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Sir George Howard Darwin, KCB FRS FRSE (9 July 1845 – 7 December 1912) was an English barrister, physicist and astronomer, the fifth child of Charles and Emma Darwin.
Darwin attended Trinity College at Cambridge University and excelled in science. He was a runner-up for the coveted Smith Prize in mathematics and theoretical physics, and graduated with honors as second Wrangler in 1868. He then studied law for six years and was admitted to the bar in 1874, but never practiced law. Instead he chose a distinguished career in physics and astromomy, culminating with four volumes of published works.
He was fascinated with the fluid dynamics of the Earth and continued Lord Kelvin’s analysis and prediction of tides using Fourier harmonic analysis. He applied the lunar theory current in his time and identified harmonic consituents which facilated prediction of tides. Darwin’s symbols for these harmonic constituents are still used today.
He also developed the fission theory of lunar origin. This theory, no longer in vogue, proposed that the Moon was once part of the Earth and somehow separated from the Earth early in the history of the solar system. The present Pacific Ocean basin is the most popular site for the part of the Earth from which the Moon came.
In 1905 he was knighted as a knight commander of the Order of the Bath, after his presidency of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
His achievements were very distinguished, but not as high as his illustrious father.
However, there was one area where Sir George clearly outshone his father: his magnificent beard.
Ironically, Charles Darwin was beardless most of his life [mostly prior to the invention of photography] but is almost always portrayed with a full beard. He grew one during his long voyages on the Beagle, 1831-1836, and again much later, starting in 1862, possibly to hide his chronic facial eczema.
As you can see, George Darwin’s beard was neat and well-trimmed, and seems to have a life of its own in this 1906 photo.