall we pick Syd up?” and another person said, “Let’s not bother” (Gilmour interview in Guitar World – January 1995). They attempted to retain him in the group as a songwriter.

There are many stories about Syd Barrett’s bizarre and intermittently psychotic behaviour — some are known to be true. According to Roger Waters, Syd Barrett came into what was to be their last practice session with a new song he had dubbed “Have You Got It, Yet?”. The song seemed simple enough when he first presented it to his bandmates, but it soon became impossibly difficult to learn: while they were practising it, Syd Barrett kept changing the arrangement. Syd Barrett would then play it again, with the arbitrary changes, and sing “Have you got it yet?”. Eventually they realised they never would and that they were simply bearing the brunt of Syd Barrett’s idiosyncratic sense of humour.

Syd Barrett did not contribute any material to the band after A Saucerful of Secrets was released in 1968. Of the songs he wrote for Pink Floyd after The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, only 1 (“Jugband Blues”) made it to the band’s 2nd album; 1 became a less-than-successful single (“Apples and Oranges”), and 2 others (“Scream Thy Last Scream” and “Vegetable Man”) were never officially released. Syd Barrett supposedly spent some time outside the recording studio, waiting to be invited in (he also showed up to a few gigs and glared at Gilmour). Syd Barrett played slide guitar on “Remember a Day” (which had been 1st attempted during the The Piper at the Gates of Dawn sessions) and also played on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. Syd Barrett’s main contribution to the album, “Jugband Blues,” is often seen by Pink Floyd fans as Syd Barrett’s admission that his days in the band were probably numbered (“It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here/And I’m most obliged to you for making it clear/that I’m not here”, the song opens). In March 1968 it was officially announced that he was no longer a member of Pink Floyd.

After leaving Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett distanced himself from the public eye. However, at the behest of EMI and Harvest Records, he did have a brief solo career, releasing 2 solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. Much of the material on both albums dates from Barrett’s most productive period of songwriting, late 1966 to mid 1967, and it is believed that he wrote few new songs after he left Pink Floyd.

The 1st album, The Madcap Laughs, was recorded in 2 distinct sessions, both at Abbey Road Studios: a few tentative sessions took place between May and June 1968 (produced by Peter Jenner), while the bulk of the album was recorded between April and July 1969. The record was produced 1st by Malcolm Jones, a young EMI executive, and then by David Gilmour and Roger Waters. Malcolm Jones states in his book “The Making of the Madcap Laughs” that “when Dave came to me and said that Syd Barrett wanted him and Roger Waters to do the remaining parts of the album, I acquiesced.” A few tracks on the album feature overdubs by members of the band Soft Machine. Syd Barrett also played guitar on the sessions for Soft Machine founder Kevin Ayers’ debut LP Joy of a Toy, although his performance on “Religious Experience” was not released until the album was reissued in 2003.

The 2nd album, Barrett, was recorded more sporadically than the 1st, with sessions taking place between February and July 1970. This effort sounds more polished than the 1st, but Barrett was arguably in a worse state. The album was produced by David Gilmour and featured Gilmour on bass guitar, Rick Wright on keyboard and Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley.

Despite the numerous recording dates for his 2 solo albums, Syd Barrett undertook very little musical activity between 1968 and 1972 outside the studio. On 24 February 1970, he appeared on John Peel’s BBC radio programme Top Gear playing 5 songs—only 1 of which had been previously released. 3 would be re-recorded for the Barrett album, while the song “Two of a Kind” was a one-off performance (the song appears on the 2001 compilation The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn’t You Miss Me?) with the lyrics and composition having since been credited to Richard Wright. Syd Barrett was accompanied on this session by David Gilmour and Jerry Shirley who played bass and percussion, respectively.

Gilmour and Shirley also backed Syd Barrett for his one and only live concert during this period. The gig took place on 6 June 1970 at the Olympia Exhibition Hall, London, and was part of a Music and Fashion Festival. The trio performed 4 songs, playing for less than half an hour, and because of poor mixing, the vocals were inaudible until part-way through the last number. At the end of the 4th song, Syd Barrett unexpectedly but politely put down his guitar and walked off the stage.

Syd Barrett made 1 last appearance on BBC Radio, recording 3 songs at their studios on 16 February 1971. All 3 came from the Barrett album, and were presumably aired to encourage people to buy the record. After this session, he would take a hiatus from his music career that lasted more than a year, although in an extensive interview with Mick Rock and Rolling Stone in December, he discussed himself at length, showed off his new 12-string guitar, talked about his American tour with Jimi Hendrix, and stated that he was frustrated in terms of his musical work because of his inability to find anyone good to play with.

