Julian Huxley  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS (22 June 1887 – 14 February 1975) was an English evolutionary biologist, humanist and internationalist. He was a proponent of natural selection, and a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century evolutionary synthesis. He was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935–1942), the first Director of UNESCO, and a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund.

Huxley was well-known for his presentation of science in books and articles, and on radio and television. He was awarded UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the popularisation of science in 1953, the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society in 1956, and the Darwin–Wallace Medal of the Linnaean Society in 1958. He was also knighted in that same year, 1958, a hundred years after Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace announced the theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1959 he received a Special Award of the Lasker Foundation in the category Planned ParenthoodWorld Population. Huxley was a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society, and its President from 1959–1962.


Terms coined

Huxley's use of language was highly skilled, and when no word seemed to suit he invented one. These are the most significant:

Titles and phrases

Huxley always chose his titles carefully. He wrote about fifty books (depending on how you count them), and these themes are characteristic:


  • The individual in the animal kingdom (1911)
  • The courtship habits of the Great Crested Grebe (1914) [a landmark in ethology]
  • Essays of a Biologist (1923)
  • Essays in Popular Science (1926)
  • The stream of life (1926)
  • Animal biology (with J.B.S. Haldane, 1927)
  • Religion without revelation (1927, revised edition 1957)
  • The tissue-culture king (1927) [science fiction]
  • Ants (1929)
  • The science of life: a summary of contemporary knowledge about life and its possibilities (with H.G. & G.P. Wells, 1929–30). First issued in 31 fortnightly parts published by Amalgamated Press, 1929–31, bound up in three volumes as publication proceeded. First issued in one volume by Cassell in 1931, reprinted 1934, 1937, popular edition, fully revised, 1938. Published as separate volumes by Cassell 1934–37: I The living body. II Patterns of life (1934). III Evolution—fact and theory. IV Reproduction, heredity and the development of sex. V The history and adventure of life. VI The drama of life. VII How animals behave (1937). VIII Man's mind and behaviour. IX Biology and the human race. Published in New York by Doubleday, Doran & Co. 1931, 1934, 1939; and by The Literary Guild 1934. Three of the Cassell spin-off books were also published by Doubleday in 1932: Evolution, fact and theory; The human mind and the behavior of Man; Reproduction, genetics and the development of sex.
  • Bird-watching and bird behaviour (1930)
  • An introduction to science (with Edward Andrade, 1931–34)
  • What dare I think?: the challenge of modern science to human action and belief. Chatto & Windus, London; Harper, N.Y. (1931)
  • Africa view (1931)
  • The captive shrew and other poems (1932)
  • Problems of relative growth (1932)
  • A scientist among the Soviets (1932)
  • If I were Dictator. Methuen, London; Harper, N.Y. (1934)
  • Scientific research and social needs (1934)
  • Elements of experimental embryology (with Gavin de Beer, 1934)
  • Thomas Huxley's diary of the voyage of HMS Rattlesnake (1935)
  • We Europeans (with A.C. Haddon, 1936)
  • Animal language (photographs by Ylla, includes recordings of animal calls: 1938, reprinted 1964)
  • The present standing of the theory of sexual selection. In Gavin de Beer (ed) Evolution: Essays on aspects of evolutionary biology (pp 11–42). Oxford: Clarendon Press (1938)
  • The living thoughts of Darwin (1939)
  • The new systematics. Oxford. (1940) [this multi-author volume, edited by Huxley, is one of the foundation stones of the 'New Synthesis', with essays on taxonomy, evolution, natural selection, Mendelian genetics and population genetics]
  • Democracy marches. Chatto & Windus, London; Harper N.Y. (1941)
  • The uniqueness of man. Chatto & Windus, London. (1941; reprint 1943). U.S. as Man stands alone. Harper, N.Y. 1941.
  • On living in a revolution. Harper, N,Y. (1944)
  • Evolution: the modern synthesis. Allen & Unwin, London. (1942, reprinted 1943, 1944, 1945, 1948, 1955; 2nd ed, with new introduction and bibliography by the author, 1963; 3rd ed, with new introduction and bibliography by nine contributors, 1974). U.S. first edition by Harper, 1943. [this summarises research on all topics relevant to evolution up to the Second World War]. New edition by MIT Press in 2010 with Foreword by Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B. Müller.
  • Evolutionary ethics (1943)
  • TVA: Adventure in planning (1944)
  • Evolution and ethics 1893–1943. Pilot, London. In USA as Touchstone for ethics Harper, N.Y. (1947) [includes text from both T.H. Huxley and Julian Huxley]
  • Man in the modern world (1947) eBook, essays selected from The uniqueness of man (1941) and On living in a revolution (1944)
  • Soviet genetics and World science: Lysenko and the meaning of heredity. Chatto & Windus, London. In USA as Heredity, East and West. Schuman, N.Y. (1949).
  • Evolution in action (1953)
  • Evolution as a process (with Hardy A.C. and Ford E.B. eds.) Allen & Unwin, London. (1954)
  • From an antique land: ancient and modern in the Middle East. Parrish, London (1954, revised 1966)
  • Kingdom of the beasts (with W. Suschitzky, 1956)
  • Biological aspects of cancer (1957)
  • New bottles for new wine Chatto & Windus, London; Harper N.Y. (1957); repr as Knowledge, morality, destiny. N.Y. (1960)
  • The humanist frame (as editor, 1961)
  • The coming new religion of humanism (1962)
  • Essays of a humanist (1964) reprinted 1966, 1969, 1992: ISBN 0-87975-778-7
  • The human crisis (1964)
  • Darwin and his world (with Bernard Kettlewell, 1965)
  • Aldous Huxley 1894–1963: a memorial volume. (as editor, 1965)
  • The future of man: evolutionary aspects. (1966)
  • The wonderful world of evolution (1969)
  • Memories (2 vols 1970 & 1973) [his autobiography]
  • The Mitchell Beazley Atlas of World Wildlife. Mitchell Beazley, London; also published as The Atlas of World Wildlife. Purnell, Cape Town. (1973)


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