Dictionary of World Biography
Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich (1899–1977). Russian-American novelist, born in St Petersburg. Son of a rich liberal politician (murdered by Russian monarchists, probably by mistake, in Berlin in 1922), trilingual (Russian, English, French) from childhood, he left Russia in 1919, graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, lived in France and Germany 1922–40, and migrated to the US in 1940. He was a research fellow in lepidoptera at Harvard, then taught literature at Wellesley, becoming professor of Russian literature at Cornell 1948–59. He translated Alice in Wonderland into Russian (1923) and had already made a name for himself by a brilliant series of novels in Russian (Mashenka; King, Queen, Knave; Invitation to a Beheading, etc.), before publishing his first English novels: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1938) and Bend Sinister (1947). Lolita, a story of the infatuation of a middle-aged intellectual, Humbert Humbert, for a 12-year-old girl, and her sexual exploitation, was published in Paris in 1955, New York in 1958 and London in 1959. Lolita was filmed (1962) by Stanley *Kubrick. Nabokov lived in Montreux from 1959. Later novels included Pale Fire (1962), Ada (1969) and Transparent Things (1972). His memoir, Speak, Memory, was published in 1967. Nabokov never received a major literary award but his writing influenced later writers, including Thomas *Pynchon, Salman *Rushdie, Don *DeLillo and W. G. *Sebald.
Field, A., VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabakov. 1986; Boyd, B., Vladimir Nabokov. 2 vols, 1990, 1991; Pitzer, A., The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. 2013.
Nadar (pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) (1820–1910). French photographer, born in Paris. Originally a journalist and caricaturist, he opened a photographic studio in Paris (1853), and, using collodion glass-plate negatives, made powerful portraits of *Rossini, *Liszt, *Verdi, *Bakunin, *Balzac, *Hugo, *Flaubert, *Turgenev, George *Sand, Sarah *Bernhardt, *Mallarmé, *Baudelaire, *Corot, *Manet, *Monet, *Pasteur and *Debussy, took the first aerial photographs (1858) and conducted the first photo-interview (1886, with *Chevreul). In 1863 he commissioned a 60-metre-high balloon, Le Géant, but after its comparative failure became an advocate of heavier air flying machines.
Begley, A., The Great Nadar. The Man Behind the Camera. 2018.
Nader, Ralph (1934– ). American lawyer, born in Connecticut. Of Lebanese parentage, educated at Princeton and Harvard, he wrote Unsafe at Any Speed (1965), an attack on General Motors’ Corvair; GM had to pay him $300,000 damages for personal harassment. Nader formed ‘citizens action’ groups to carry out research, raise levels of community awareness and put pressure on governments to strengthen laws on consumer protection, car and highway safety, pollution, pure food and access to information. In 2000 he contested the US presidency as a Green candidate, winning 3 per cent of the popular vote, a decisive factor in enabling *Bush to defeat *Gore. He ran for president in 2004, polling barely 1 per cent, and 0.6 per cent in 2008.
Nadir Khan (or Nadir Shah) (c.1880–1933). King of Afghanistan 1929–33. He was descended from a brother of *Dost Mohammed and as King Amanullah’s Commander-in-Chief was prominent in the Third Afghan War with British India (1919). Having fallen into disfavour in 1924 he lived in exile in France, which he left in 1929 to make his successful bid for the Afghan throne. Assassination ended a brief reign in which he showed personal integrity as well as skill and moderation as an administrative reformer.
Nadir Shah (1688–1747). Shah of Persia 1736–47. By origin a Turcoman tribesman, he emerged as dominant figure from the period of confused fighting following the breakup of the Safavid dynasty, and proclaimed himself as shah. In 1738, he found a pretext to invade India, marched to the plains below, and met his first serious resistance only 160 km from Delhi. In March 1739, he routed the forces of the Mughal Emperor, Muhammad Shah, who accompanied his conqueror to Delhi. A false report of Nadir’s death provoked a rising in the city, which he punished with one of the most terrible massacres in history. Loaded with plunder, including the famous peacock throne, he returned home having annexed large areas west of the Indus. Nadir continued to fight with success against internal revolt, external enemies (especially the Ottoman Turks), but assassination, caused by disgust at his atrocities, brought his career to an end.
Nägeli, Karl Wilhelm von (1817–1891). Swiss botanist. Son of a physician, he chose to specialise in botanical studies, and took up the study of cells. Between 1845 and 1858 he was involved in brilliant researches into the formation of tissues in the roots and stems of vascular plants, particularly from the point of view of cell-division, for which he hoped to find quasi-mathematical laws. He correctly observed the distinction between formative tissues (ones multiplying) and structural tissues (those no longer multiplying). Later in his career, he became increasingly interested in the building blocks of plant life, especially starches and cellulose. But though this work took a more chemical turn, Nägeli always held to the somewhat teleological approach that his early training in Naturphilosophie had given him. He accepted organic evolution, but saw it as the fulfilment of an internal organic drive. He rejected *Mendel’s work out of hand.
Naguib, Mohamed (1901–1984). Egyptian general, born in Khartoum. A gifted linguist, with Gamal *Nasser as his deputy, he led the revolt (1952) that dethroned King *Farouk. Prime Minister 1952–53, and then President of Egypt 1953–54, he was forced to resign by Nasser and kept in comfortable isolation until 1972.
Nagy, Imre (1896–1958). Hungarian politician. A locksmith, he joined the Communists in 1918, lived in Moscow 1929–44, and was a minister 1945–48. Premier 1953–55, he was forced out because of his independent line and sympathy for peasant interests. In the October 1956 rising against Soviet rule, Nagy was Premier again, appealed unsuccessfully for Western intervention, and was executed after a show trial. His remains were reburied in a place of honour in 1989.
Nahas Pasha, Mustafa (1876–1965). Egyptian politician. He succeeded (1927) Saad *Zaghloul as leader of the Wafd, a nationalist party. In 1936 he led a delegation to London and negotiated a treaty of perpetual alliance with Britain, by which inter alia, British forces could be stationed in the Suez Canal zone for 20 years and the Egyptian position in the Sudan was restored. This was followed (May 1937) by a convention by which capitulations (special discriminatory arrangements favouring foreigners) were abolished. In December Nahas was dismissed by King *Farouk but during World War II the British forced his recall (1942) when the German threat to Egypt was at its greatest. Again dismissed in 1944, Nahas played no active part in the events leading to the revolution of 1952.
