The Presidents of the MBA

Since it was founded in 1884, the MBA has had 14 Presidents.

Thomas Henry Huxley was the Association's first President, serving between 1884 (when the MBA was founded) and 1890. Huxley (1825-1895) was a strong advocate of Charles Darwins's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Project: In September 2012, together with the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, the MBA prepared a small display of material on Huxley from the MBA Archive Collection; for more information, please see here

Sir E. Ray Lankester (1847-1929) served as President from 1890 to 1929. He was an evolutionary biologist. The Lankester Pamplets are held at the National Marine Biological Library; these consist of 43 volumes of reprints, with an author index. For more resources on Lankester, including the obituary which appeared in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, please see here.

Project: Both Huxley and Lankester were involved in the establishment of the MBA; for more information of the early history of the MBA, please see here on the pages of the Laboratory on the Hoe project.

Walter Edward Guinness, Lord Moyne (1880-1944) was President from 1930 to 1939. He was a politician and businessman, and a very generous contributor to improvements made to the Laboratory.

George Parker Bidder III (1863-1953) served as President between 1939 and 1945. For more resources on Bidder, including the obituary which appeared in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, please see here.

Project: In July 2013, together with the Company of Biologists, the MBA gathered information relating to G. P. Bidder III. The information collated is available here

Sir James Gray (1891-1975) was President from 1945 to 1955. Gray was a zoologist who worked on cells, animal locomotion and experimental zoology. His obituary, written by Sir Alister Hardy and published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, can be found here.

A. V. Hill (1886-1977) was the MBA's sixth president, serving from 1955 to 1960. He was a physiologist and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1922 for work on the muscle. Hill was a  regular visitor to the MBA from between the mid-1920s until the late-1960s. For more on Hill's Nobel prize, please see here.

Carl F. A. Pantin (1899-1967) served as President from 1960 to 1966. He was a zoologist and did much work on marine amoebas. For his obituary published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, please click here.

Sir Alan L. Hodgkin (1914-1998) was President from 1966 to 1976. Together with Andrew Huxley, he conducted work at the MBA on the squid giant axon from 1939. For this work, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1963. (See here for more information.)  For his obituary published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, please click here.

J. Z. Young (1907-1997) was President from 1976 to 1986. He was a zoologist and neurophysiologist. He is especially remembered for rediscovering the squid giant axon and developing experimental preparations to study it. Young's work on the axon was then built upon by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley. (See here for more information.) For more resources on Young,  including the obituary which appeared in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, please see here.

James Lovelock (1919- ) served as the MBA's tenth President from 1986 to 1990. He is an independent scientist and environmentalist. He is perhaps best known for his work on the "Gaia hypothesis" , which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the chemical and physical environment.

Sir Crispin Tickell (1930- ) was President between 1990 and 2001. He is an environmentalist.

Sir Neil Chalmers (1942- ) served as President from 2002 to 2007. He is a biologist and was Director of the Natural History Museum between 1988 and 2004.

Sir Howard Dalton (1944-2008) was President from 2007 to his death the following year. He was a microbiologist and his main interests were in physiology and genetics.

Sir Geoffrey Holland (1938- ) served as President from 2008 to 2014.


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