In 1972, Syd Barrett formed a short-lived band called Stars with ex–Pink Fairies member Twink on drums and Jack Monck on bass. Though the band was initially well received, one of their gigs at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge proved to be disastrous (Monck describes just how disastrous it was in a TV interview in 2001 for the BBC Omnibus series documentary ‘Crazy Diamond’). A few days after this final show, Twink recalled that Barrett stopped him on the street, showed him a scathing review of the gig they had played, and quit on the spot.

In August 1974, Peter Jenner convinced Syd Barrett to return to Abbey Road Studios in hope of recording another album. However, little became of the sessions, which lasted 3 days and consisted of blues rhythm tracks with tentative and disjointed guitar overdubs (the only titled track is “If You Go, Don’t Be Slow”). Once again, Syd Barrett withdrew from the music industry. Syd Barrett sold the rights to his solo albums back to the record label, moved into a London hotel and when the money ran out he walked back to Cambridge to live in his mother’s basement. Further attempts to bring him back (including one endeavour by The Damned who wanted him to produce their 2nd album) were all fruitless. Until his death, Syd Barrett still received royalties from his work with Pink Floyd from each compilation and some of the live albums and singles that had featured his songs; Gilmour has commented that he (Gilmour) “[made] sure the money [got] to him all right”.

According to a 2005 profile by a recent biographer Tim Willis, Syd Barrett, who had reverted to using his original name of Roger, continued to live in his late mother’s semi-detached home in Cambridge, and had returned to his original art-form of painting, creating large abstract canvases. Syd Barrett was also said to have been an avid gardener. Syd Barrett’s main point of contact with the outside world was his sister, Rosemary, who lived nearby. While reclusive, it was his physical health that prompted most concern, being afflicted with stomach ulcers and type 2 diabetes.

Although Syd Barrett had not appeared or spoken in public since the mid-1970s, time did little to diminish interest in his life and work; reporters and fans still travelled to Cambridge to seek him out, despite his attempts to live a quiet life. Many photos of Syd Barrett being annoyed by paparazzi when walking or biking, from the 1980s until his death in 2006, had been published in various media.

Apparently, Syd Barrett was not happy being reminded about his past as a musician and the other members of Pink Floyd had no direct contact with him. However, he did go to his sister’s house in November 2001 to watch the BBC Omnibus documentary made about him – reportedly he found some of it “too noisy”, enjoyed seeing Mike Leonard (of Leonard’s Lodgers) again (whom he called his ‘teacher’), and enjoyed hearing “See Emily Play” again.

Syd Barrett died on Friday 7 July 2006 at his home in Cambridge of pancreatic cancer, but this was usually reported as “complications from diabetes.” The occupation on his death certificate was given as “retired musician.”

In 2006, his home, located in St. Margaret’s Square, was placed on the market and reportedly attracted considerable interest. After over 100 viewings, many by fans, his house was sold to a French couple who bought the house simply because they liked it—reportedly they knew nothing about Syd Barrett. Syd Barrett’s other possessions were auctioned for £120,000. NME produced a tribute issue to Syd Barrett the week after with a photo of the songwriter on the cover. In an interview with The Times, Syd Barrett’s sister revealed that he had written a book: “He read very deeply about the history of art and actually wrote an unpublished book about it, which I’m too sad to read at the moment. But he found his own mind so absorbing that he didn’t want to be distracted.”

According to a local Cambridge newspaper, Syd Barrett left approximately £1.25,000,000 to his 2 brothers and 2 sisters. This income was apparently largely acquired via royalties from Pink Floyd compilations and live recordings which featured songs he had written while with the band.

A tribute concert was held at the Barbican Centre, London on 10 May 2007 with Robyn Hitchcock, Captain Sensible, Damon Albarn, Chrissie Hynde, Kevin Ayers and his Pink Floyd bandmates performing (albeit not on stage at the same time for the last).

Syd Barrett had 1 noted reunion with the members of Pink Floyd in 1975 during the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here. Syd Barrett attended the Abbey Road session unannounced, and watched the band record “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — as it happened, a song about him. By that time, Syd Barrett had become quite overweight, had shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and his ex-bandmates did not at first recognise him (one of the photographs in Nick Mason’s book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd appears to have been taken that day it is captioned: Syd Barrett at Abbey Road Studios, 5th June 1975). Eventually, they realised who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was reduced to tears. A reference to this reunion appears in the film Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), where the character ‘Pink,’ played by Bob Geldof, shaves off his eyebrows (and body hair) after succumbing to the pressures of life and fame.