Naipaul, Sir V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) (1932–2018). British novelist and essayist, born in Trinidad. Of Indian descent, son of a journalist, he won a scholarship to Oxford, moved to London in 1954 and worked for the BBC. His first masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas, was published in 1961. Other much acclaimed works include The Mimic Men (1967), In a Free State (Booker Prize, 1971), Guerrillas (1975), India: A Wounded Civilisation (1977), A Bend in the River (1979), The Return of Eva Peron (1980), Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981) and The Masque of Africa (2010). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 ‘for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories’. His brother Shiva Naipaul (1945–1985), also an author, wrote North of South (1978) and Black and White (1980).
White, L., Naipaul: A Critical Introduction. 1975. French, P., The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul. 2003.
Najib Razak (in full Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak) (1953– ). Malaysian politician. Son and nephew of two Malaysian Prime Ministers, he studied in England, became a banker, a protégé of *Mahathir bin Mohamad and entered Parliament. He was Minister for Defence 1991–95; 2000–09, Minister for Education 1995–2000 and Prime Minister 2009–18. Following widespread accusations of large-scale corruption against Najib, in 2018 Mahathir returned to politics and, in alliance with *Anwar Ibrahim, defeated Najib who was then arrested and charged with fraud and money laundering.
Nakasone Yasuhiro (1918–2019). Japanese politician. Trained as a lawyer, he served in the Japanese navy, was a Diet member 1947–2003 and held several portfolios, also rising rapidly through the Liberal Democratic Party machine. He was Prime Minister of Japan 1982–87.
Namier, Sir Lewis Bernstein (né Ludwik Bernstein vel Niemirowski) (1888–1960). British historian, born in Poland. Of Jewish parentage, he was educated at Lausanne, the London School of Economics and Oxford, worked in the Foreign Office in World War I and was political secretary of the Jewish Agency for Palestine 1929–31. Professor of modern history at Manchester University 1931–55, he threw entirely new light on 18th-century political affiliations in his The Structure of Politics on the Accession of George III (1929). By probing the life, background and opinions as well as the voting records of individual MPs he showed how often personal considerations outweighed those of party alignment. With John Brooke he wrote the definitive The House of Commons 1754–90 (3 vols, 1964).
Namier, J., Lewis Namier: A Biography. 1971; Hayton, D. W., Conservative Revolutionary – The Lives of Lewis Namier. 2019.
Nana Sahib (Dhondu Pant) (c.1820–c.1859). Indian sepoy leader. Adopted son of the last of the Mahratta ‘peshwas’, and swayed by a personal grievance about his pension he became a leader of the sepoys (Indian troops under British command) in the mutiny (1857). The isolated British garrison of Cawnpore capitulated on terms safeguarding the lives of the men and their dependants. Despite this pledge Nana Sahib ordered a general massacre of men, women and children alike. He fled after the defeat of the mutiny and presumably died in the hills of Nepal.
Nanak (1469–1538). Indian guru (‘preacher’). Founder (c.1505) of the Sikhs, he preached a puritanic, monotheistic, tolerant form of Hinduism, rejecting the caste system and the quest for power. Later, under persecution, the Sikhs became a militant sect.
Nancarrow, (Samuel) Conlon (1912–1997). American composer, born in Arizona. He fought in the Spanish Civil War and lived in Mexico City from 1940. On the fringes for most of his life, he wrote 51 ‘Studies for Player Piano’ (1948–93), employing techniques of unparalleled complexity that influenced *Ligeti and *Adès but intimidated mainstream music audiences. He received a MacArthur Award in 1982 and won international recognition. He also wrote three string quartets and works for small orchestra.
Nansen, Fridtjof (1861–1930). Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat and humanitarian, born in Oslo (Christiania). He studied zoology at Oslo University and was curator of zoology at the Bergen Museum 1881–87. In 1888 he crossed Greenland on skis and in 1893–97 carried out a daring project of forcing the Fram, a ship specially built to withstand ice pressure, into the pack-ice and letting it drift with the great northwest current. Entering the ice near the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Arctic, the Fram drifted with the current and reached Spitsbergen in just under three years. Meanwhile Nansen (with F. H. Johansen) had left the ship (March 1895) and on foot had reached a latitude of 86°14’. They wintered in Franz Josef Land, and were picked up in the spring. Professor of oceanography at Oslo University 1908–30, after Norway’s independence (1905) he was its first Ambassador to Great Britain 1906–08. After World War I he worked for the repatriation of prisoners of war, for famine relief in Russia, and (on behalf of the League of Nations) for refugees, particularly Armenians, to whom the issue of a ‘Nansen passport’ often meant a new life. Nansen won the Nobel Prize for Peace (1922).
Shackleton, E., Nansen the Explorer. 1959; Huntford, R., Nansen—The explorer as hero. 1998.
Napier, John (1550–1617). Scottish mathematician and engineer. By introducing the comma (where we now use the decimal point), he simplified the notation of the decimal system. His most important contribution to mathematics was his invention (1594) of the number ratios which he called ‘logarithms’. He spent almost 20 years calculating the necessary tables, which he published in his Mirifici Logarithmonwn Canonis Descriptio (1614). He also devised a simple calculating system made of rods (Napier’s bones), which he described in his Rabdologiae (1617). As an engineer, he invented a hydraulic screw for pumping water, and other devices. He was also interested in millenarianism and wrote a commentary on the Revelation of St John the Divine.
Napier of Magdala, Robert Cornelis Napier, 1st Baron (1810–1890). British field marshal. He commanded (1868) the expedition against King Theodore of Abyssinia, his march from the coast to the final storming of Magdala showing a remarkable combination of organisational, engineering and military skills. For this he was awarded a peerage and an annuity. He served as Commander-in-Chief in India 1870–76 and Governor of Gibraltar 1876–82.
