In our first Beard Bio we have naturally selected Charles Darwin, the gentleman scientist with the evolving beard.
Name: Charles Robert Darwin
Born in Shrewsbury, England in 1809 Darwin was one of six children. His father was a prominent doctor and his mother a daughter from the famous Wedgewood pottery family (she was also his cousin).
Originally he studied to be a doctor and went to Edinburgh University to train. However, he soon got bored of lectures and his father sent him to Cambridge University to train as a parson instead.
After graduating with an Ordinary degree he joined the HMS Beagle on an expedition to chart the coast of South America. Originally a two year voyage it turned into five and the flora and fauna he found (including thirteen species of finches) gave him the springboard to write On the Origin of Species. It took more than ten years to complete and was finally published in 1859.
It wasn't all plain sailing for Darwin, whose religious contemporaries ridiculed and satirised him in the newspapers of the day. Nevertheless, his theory was validated time and again. Later work my others in genetics proved the physical mechanism for his evolutionary idea.
Darwin was buried in Westminster Cathedral on the 26th April 1882, the service was attended by thousands of mourners, including prominent scientists and politicians. Subsequently Darwin has been commemorated by being named for many places, animals and infamously the Darwin Awards.