In an interview for the 2001 BBC Omnibus documentary Syd Barrett: Crazy Diamond (later released on DVD as The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story), the story is told in full. Rick Wright spoke about the session, saying: “One thing that really stands out in my mind, that I’ll never forget; I was going in to the “Shine On” sessions. I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me. And I didn’t recognize him. I said, ‘Who’s that guy behind you?’ ‘That’s Syd’. And I just cracked up, I couldn’t believe it… he had shaven all his hair off… I mean, his eyebrows, everything… he was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful. And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking… 7 years of no contact and then to walk in while we’re actually doing that particular track. I don’t know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful”. In the same documentary, Nick Mason stated: “When I think about it, I can still see his eyes, but… it was everything else that was different”. In that same interview, Roger Waters has said: “I had no idea who he was for a very long time”. David Gilmour stated : “None of us recognised him. Shaved…shaved bald head and very plump”.

In 1988, EMI Records released an album of Barrett’s studio outtakes and previously unreleased material recorded from 1968 to 1970 under the title Opel. The disc was originally set to include the unreleased Barrett Pink Floyd songs “Scream Thy Last Scream” and “Vegetable Man”, which had been remixed for the album by Malcolm Jones. However, the two songs were pulled (reportedly by the remaining members of Pink Floyd) before Opel was finalised.

In 1993 EMI issued another release, Crazy Diamond, a box set of all 3 albums, each loaded with further out-takes from his solo sessions that illustrated vividly Syd Barrett’s inability or refusal to play a song the same way twice.

EMI also released The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn’t You Miss Me? in the UK on 16 April, 2001, and in the US on 11 September, 2001. This was the 1st time his song “Bob Dylan Blues” was ever officially released, taken from a demo tape that David Gilmour had kept after an early 1970s recording session. David Gilmour still has the tape, which also contains the unreleased “Living Alone” from the Syd Barrett sessions.

A number of bootleg LPs, CDs and other recordings of Syd Barrett’s live and solo material exist.

For years the “off air” recordings of the BBC sessions with Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd circulated, until an engineer who had taken a tape of the early Pink Floyd gave it back to the BBC—who played it during a tribute to John Peel on their website. During this tribute, the 1st Peel programme (Top Gear) was aired in its entirety. This show featured 1967 live versions of “Flaming”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, and a brief 90-second snippet of the instrumental “Reaction in G”.

Syd Barrett’s 1st acoustic guitar Syd Barrett wrote most of the Pink Floyd’s early material. Syd Barrett was also an innovative guitarist, using extended techniques and exploring the musical and sonic possibilities of dissonance, distortion, feedback, the echo machine, tapes and other effects; his experimentation was partly inspired by free improvisation guitarist Keith Rowe. One of Syd Barrett’s trademarks was playing his guitar through an old echo box while sliding a Zippo lighter up and down the fret-board to create the mysterious, otherworldly sounds that became associated with the group. Syd Barrett was known to have used Binson delay units to achieve his trademark echo sounds.

Syd Barrett brought the guitar in a new direction. Syd Barrett’s free-form sequences of sonic carpets pioneered a new way to play the rock guitar. Syd Barrett played several different guitars during his tenure with Pink Floyd, including an old Harmony hollowbody electric, a Harmony acoustic, a Fender acoustic, a single-coil Danelectro 59 DC, several different Fender Telecasters, and a white Fender Stratocaster used in late 1967. However, a silver Fender Esquire with mirrored discs glued to the body was the guitar he was most often associated with and the guitar Syd Barrett himself “felt most close to.”

Many artists have acknowledged Syd Barrett’s influence on their work. Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Marc Bolan, and David Bowie were early fans; Jimmy Page, Brian Eno, and The Damned all expressed interest in working with him at some point during the 1970s. David Bowie recorded a cover of “See Emily Play” on his 1973 album Pin Ups. Pete Townshend called Syd Barrett legendary.

Syd Barrett’s decline had a profound effect on Roger Waters’s songwriting, and the theme of mental illness would permeate Pink Floyd’s later albums, particularly 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon and 1975’s Wish You Were Here which was a deliberate and affectionate tribute to Syd Barrett, the songs “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and the title track being specifically about him. The title track borrows imagery of a “steel rail” from Syd Barrett’s solo song, “If It’s In You,” from the Madcap Laughs album.

In 1987, an album of Barrett cover songs called Beyond the Wildwood was released. The album collected songs from Barrett’s Pink Floyd albums and his solo albums. Artists appearing were UK and USA indie bands including The Shamen, Opal, The Soup Dragons, and Plasticland.

Other artists that have written tributes to Syd Barrett include his contemporary Kevin Ayers, who wrote “Oh Wot a Dream” in his honour (Syd Barrett provided guitar to an early version of Ayers’ song “Religious Experience: Singing a Song in the Morning”). Syd Barrett fan Robyn Hitchcock has covered many of his songs live and on record, and has paid homage to his forebear with the songs “The Man Who Invented Himself” and “(Feels Like) 1974”. The Television Personalities’ track “I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives” from their 1981 album And Don’t the Kids Love It is another tribute. (The Television Personalities became the subject of controversy and derision when, as they had been selected as the opening act on David Gilmour’s About Face tour in the early 1980s, lead singer Dan Treacy decided to read aloud Barrett’s real home address to the audience of thousands. David Gilmour removed them from the tour immediately afterwards.)