Napoléon I (Napoléon Bonaparte) (1769–1821). Emperor of the French 1804–14 and 1815. Born at Ajaccio in Corsica, the son of Carlo Buonaparte (*Bonaparte) and his wife Letizia, Napoléon left the island (1778) to learn French at Autun and to attend military schools at Brienne (1779–84) and at Paris (1784–86). He emerged as a lieutenant of artillery who devoted himself to study. On the outbreak of the Revolution he went to Corsica and took a leading part in overthrowing the royalist government, but when a quarrel developed between the followers of *Paoli who demanded Corsican independence and those, including the Bonapartes, who favoured union with revolutionary France, the whole family moved to the mainland. In 1793 Napoléon was in charge of the artillery in the French republican army besieging Toulon, which had been seized by the British, and he was largely responsible for the city’s capture. For this he was made a brigadier general by *Robespierre but on the latter’s fall he was imprisoned briefly. His rise to power was resumed when Barras, shortly to become the leading figure in the Directory, appointed him as his second-in-command to suppress the Paris rising (1795). Napoléon’s quick success, which showed his promise, brought him into the new rich society of the moment where he met, fell in love with and married (1796) *Josephine de Beauharnais, a fascinating widow six years his senior. Almost immediately he was given command of the army in Italy, where he conducted a whirlwind campaign against the Austrians, culminating in the brilliant victories of Arcola and Rivoli and the capture of Mantua. Back in France, Napoléon secured consent for an ambitious plan for the conquest of Egypt. In May 1798 a fleet carrying 36,000 troops shipped out of Toulon. Napoléon received the surrender of Malta on the way and (avoiding *Nelson’s fleet) reached Egypt. After winning the Battle of the Pyramids outside Cairo he quickly conquered the country (while the accompanying scientists practically instituted Egyptology) but when Nelson destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile the army was cut off from France. Afraid of losing political opportunities and checked at Acre in Syria, Napoléon left the army, reached France after again avoiding the British in a fast frigate, and engineered the coup d’état of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799) which overturned the unpopular Directory and made him the first of three consuls and virtual ruler of France. At once he proved himself a great administrator: local government was centralised through prefects; the civil code of law (Code Napoléon) was issued; the Bank of France was created, and, with military needs in mind, roads (e.g. Mont Cenis pass), bridges etc. were built and ports re-equipped. Meanwhile victories over Austria (again at war) at Marengo and Hohenlinden (*Moreau) enabled peace to be made with them at Luneville (1801) and at Amiens with Britain (1802); the latter enabling the army of Egypt to return. A referendum in May 1802 voted overwhelmingly (99 per cent) to make him Consul for life. In 1803 he sold Louisiana, acquired from Spain, to the United States. In 1804 a docile Senate proclaimed the conqueror Emperor of the French, and in December, Pope *Pius VII was brought to Paris for the coronation in Notre Dame. A court formed from some returned émigrés and a new aristocracy of talent achieved a somewhat artificial splendour. Titles of nobility were restored. In 1805 continental war was resumed after *Pitt organised a coalition of Britain, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Naples against France. Napoléon moved the army, assembled at Boulogne for the invasion of England, into central Europe: Austerlitz (1805), Jena (1806) and Friedland (1807) were the most important of the victories by which the coalition now including Prussia, was subdued. In 1806 he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, simply by declaring that it no longer existed. After the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) Russia became his firm ally. A major purpose of his reorganisation of the Continent was to weaken Britain by shutting it off from European trade. During the next few years he made his brother *Louis King of Holland and created the Confederation of the Rhine (later the kingdom of Westphalia), for his brother *Jerome. He became King of Italy himself while his brother *Joseph (succeeded later by his brother-in-law *Murat) was made King of Naples. His greatest mistake was to invade Spain (1808), where he transferred Joseph as King, and Portugal, thus opening up a battleground for the British (the Peninsular War) where *Wellington’s army was a constant drain on his resources. Austria again took up arms (1809) but after the Battle of Wagram had to sue for peace. To satisfy his pride and prolong his dynasty, Napoléon divorced Josephine (1809) and married (1810) *Marie Louise, daughter of the Austrian emperor *Franz II. Their son, the future Duke of Reichstadt (*Napoléon II), was born in 1811. Restiveness at the restrictions on trade caused by Napoléon’s Continental System, directed against Britain, was the prime cause of the tsar’s estrangement, which led to Napoléon’s invasion of Russia (1812). The catastrophic winter retreat from Moscow after the burning of the city virtually destroyed the Grand Army, and though Napoléon raced ahead of his exhausted troops and raised new armies they were never of the quality of the old. In 1813 all his old enemies resumed the struggle, Napoléon’s hold on Germany was lost and after his decisive defeat at the ‘Battle of the Nations’ at Leipzig in October he had to withdraw across the Rhine. In 1814, with Wellington’s army advancing from Spain and the Allies breaking into France from Germany, Napoléon’s skill could only delay the end. He abdicated at Fountainebleau in April and was granted sovereignty of the Italian island of Elba. From there, in March 1815, to the victors haggling over terms at the Congress of Vienna came the electrifying news that Napoléon had escaped to France. As though by magic the country rallied to his side, his old marshals, troops, the country at large. King *Louis XVIII fled and for a hundred days Napoléon was emperor once again. But Europe had had enough. The Prussians and British were first in the field, and though for a time it looked as if by dividing and defeating his opponents in turn Napoléon might achieve yet another miracle, his final defeat at Waterloo, south of Brussels (18 June 1815), by coalition forces under the command of *Wellington and *Blücher, ended the story. He abdicated once again and surrendered to the British. He was sent to the Atlantic island of St Helena where he spent his last years in creating, through his self-justificatory Memorial, the Napoleonic legend, with such effect that in 1840 his body was reburied with pomp and splendour in Paris at the behest of Louis Philippe, a member of the royal line that Napoléon had consistently opposed.
Napoléon was a great commander and administrator and few men have had a greater gift for inspiring devotion. His legal codes and his centralised administrative system have endured in France, and several other countries of Europe. By sweeping away the feudal remnants of the Holy Roman Empire he enabled a new Germany to be born, and he showed that a united Italy could be more than a dream. But he was ambitious beyond measure, cynical, unscrupulous and ruthless.
Geyl, P., Napoléon, For and Against. 1965; Lachouque, H., The Anatomy of Glory: Napoléon and His Guard. 1978; Schom, A. Napoléon Bonaparte. 1997; Dwyer, P., Napoleon 1769–1799: The Path to Power. 2008; McLynn, F., Napoleon: A Biography. 2011; Roberts, A., Napoleon: A Life. 2014; Gueniffey, P., Bonaparte. 2015; Broers, M., Napoléon, vol. 1 Soldier of Destiny, 1769–1805. 2014, vol. 2. The Spirit of the Age, 1805–10. 2018; Zamoyski, A., Napoleon. The Man Behind the Myth. 2018.
Napoléon II (Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte), Duke of Reichstadt (1811–1832). Titular King of Rome 1811–14. Son of *Napoléon I and the empress *Marie Louise, he received the title of ‘King of Rome’ at birth. After his father’s second abdication (June 1815), he was, at the age of four, proclaimed as Emperor Napoléon II by loyal Bonapartists, but never recognised. Brought up at the court of his grandfather, *Franz II, he became a serious student, served in the Imperial Habsburg army, but was kept under strict supervision until his early death from tuberculosis. Known as ‘L’Aiglon’ (‘the Eaglet’), his remains were transferred from Vienna to Paris in 1940 at *Hitler’s orders.
