(June 22, 1887-February 14, 1975)
Born in London, United Kingdom
Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935-42)
First Director-General of UNESCO (1946-48)
Founding member of the World Wildlife Fund (1961)
Wrote 'Religion Without Revelation' (1927), 'The Uniqueness of Man' (1941), 'Evolution: The Modern Synthesis' (1942), 'Evolutionary Ethics' (1943), 'Evolution As A Process' (1954), 'Essays Of A Humanist' (1964) and 'The Future Of Man' (1966)
With H.G. Wells and P.G. Wells, wrote 'The Science of Life' (three volumes, 1929-30)
Panelist on the BBC radio program 'The Brains Trust' (1939-44)
Grandson of Thomas Huxley
Brother of Aldous Huxley
Why he might be annoying
He suffered several bouts of depression and nervous breakdowns, including one where he received electroshock therapy.
As Secretary of the Zoological Society of London, he alienated most of the rest of the Society, with his wife noting, 'He was impatient and lacked tact.'
His term as head of UNESCO was cut from six years to two due to American protests over his left-wing views.
He was a eugenics advocate who wrote, 'The lowest strata are reproducing too fast. Therefore... they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilization.'
Why he might not be annoying
He served with British intelligence during World War I.
He pioneered the nature documentary, directing an Oscar-winning short film, 'The Private Life of the Gannets.' (1934)
He helped establish national parks in Kenya.
Most of his clashes with the London Zoological Society were over his attempts to make the zoo more child-friendly.
After the Lysenko affair in the Soviet Union, he wrote 'Marxist-Leninism had become a dogmatic religion... and like all dogmatic religions, it turned from reform to persecution.'
In 'The Crowded World' he predicted world population would reach six billion by the year 2000; according to the UN Population Fund, the milestone was reached on October 12, 1999.
Credit: C. Fishel
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