Sir Julian Huxley Biography


Sir Julian Sorell Huxley was a leading voice of scientific humanism in the English-speaking world for more than forty years. Educated as a biologist and serving for many years as a professor of biology and zoology at American and British universities, he also addressed himself to the perplexing problem of science’s role in its social contexts. Although much of his published work is of a highly specialized scientific nature, he was also concerned with philosophical questions in numerous collections of essays.

Huxley’s family is notable for its high intellectual capacities and achievements. His father, Leonard Huxley, was both a noted educator and essayist, while his grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, was a famed scientist. Julian Huxley’s great-uncle was Matthew Arnold, the critic. The noted author Aldous Huxley was his brother, while his half brother, A. F. Huxley, won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Sir Julian Huxley was educated at Eton and Oxford Universities, and he began his career as a lecturer in zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1911. After three years in the United States at Rice Institute (where he founded the Department of Biology), he returned to England in 1916 to serve in the British armed forces during World War I. Immediately after the war, he returned to Oxford, where he remained until 1925. It was during this period that he began his prolific publication of scientific and humanistic works. His...

(The entire section is 401 words.)


Baker, John Randal. Julian Huxley, Scientist and World Citizen, 1887-1975: A Biographical Memoir. Paris: UNESCO, 1978. A study of Huxley’s life.

Clark, Ronald W. Sir Julian Huxley, F.R.S. New York: Phoenix House, Roy Publishers, 1960. An overview.

Dronamraju, Krishna R. If I Am to Be Remembered: The Life and Work of Julian Huxley, with Selected Correspondence. River Edge, N.J.: World Scientific Publishing, 1993. A study of Huxley’s life.

Green, Kevin. “Xavier Herbert, H. G. Wells, and J. S. Huxley: Unexpected British Connections.” Australian Literary Studies 12 (May, 1985). Compares Huxley with his contemporaries.

Huxley, Juliette. Leaves of the Tulip Tree: Autobiography. Topsfield, Mass.: Salem House, 1987. This memoir by Huxley’s wife discusses family relations.

Irvine, William. Apes, Angels, and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution. 1955. Reprint. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972. A historical study of the biological investigations begun by Thomas Henry Huxley and continued by Julian Huxley.

West, Philip. “Brothers Under the Skin: Aldous and Julian Huxley.” In Blood Brothers: Siblings as Writers, edited by Norman Kiell. New York: International Universities Press, 1983. Discusses relations between the Huxley brothers.