Napoléon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte) (1808–1873). Emperor of the French 1852–70. His father, Louis *Bonaparte, was the brother of *Napoléon I, who had made him King of Holland, his mother, Hortense de Beauharnais, was a daughter of the empress *Josephine. Brought up in Germany and Switzerland, he was fired as a young man by liberal causes, took part in a rising in the Romagna against the pope’s temporal power and organised revolts against the French monarchy, including one at Strasbourg (1836) for which he was deported. In England (where he lived 1839–40) he published Idées Napoléoniennes, which interpreted his uncle’s political thought and showed where his own ideas were heading. In 1840 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for trying to stir the troops in Boulogne to revolt, but after six years escaped from the castle of Ham and fled to London. After the deposition of King *Louis Philippe (1848) he was elected to the National Assembly, at once returned to Paris and in December was elected president of the new republic, winning 74 per cent of the vote, defeating Louis-Eugène *Cavaignac. In a coup d’état (December 1851) he proclaimed himself Emperor, though his action was approved by plebiscite and he imitated his uncle’s institutions. He tried to forestall future opposition by creating prosperity at home and pursuing a liberal policy abroad. Thus he opened up the country with railways, encouraged the formation of banks, created and protected new industries and, through Georges-Eugène *Haussmann, rebuilt the capital. Great exhibitions (1855 and 1867) displayed French achievements to the world. He avoided his uncle’s mistake of quarrelling with Britain; both nations were allies in the Crimean War (1854–56). Without his help and the French victories over the Austrians (1859) at Magenta and Solferino the unification of Italy would have been impossible, but he lost much of the credit by exacting Savoy and Nice as the price of his support, and by using a French garrison to maintain papal rule in Rome, so keeping the Italians out of their natural capital. In doing this he was partly influenced by his beautiful Spanish wife, *Eugénie de Montijo (married 1853), an active supporter of the papal cause. A much worse loss of prestige resulted from sending an army into Mexico on a debt-collecting mission. Having gained control of the country and installed *Maximilian, an Austrian archduke, as Emperor, he withdrew his troops under American pressure, leaving Maximilian to his fate.
Meanwhile republican opposition had been growing and the Emperor had only halfhearted support when he allowed himself to be manoeuvred by *Bismarck into the France-Prussian War. In the military debacle which followed, Napoléon was captured at Sedan (1870) and two days later a republic was declared. After the war Napoléon spent the last two years of his life at Chislehurst, Kent, and died after a failed operation for kidney stones. He was reburied at Farnborough in 1888. His only son, Napoléon Eugène Louis (1856–1879), known as the Prince Imperial, was killed fighting for Britain in the Zulu War.
Ridley, J., Napoléon and Eugenie. 1979.
Narayan, R(asipuram) K(richnaswamy) (1906–2001). Indian novelist, born in Madras. His novels and short stories, set in Malgudi, an invented area in south India, and written in English, were much admired by Graham *Greene and V. S. *Naipaul for their penetrating analysis of the conflict of cultures, class and caste, Hinduism and secularism. His novels include Swami and Friends (1935), Waiting for the Mahatma (1958), The Guide (1958), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983), The World of Nagaraj (1990) and The Grandmother’s Tale (1993).
Narayanan, Kocheril Raman (1921–2005). Indian politician. An ‘Untouchable’, educated in London, he became a journalist and diplomat. He was Minister for Science and Technology 1986–89, Vice President of India 1992–97 and President 1997–2002.
Narses (c.478–c.573). Armenian administrator and general. A eunuch, he rose to high office in the imperial household at Constantinople and proved his usefulness to the emperor *Justinian by suppressing (532) an insurrection in the city. He was sent to Italy (538) to assist (and perhaps spy upon) *Belisarius and to gain experience of command. He was soon brought back to Constantinople but after the Goths had taken advantage of the recall of Belisarius (548) to conquer most of the country, Narses was sent to Italy (552) with a large army to retrieve the situation. To the surprise of all he showed great military skill, defeated the Ostrogothic leader Totila in a decisive battle, recaptured Rome and by 554 had driven Totila’s Frankish allies from northern Italy. He governed Italy until 567, when, in his ninth decade, he retired to Naples. His date of death is uncertain.
Naruhito (regnal name Reiwa, i.e. ‘beautiful harmony’) (1960– ). Emperor of Japan 2019– . Born in Tokyo, the son of *Akihito, he became the 126th emperor on his father’s abdication in April 2019.
Nash, John (1752–1835). English architect. Having developed his professional skill while employed by Sir Robert Taylor, he used money inherited from an uncle for speculative building, a venture that led to bankruptcy. He then moved to Wales where he practised with success and formed a partnership with the landscape gardener Humphry *Repton, who may have brought him to the notice of the Prince of Wales (*George IV). The connexion brought him many commissions for country houses and when the prince became regent (1811), it was to Nash that he turned for the realisation of his ambitious scheme for developing London’s West End. Regent Street (now rebuilt) began the approach to the redesigned Marylebone Park (now Regent’s Park), round part of which were built the famous ‘Nash terraces’ of stucco houses that still survive. The planning of Trafalgar Square and its relationship to a redeveloped St James’s Park area were all part of the general scheme, and Buckingham House was reconstructed as Buckingham Palace. Nash also created the Brighton pavilion for his royal patron (1818–21). As a town planner he had few equals, as an architect he popularised the Regency style of stucco-covered houses in the classical idiom which, despite technical defects, had much dignity and charm and set the pattern (followed with little taste and understanding) for the monotonous Victorian developments of the next decades.
Davis, T., The Prince Regent’s Architect. 1973.
Nash, John Forbes, Jr (1928–2015). American mathematician. He worked for the Rand Corporation but suffered from schizophrenia and was often institutionalised over a 30–year period. He shared the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on games theory, based on research at Princeton in 1950. His life was the basis of an Academy Award winning film, A Beautiful Mind (2001).
Nasar, S., A Beautiful Mind. 1998.
Nash, Ogden (1902–1971). American poet. His humorous verse, featured in the New Yorker, was notable for lines of irregular length and unconventional rhymes. Several collections have been published, e.g. The Private Dining Room (1953), You Can’t Get There from Here (1957) and The Untold Adventures of Santa Claus (1965).
Nash, Paul (1889–1946). English painter. Trained at the Chelsea Polytechnic, he was a regular exhibitor at the New English Art Club and became known mainly for landscapes in a simplified geometric style influenced by Cubism. An official artist in both World Wars, he was adept at investing with symbolism the debris of a battlefield. Some of the most striking of his war pictures are in the Imperial War Museum. From 1927 he introduced a note of surrealism and exhibited at the London surrealist exhibition (1936). He also designed, especially in his earlier career, textiles, book illustrations and stage settings. His brother, John Nash (1893–1977), was also a landscape painter.
Eates, M., Paul Nash. 1973.
