ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Richard Edmond Grant (1793-1874), Scottish physician. Grant was born and educated at Edinburgh and obtained his MD in 1814. However, he gave up medicine to study biology and zoology. Benefitting from a legacy, he was able to travel through Europe before settling back at Edinburgh. Grant became the world's leading expert on the biology of sponges and sea-slugs and was a great influence on the young Charles Darwin. Grant used his knowledge to show that many of the same laws of life affected all organisms and expanded the study of comparative anatomy. His radical views of science and society made advancement difficult, but in 1827 he was appointed professor of comparative anatomy at University College, London and was made Fullerian Professor of Physiology at the Royal Institution in 1837-8. In 1847 Grant was made Dean of the medical faculty at UCL.
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