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Huxley got assigned to shore duty in England and was told he should do his research. Huxley was invited to numerous parties and dinners, because he was a science celebrity. Yet he could not find a job outside the Navy. Finally he got his foot in the door as the famous scientist, Edward Forbes, helped him gain paid admission to the Royal Society. He had infiltrated the old boy’s club at last and would soon turn its world upside down.

Huxley formed strong friendships with two other great scientists of his day, Joseph Hooker and John Tyndall. Together, they would lead Britain into world prominence in science. They lobbied the politicians and government bureaucrats to create museums, educational institutions, and research universities. They demanded that positions and funding should become based on merit, not political or social standing.

Professor at Last

Huxley's membership in the Royal Society was getting him noticed. He gave wonderful talks that amazed such luminaries in the Society as Michael Farraday, Charles Lyell, and Alfred Wallace. At 28 he was a rising star, but still could not get a respectable job in science. Finally, at age 30, Huxley landed a lectureship in England. By 1855, Huxley was debt free and brought Nettie to England where they married and began their family. 

That family included a son, Leonard, who grew up to write many biographies, edit a major magazine, and to sire a famous grandson for Thomas, Aldous Huxley, who wrote the classic book, Brave New World. Leonard was also the father of another famous Huxley, Julian. Julian, like his grandfather, became a famous biologist and became active in the politics of science, serving as the first director the United Nation’s UNESCO. For more information on Julian, click here. Yet another son of Leonard, Andrew Huxley, won the Nobel Prize in 1963 for his discoveries on the mechanism of the nerve impulse. To learn more about Andrew, click here.

A proud grandfather holds his grandson,  Julian Huxley


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