Nash, Richard (known as ‘Beau’ Nash) (1674–1762). English fashion leader and dandy, born in Swansea. Educated at Oxford, he was a soldier and lawyer, but lived by his wits and as a gambler. He went to Bath in 1704 and soon became ‘master of ceremonies’ at the spa, with autocratic powers over dress and behaviour in the assembly rooms and other places of resort. He introduced gambling, duelling, and a dance band from London. Road improvements and even street lighting came under his control, and Bath became the most fashionable of English spas.
Nash (or Nashe), Thomas (1567–1601). English pamphleteer and dramatist. Educated at Cambridge, he became one of the group of playwrights and pamphleteers known as ‘university wits’. The Anatomy of Absurdities (1589) and Pierce Penilesse (1592) were satirical exposures of the evils of society in his day. He wrote the first picaresque novel in English, The Unfortunate Traveller (1594). His play The Isle of Dogs (1597), which attacked abuses of state power with such freedom that he was imprisoned, is lost.
Hibbard, G. R., Thomas Nash. 1962.
Nash, Sir Walter (1882–1968). New Zealand politician. He emigrated from England (1909) and became a Labour MP 1929–68 and Minister of Finance 1935–49. He wrote New Zealand: A Working Democracy (1943). After Labour’s 1949 defeat he succeeded Peter *Fraser as party leader 1950–63. Prime Minister for a single term 1957–60, he received a GCMG and CH.
Sinclair, K., Walter Nash. 1976.
Nasmyth, James (1808–1890). Scottish engineer. He invented the first successful steam hammer, which he patented in 1842. That the first one to be built was constructed in France was probably due to the pirating of his design. The hammer permitted the production of metal forgings of better quality and much greater size. He also invented the stop-valve and a steam pile-driver. The success of his foundry, established (1834) at Bridgewater, near Manchester, enabled him to retire with a fortune at the age of 48. His autobiography was edited by Samuel *Smiles (1883).
Nasser, Gamal Abdel (1918–1970). Egyptian soldier and politician, born in Alexandria. He had a successful military career and emerged with credit from the war with Israel (1948–49). He was the chief organiser of the revolt (1952) which under General *Neguib deposed King Farouk. Having supplanted Neguib, he was Prime Minister 1954–56 and President of Egypt 1956–70. His nationalisation of the Suez Canal (1956) provoked Anglo-French-Israeli military intervention. Egypt and Syria made a political union in 1958, as the United Arab Republic, under Nasser’s presidency; despite Syria’s withdrawal in 1961 the name was retained. His later attempts to form an Arab federation under Egyptian leadership were constantly foiled. He obtained much economic and military aid from Russia but remained doctrinally ‘neutralist’.
Lacouture, J., Nasser: A Biography. 1973.
Nathan, George Jean (1882–1958). American editor and dramatic critic. With H. L. *Mencken he edited Smart Set (1914–23) and founded the American Mercury (1924). He was for many years the leading American dramatic critic. His collection of criticisms included The House of Satan and The Morning after The First Knight.
Nation, Carry (Amelia) (née Moore) (1846–1911). American temperance advocate. Famous for her hatchet-wielding exploits in Kansas against bars and saloons, she also campaigned against foreign foods, pornography, tobacco and corsets and for female suffrage. She was jailed many times.
Navratilova (originally Šubertova), Martina (1956– ). American tennis player, born in Prague. She defected to the US in 1975. The most consistent winner in women’s tennis, she won the singles titles at Wimbledon 1978–79, 1982–87, 1990. She retired in 2006 and became an active campaigner for animal and gay rights.
Nebuchadnezzar (or Nebuchadrezzar) II (d.562 BCE). King of Babylonia 605–562. He recovered many of the lost provinces of the empire and added more. In 597 he took Jerusalem and in 586, after a revolt, destroyed the city and took most of the people into captivity in Babylonia. He rebuilt the city of Babylon, where at his palace he constructed the famous ‘hanging gardens’, regarded as one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.
Nechayev, Sergei Gennadyevich (1847–1882). Russian anarchist. A professional revolutionary, he was the archetypical terrorist and died in prison.
Necker, Jacques (1732–1804). French-Swiss financier, born in Geneva. Having made a large fortune as a banker he represented Geneva in Paris, where his wife’s salon attracted literary celebrities as well as businessmen. As French Director-General of Finance 1777–81, Necker made such an impression by his integrity and was so successful with his administrative economies that he was able to raise money without difficulty for the War of American Independence. Those who had suffered from his measures forced his retirement (1781) and he was not recalled until 1788, when France was on the brink of the Revolution. He advised *Louis XVI to summon the Estates-General but the consequence of this step lost him the King’s confidence. He was dismissed (July 1789), only to be reinstated a few days later when the Bastille fell. Disillusioned by events, he finally retired to Switzerland in 1790. His daughter became famous as Madame de *Stael.
Needham, (Noel) Joseph (Terence Montgomery) (1900–1995). British biochemist and historian. Educated at Cambridge, where he worked all his life, he produced the encyclopaedic Chemical Embryology (1931). A Christian Marxist, he visited China 1942–46 as head of a scientific mission, then devoted the rest of his career to a massive study of Science and Civilisation in China (1954 ff: seven volumes by 2004). Elected FRS and FBA, he was Master of Gonville & Caius College 1966–72 and received a CH in 1992.
Werskey, G., The Visible College. 1978; Winchester, S., The Man Who Loved China. 2008.
Nefertiti (or Nofretete) (fl. c.1460 BCE). Egyptian Queen. She was wife of *Akhenaten and aunt to *Tutankhamen. A beautiful limestone polychrome bust of her, one of the world’s greatest art works, was found in Tel-el-Amarna (Akhetaten) in 1912 and first displayed in Berlin in 1923.
Negrin, Juan (1891–1956). Spanish politician. As a professor at the University of Madrid he played an active role in the socialist party. On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Negrin’s resolution singled him out as a leader and he was Premier 1937–39. He took refuge in France and England on the Republican defeat.
Nehru, Jawaharlal (1889–1964). Indian politician, born in Allahabad. A Kashmiri Brahmin by descent, he was son of Motilal Nehru (1861–1931) a rich lawyer who had led the Swaraj (Home Rule) party. Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge (where Bertrand *Russell was his tutor), he was admitted to the English bar and returned to India in 1916. From the moment he met *Gandhi his life was given to politics. He joined the Indian National Congress (1918) and was President in 1929 and four times subsequently. He was not a pacifist like Gandhi and did not share his economic views but his personal devotion was intense, and while agitation and propaganda were the main activities their differences lacked practical importance. Nehru’s terms of imprisonment 1921, 1926–29, 1931–34, 1942–44 increased his influence. Complete independence was always his aim for India and after the failure of the *Cripps mission he was interned for his rebellious attitude. After the war, when the subcontinent was partitioned between India and Pakistan, Nehru’s prestige inevitably made him the first Prime Minister of India 1947–64 (and also Foreign Minister 1946–64). Owing to the immense difficulties of his task his success was only partial. He kept his country within the Commonwealth, achieved some success with industrialisation and maintained democratic forms of government, with stability and order. But the Kashmir problem remained unsolved and he shocked world opinion by invading Goa. His policy of nonalignment with the eastern or western power blocs did not prevent the Chinese invasion of 1962. Nevertheless when he died the consensus was that a great influence for good had gone from the world. His daughter Indira *Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966. He wrote an autobiography (1936) and several historical works including Glimpses of World History (1939) written from an Asian perspective.