Johnny Depp has shown interest in a biographical film based on Barrett’s life.

Syd Barrett is also portrayed briefly in the opening scene of Tom Stoppard’s play Rock ‘n’ Roll (2006), performing Golden Hair. Syd Barrett’s life and music, including the disastrous Cambridge Corn Exchange concert and his later reclusive lifestyle, are a recurring motif in the work. Syd Barrett died during the play’s run in London.

There has been much speculation concerning Syd Barrett’s psychological well-being. Many believe he suffered from schizophrenia. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder (aka manic depression) has also been considered.

Syd Barrett’s use of psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, during the 1960s is well documented. Some believe that Syd Barrett’s drug use was responsible for, or at least contributed to, his mental illness. In an article published in 2006, David Gilmour was quoted as saying: “In my opinion, his breakdown would have happened anyway. It was a deep-rooted thing. But I’ll say the psychedelic experience might well have acted as a catalyst. Still, I just don’t think he could deal with the vision of success and all the things that went with it.”

Many stories of Syd Barrett’s erratic behaviour off stage as well as on are also well-documented. In Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey, author Nicholas Schaffner interviewed a number of people who knew Syd Barrett before and during his Pink Floyd days. These included friends Peter and Susan Wynne-Wilson, artist Duggie Fields (with whom Syd Barrett shared a flat during the late 1960s), June Bolan and Storm Thorgerson, among others.

“For June Bolan, the alarm bells began to sound only when Syd kept his girlfriend under lock and key for three days, occasionally shoving a ration of biscuits under the door.” A claim of cruelty against Syd Barrett committed by the groupies and hangers-on who frequented his apartment during this period was described by writer and critic Jonathan Meades. “I went [to Syd Barrett’s flat] to see Harry and there was this terrible noise. It sounded like heating pipes shaking. I said, ‘What’s up?’ and he sort of giggled and said, ‘That’s Syd having a bad trip. We put him in the linen cupboard.'” Storm Thorgerson responded to this claim by stating “I do not remember locking Syd up in a cupboard. It sounds to me like pure fantasy, like Jonathan Meades was on dope himself.”

However, in the book Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett and the Dawn of Pink Floyd, authors Mike Watkinson and Pete Anderson included quotes from a story told to them by Thorgerson that underscored how volatile Barrett could be. “On one occasion, I had to pull him off Lynsey (Syd Barrett’s girlfriend at the time) because he was beating her over the head with a mandolin.”

According to David Gilmour in an interview with Nick Kent, the other members of Pink Floyd approached psychiatrist R.D. Laing with the ‘Barrett problem’. After hearing a tape of a Syd Barrett conversation, Laing declared him incurable.

David Gilmour also proposed, in an interview with the National Post’s John Geiger, that the stroboscopic lights used in their shows combined with the drugs could have had a seriously detrimental effect on Syd Barrett’s mental health if he was a photo-epileptic who suffered partial seizures. When partial seizures occur in the temporal lobes patients are often misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or psychosis.

After Syd Barrett died, his sister, Rosemary Breen, spoke to biographer Tim Willis for The Sunday Times. Rosemary insisted that Syd Barrett neither suffered from mental illness nor received treatment for it at any time since they resumed regular contact in the 1980s. Rosemary allowed that he did spend some time in a private “home for lost souls” — Greenwoods in Essex — but claimed there was no formal therapy programme there. Some years later, Syd Barrett apparently agreed to sessions with a psychiatrist at Fulbourn psychiatric hospital in Cambridge, but Breen claimed that neither medication nor therapy was considered appropriate in her brother’s case.

Syd Barrett’s sister denied he was a recluse or that he was vague about his past: “Roger may have been a bit selfish — or rather self-absorbed — but when people called him a recluse they were really only projecting their own disappointment. Syd Barrett knew what they wanted but he wasn’t willing to give it to them.” Syd Barrett, she said, took up photography, and sometimes they went to the seaside together. “Quite often he took the train on his own to London to look at the major art collections — and he loved flowers. Syd Barrett made regular trips to the Botanic Gardens and to the dahlias at Anglesey Abbey, near Lode. But of course, his passion was his painting”, she said.

A series of events, called “The City Wakes” will be held in Cambridge, UK in October 2008 to celebrate Barrett’s life, art and music. Barrett’s sister, Rosemary Breen, is promoting the 1st ever series of official events in memory of her brother.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

Bookmark and Share