- Hooker , Sir Joseph Dalton
- (1817–1911) British plant taxonomist and explorerHooker was born at Halesworth in Suffolk and studied medicine at Glasgow University, where his father William Hooker (1785–1865) was professor of botany. After graduating in 1839, he joined the Antarctic expedition on HMS Erebus (1839–43), nominally as assistant surgeon but primarily as naturalist. Between 1844 and 1860, using collections made on the expedition, Hooker produced a six-volume flora of the Antarctic Islands, New Zealand, and Tasmania.When he returned from the Antarctic expedition Hooker was congratulated on his work by Charles Darwin, who had been following his progress, and in 1844 Darwin confided to Hooker his theory of evolution by natural selection. This communication later proved important in establishing Darwin's precedence when his theory – together with Alfred Russel Wallace's essentially identical conclusions – was presented by Hooker and George Lyell at the famous Linnaean Society meeting of July 1858.Following his unsuccessful application in 1845 for the botany chair at Edinburgh University, Hooker was employed to identify fossils for a geological survey, but he took time off between 1847 and 1850 to explore the Indian subcontinent. He visited Sikkim and Assam, Nepal, and Bengal, introducing the brilliant Sikkim rhododendrons into cultivation through the botanical gardens at Kew. Later (1872–97) he produced a seven-volume flora of British India.In 1855 Hooker was appointed assistant director at Kew Gardens and in 1865 succeeded his father as director. In his 20 years as head of the institute he founded the Jodrell Laboratory and Marianne North Gallery, extended the herbarium, and developed the rock garden. His efforts established Kew as an international center for botanical research and in 1872 he successfully fought a move from the commissioner of works to relegate the gardens to a pleasure park. With George Bentham he produced a world flora,Genera Plantarum (1862–83; Genera of Plants) – a major work describing 7569 genera and 97,000 species. The Kew herbarium is still arranged according to this classification.Hooker retired from the directorship of Kew in 1885 owing to ill health but continued working until his death.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.