Gopal, S., Jawaharlal Nehru. 2 vols, 1975, 1979.
Nelson, Horatio, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758–1805). English sailor, born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. Son of a clergyman, he joined the navy (1770) and served in the Arctic, North America, and the West Indies 1783–87, where he married a widow Frances Nisbet. He lived, unemployed, on half pay in Norfolk 1787–93 until recalled to service by war with France. He served in the Mediterranean (with spectacular actions in the North Atlantic) 1793–97, 1798–1800, 1803–05, gaining rapid promotion and a reputation as an outstanding leader. In the battle of Cape St Vincent, off Portugal (February 1797), as second-in-command to Sir John Jervis (later Earl of *St Vincent), he took a decisive role in defeating a larger Spanish squadron and received a knighthood. He lost the sight of his right eye in an assault on Calvi, Corsica (1794) and his right arm was shattered and amputated in a failed action at Tenerife in the Canary Islands to capture a treasure ship (1797). In the Battle of the Nile (August 1798), Nelson, having pursued the French Mediterranean Fleet to Aboukir (Abu Qir) Bay, off Alexandria, destroyed it and cut off Bonaparte’s forces in Egypt. He was created a baron in 1798. In Naples in 1793 he had met Sir William and Lady (Emma) *Hamilton; five years later she became his mistress with her husband’s apparent approval. They often travelled as a ménage à trois and Nelson was prominent in Neapolitan society. King *Ferdinand I appointed him commander of his fleet and created him Duke of Brontë (1799). The Admiralty disapproved of Nelson’s Neapolitan involvements and made him deputy Commander-in-Chief of the North Sea and Baltic Fleet 1801–03. He won the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), inflicted heavy losses on the Danes, Napoléon’s allies, and was promoted Viscount (1801) and Vice Admiral. Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet 1803–05, he kept watch on Toulon for two years but the French admiral *Villeneuve used bad weather as an opportunity to escape, planning to link up with the French Atlantic fleet as part of a proposed invasion of Britain. At Trafalgar (just west of Gibraltar), 21 October 1805, Nelson had his last and greatest victory, when his 27 ships defeated a French-Spanish fleet of 33, establishing British naval supremacy for a century. Fatally shot by a French sniper on his flagship HMS Victory, he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral after a great upsurge of national grief and patriotism, in the sarcophagus designed for Cardinal *Wolsey. Nelson, subject of many legends, created a new leadership style, involving consultation with other officers and improving conditions at sea. He became extraordinarily popular with both sailors and public, although *Wellington (understandably envious) thought him absurdly vain. His elder brother William Nelson (1757–1835), an opportunist Anglican priest, was created 1st Earl Nelson (1805).
Pocock, T., Horatio Nelson. 1987; Sugden, J., Nelson. The Sword of Albion. 2012.
Nenni, Pietro (1891–1980). Italian Socialist politician. Exiled by *Mussolini (1926), he fought for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. After Mussolini’s fall (1943) he was able to resume political life in Italy and became President of the Socialist Party. In the postwar coalitions he was a Deputy Prime Minister 1945–46 and Foreign Minister 1946–47. His close association with the Communists caused a party split (1947) and a breakaway, under *Saragat, of the Socialist right wing. He rejoined the government in 1963, and in successive coalitions under *Moro he was Vice President of the council.
Nennius (or Nemnius) (fl. c.830). Welsh historian. His Latin work Historia Brittonum is now thought to be a compilation and translation of lost originals. It describes the Anglo-Saxon invasions and gives the earliest account of King *Arthur and his knights of the round table.
Nepos, Cornelius (c.100–25 BCE). Roman historian. Of his lives of the famous (De Viris Illustribus) some 25 survive. His lost writings include a universal history and letters to his friend *Cicero.
Neri, St Philip (1515–1595). Italian religious reformer, born in Florence. He went to Rome (1533) as a tutor but from 1538 led an ascetic life, sleeping in the catacombs, visiting the sick and instructing the poor. He was ordained (1551) and while continuing his work among the poor he found a new vocation in making religion attractive to the young by holding informal meetings that combined religious instruction and discussion with social and musical entertainment. In 1575 with papal consent he founded the first Oratory in Rome, a brotherhood of secular priests, which to some extent formalised his earlier work. Remembered as one of the most vivacious, human and lovable of all saints, he was canonised in 1622.
Nernst, Walther Hermann (1864–1941). German physical chemist. A professor at Göttingen 1891–1905 and Berlin 1905–33, his many important contributions to structural chemistry included his ‘solution pressure’ theory (1889) to explain the production of electromotive force in electrical cells, the concept of solubility product (1889), which governs the precipitation of solids from solution, and the ‘Nernst heat theorem’ (1906), which later became known as the Third Law of Thermodynamics (that entropy falls towards zero at –273.15°C). For this he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1920). He also described the phenomenon of chain reaction (1918), later taken up by Leo *Szilard. He was a supporter of *Einstein, and opposed the Nazis.
Nero (Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus) (37–68 CE). Roman Emperor 54–68. Proclaimed Emperor at the instigation of his mother *Agrippina (a sister of *Caligula) on the death of her husband the emperor *Claudius, he began his reign with his tutor *Seneca, timid but wise, to guide his inexperience. Only too soon, however, his character showed itself. Claudius’ son Britannicus, the rival claimant, was poisoned, Agrippina and Nero’s own wife, Octavia, were also put to death. Nero instituted a fierce persecution of the Christians to provide scapegoats who could be blamed for the great fire (64) which destroyed much of Rome, for which he was the obvious suspect. His grandiose plans for rebuilding work, including his ‘golden palace’ on the Palatine Hill, demanded money that could only be obtained by exactions of every kind. Plots, real or imaginary, yielded victims such as *Seneca, *Lucan and a host of rich, distinguished men, whose property could be confiscated. Meanwhile the Emperor’s vanity led him to appear in public as a musician or charioteer; passion and cruelty caused him, one crime of many, to kick his wife Poppaea to death. Finally the legions of Gaul and Spain proclaimed *Galba Emperor in his place. The praetorian guards and senate also turned against him, and Nero, in desperate flight and already hearing the sounds of pursuit, nerved himself to take his own life. External events of the reign included Boadicea’s revolt in Britain and peace treaties with the Parthians.
