Dr Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823–7 November 1913)

British naturalist, scientist, explorer, author, social campaigner and humanitarian. The eighth of nine children (three of whom did not survive to adulthood) of Thomas Vere Wallace (1771-1843) and Mary Ann Greenell (1792-1868). Attended Hale's Grammar School, Hertford, until age of 14, then worked as a land-surveyor with his brother William. Spent four years (1848-52) in Amazonia collecting and studying animals. In 1852 survived the sinking of his ship enroute to England. His valuable natural history collections on board were destroyed. Spent almost eight years (1854-62) traveling in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and East Timor), observing the human inhabitants of the region and studying and collecting animals. He collected a total of c. 126,000 specimens (of which c. 5,000 species were new to science) for his private collection, selling the duplicates to make a living. During this trip he discovered the "Wallace Line" and was the first naturalist to observe the courtship displays of birds-of-paradise. In 1855 he published his important "Sarawak Law" paper about evolution and in 1858 he independently discovered the process of evolution by natural selection, co-publishing the theory with Charles Darwin in August of that year. The book about his travels, The Malay Archipelago (1869), is one of the most celebrated travel writings of the 19th century and has never been out of print. ARW married Annie Mitten (1846-1914) in April 1866. They had three children, two of whom reached adulthood. He published a total of 22 books and more than 1,000 scientific papers and other articles, making important contributions to the fields (or what would become the fields) of evolutionary biology, biogeography, glaciology, anthropology, ethnography, epidemiology, and astrobiology. He also published widely on other subjects, including spiritualism, socialism, land reform, anti-vaccination, and human rights. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1908. Other honours include, LLD 1882, DCL 1889, FRS 1893.