Neruda, Pablo (Neftali Ricardo Reyes) (1904–1973). Chilean poet. Considered one of the most original modern Spanish poets, he began publishing his verse in Chile in 1923. He met the Spanish poet Federico Garcia *Lorca in 1933 and his work was introduced to Spain. Much of his strongest realist poetry was written in reaction to the Spanish Civil War and the outbreak of World War II. After the war he entered political life in Chile as a Communist but was forced out in 1948, went into hiding and wrote Canto general (1950), an epic poem, set as an oratorio by Mikis *Theodorakis (1972). He returned to Chile in 1952 and was Ambassador to France 1970–72. Awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature, he served on UNESCO’s Executive Board 1972–73.
Aguirre, M. (ed.), Obras completas de Pablo Neruda. 2nd edn. 1968.
Nerva, Marcus Cocceius (c.30–98 CE). Roman Emperor 96–98. He proved a humane and tolerant ruler when raised to the purple by the Senate after the assassination of *Domitian. He was, in fact, only a stop-gap and assured a vigorous successor by selecting *Trajan as his heir.
Nerval, Gérard de (Gérard Labrunie) (1808–1855). French Romantic writer. His translation of *Goethe’s Faust (1828) was praised by the poet and used by *Berlioz and *Gounod; he knew Victor *Hugo and collaborated with Alexandre *Dumas in a successful comic opera, Piquillo (1837). Théophile *Gautier was a lifelong friend. While living a self-consciously bohemian life in Paris (he is said to have led a lobster on a ribbon), he wrote essays, poems including the beautiful mysterious sonnets known as the Chimères (1854) and travel sketches, resulting from his searches in Europe and the East for exotic backgrounds. The ecstasies and agonies of his love affair with Jenny Colon are told in Sylvie, one of his many short stories, which became increasingly fantastic in later years. After a schizophrenic breakdown (1841), he was eight times committed to a hospital. His ability to distinguish reality from dream became more and more intermittent and eventually he hanged himself. He was much admired by *Proust.
Nervi, Pier Luigi (1891–1979). Italian engineer. He was a pioneer in the application of 20th-century engineering techniques to the construction of large buildings, especially the use of steel mesh clad with concrete, and of prefabricated components. This enabled him to design and build vast and often intricate structures. Outstanding are the Exhibition Halls at Turin (1949–50) and his buildings for the Olympic Games in Rome (1956–59).
Nesbit, E(dith) (married name Edith Bland) (1858–1924). English writer. After a sketchy education, she married the economist and serial philanderer Hubert Bland (1856–1914), was a follower of William *Morris and a friend of Eleanor *Marx, and a foundation member of the Fabian Society (1884). She wrote extensively to raise money for the family: 60 books (40 for children), including detective fiction, ghost stories and poetry. She published with the initial E to disguise her gender. Her children’s stories were noted for their cheerful realism. Five Children and It (1902), The Railway Children (1906), The Magic City (1910) and a series about the Bastable children are still in print, and some have been filmed. Her writing influenced J. K. *Rowling.
Moore, D. L., E. Nesbit. 1933, rev. 1966; Briggs, J., A Woman of Passion. 1987; Fitzsimons, E., The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit. 2019; Galvin, E., The Extraordinary Life of E. Nesbit. 2019.
Nesselrode, Karl Vasilyevich (1780–1862). Russian official, born in Lisbon. He was chief Russian representative at the Congress of Vienna 1814–15.
Nestlé, Henri (1814–1890). Swiss manufacturer, born in Germany. An artisan and inventor, he experimented with supplementary milk products for babies and established a plant in Vevey for making condensed milk. He sold out his interest in 1875 but the name was retained. The Nestlé company did not enter the chocolate market until 1904, now it is the world’s largest manufacturer. It currently describes itself as a ‘nutrition, health and wellness company’.
Nestorius (d. after 451). Christian theologian. A member of a community of monks near Antioch he was chosen (428) to be patriarch of Constantinople by the emperor Theodosius II. His interpretation of the doctrines concerning the Godhead and Manhood of Jesus Christ were held to be heretical by the ecumenical synod of Ephesus (431) and Nestorius was deposed and (436) exiled to Egypt. The Nestorian Church came into being (c.500) under Persian protection, but it shrank under constant Mongol and Turkish persecution and only a remnant, now known as Assyrians, survives in the Middle East and the US.
Netanyahu, Benjamin (1949– ). Israeli politician, born in Tel Aviv. Son of the historian Benzion Netanhayhu, he was educated at MIT and Harvard, becoming a management consultant, then Ambassador to the United Nations 1984–88. He led the Likud party 1993– and narrowly defeated Shimon *Peres to become Prime Minister of Israel 1996–99, Foreign Minister 2002–03, 2003–05 under Ariel *Sharon, and again Prime Minister 2009– . Netanyahu was close to Donald *Trump. The longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister, after two indecisive elections in 2019, he was charged with corruption in January 2020. A third election in 2020 resulted in a power-sharing government in which Netanyahu agreed to resign in 2021 and be succeeded by Benny *Gantz.
Neuberger, David Edmond, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury (1948– ). British judge, born in London. After studying chemistry at Oxford, and working in a merchant bank, he became a barrister, a judge in 1996 and President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom 2012–17.
Neumann, (Johann) Balthasar (1687–1753). German architect, born in Bohemia. He studied in Paris, travelled in Italy and Austria, and built 100 churches. He brought German rococo to its highpoint in the Basilika Vierzehnheiligen (Fourteen Helpers), built 1750–72, at Bad Staffelstein, near Bamberg, in Bavaria and in the Residenz Palace at Würzburg.
Neumann, John von (1903–1957). Hungarian-American mathematician, born in Budapest. He studied chemistry in Zürich, received a PhD in mathematics from Budapest, published a classic definition of ordinal numbers at the age of 20, and taught at Göttingen. He migrated to the US in 1930, became a professor at Princeton University 1930–33 and at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) 1933–57. He wrote more than 150 papers on quantum theory, pure mathematics, logic, meteorology, games theory and computer programming. During World War II he worked on designing the atomic bomb and later was a ‘Cold War’ hardliner. He turned *Turing’s concept of a ‘universal computing machine’ into reality. His Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC), operational from 1947, was the first fully electronic computer, using binary notation and stored internal programming. Conventional computers are sometimes called ‘von Neumann machines’. He was a member of the US Atomic Energy Commission 1955–57. With Oskar *Morgenstern he wrote Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour (1944).
Neurath, Konstantin, Baron von (1873–1956). German diplomat and administrator. He was Ambassador to Italy in 1921 and to Britain in 1930. In 1932 he became Foreign Minister and remained so under *Hitler, until 1938. He was appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. Sentenced at Nuremberg to 15 years, he was released in 1954.
Neveu, Ginette (1919–1949). French violinist. A pupil of Georges *Enescu and Carl Flesch, she played with passion and classical grace and was killed in an aircraft crash.
Neville, Sir Henry (1562?–1615). English diplomat. Claimed (implausibly) as a possible author of *Shakespeare’s plays, he was an MP, widely travelled and Ambassador to France.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1st Duke of, Thomas Pelham-Holles (1693–1768). English Whig politician, born in London. Son of the 1st Baron Pelham, he added the name Holles when, as adopted heir, he inherited the estates of his uncle, Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne of an earlier creation. The dukedom was recreated for him in 1715. Thus richly endowed and having married a daughter of Lord *Godolphin he began his political career with every advantage. He and his younger brother Henry *Pelham worked closely with Robert *Walpole as adroit and indefatigable wielders of patronage. As a result, no Whig administration, for more than 40 years from 1717, could exist without them. Secretary of State for the Southern Department 1724–48 and for the Northern 1748–54, he succeeded his brother as Prime Minister (i.e. First Lord of the Treasury) 1754–56, 1757–62. In the period 1757–61 the driving force was William *Pitt and many great victories were won in the Seven Years’ War (1756–63). Chancellor of Cambridge University 1748–68, he was given a second Dukedom, Newcastle-under-Line, in 1756.
Newcomb, Simon (1835–1909). American astronomer and mathematician, born in Nova Scotia. Largely self-educated, he held an appointment at the Washington Naval Observatory, and a professorship at Johns Hopkins University 1884–93. He became the great authority on ephemerides (the trajectories of astronomical objects), and tabulated the motions of the Sun, Mercury, Mars and Venus. In 1896 an international conference in Paris adopted a worldwide unified system of astronomical constants based on Newcomb’s work. He collaborated with A. A. *Michelson in determining the velocity of light (1879). His popular books included Astronomy for Everybody (1903), he also edited the US Nautical Almanac. He was elected FRS and awarded the Copley Medal (1890). He hated the philosopher C. S. *Peirce, blocking publication of his work, and categorically rejected the possibility of manned flight. Asteroid 855 Newcombia, and craters on the Moon and Mars are named for him.
Newcomen, Thomas (1663–1729). English inventor, born in Devon. He invented the first practical steam engine, which he erected in 1712 after 10 years of experiment. Its main purpose was to pump water from mine shafts (e.g. of the tin mines of his native county). Its principles were later modified to achieve greater efficiency for wider use (*Watt). Owing to patenting difficulties, Newcomen made little or no financial profit from his invention.
Ne Win (‘Brilliant as the Sun’, originally Shu Maung) (1911–2002). During World War II, he collaborated with the Japanese, then began a guerrilla campaign against them. Premier 1958–60, 1962–74, he organised a military coup in 1962 and cut Burmese contacts with the outside world. President 1974–81, he remained the dominant influence under the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) military dictatorship. Although he retired from public life in 1988 he continued to exercise power behind the scenes.
Newman, Barnett (1905–1970). American painter. One of the New York school of Abstract Expressionists, he became a pioneer of colour field painting, characterised by large masses of unmodulated colour.
Newman, Ernest (né William Roberts) (1868–1959). English music critic. He studied in Liverpool, worked in a bank and was largely self-educated in music. Music critic for the Manchester Guardian, Birmingham Post and then for the Sunday Times 1920–59, he was learned, trenchant and witty. His many books include a definitive life of *Wagner (4 volumes, 1933–47), an authoritative monograph on Hugo *Wolf and studies of *Beethoven, *Liszt and Richard *Strauss.
Newman, V., Ernest Newman: A Memoir. 1963.
Newman, St John Henry (1801–1890). English cardinal, theologian and poet, born in London. Educated in Ealing, he studied at Trinity College, Oxford and was elected a Fellow of Oriel in 1822. As rector of St Mary’s, Oxford 1828–43, and in spiritual charge at Littlemore, he won an immense reputation as a preacher. In 1833 he heard a sermon on ‘National Apostasy’ by *Keble which he regarded as the starting point of the Tractarian (or Oxford) Movement, in which he played so pre-eminent a role. Its purpose was to reinvigorate the Anglican Church and, by turning back to the early Christian Fathers (of whose works Newman had made a profound study) as the custodians of doctrine, to reconcile the beliefs of the Roman and Anglican branches of the Catholic Church. Newman wrote many of the Tracts for the Times, but the same logic that made many of the movement’s supporters turn to the Roman Church led Newman eventually (1845) to take the same step. Ordained priest in 1847, shortly afterwards he founded an Oratory, a brotherhood of secular priests without vows (St Philip *Neri). Its branch in London came to be known as Brompton Oratory, the main body was at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Here Newman lived in seclusion, partly because of an estrangement between him and the more ultramontane Cardinal *Manning. Any suspicion of Vatican disapproval was, however, removed when Pope *Leo XIII made Newman a cardinal (1879). As a writer Newman was a supreme stylist as can be seen in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864), a vivid and moving spiritual autobiography written in reply to Charles *Kingsley, who had challenged his integrity. His other works include The Dream of Gerontius (1866), a dramatic poem on the flight of the soul from the body, which *Elgar set as an oratorio (1900). In 1852 he gave lectures on the nature of university education (emphasising the pursuit of truth rather than professional training or the dissemination of knowledge) which he expanded and published as The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated (1873). His tenure as rector of the proposed Catholic University of Dublin 1854–58 was deeply frustrating and he asked to be relieved. His major theological work was The Grammar of Assent (1870). Lead, Kindly Light, written before his conversion, is the best known of his many hymns. In the last years of his life Newman was revered by people of all denominations and his influence did much to encourage the progressive tolerance that has made possible the present-day search for a basis for Church reunion. He was beatified by Pope *Benedict XVI in September 2010, and canonised by Pope *Francis in October 2019.
His brother Francis William Newman (1805–1897), a Latin scholar and missionary, also left the Anglicans but became a Unitarian.
Ker, I., John Henry Newman. 1988; Martin, B., John Henry Newman. 2000; Gilley, S., Newman and His Age. 2002; Ker, I. and Merrigan, T., (eds), The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman. 2009.
Newton, Sir Isaac (1642–1727). English mathematician and physicist, born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire. Posthumous son of a small landowner, he was brought up in his birthplace after his mother’s remarriage (1645), by his maternal grandmother. Already, as a school boy, he had a reputation for making sundials and water clocks. He went in 1661 to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1665. When the college closed during the plague he was back at Woolsthorpe (1665–66) where at the age of 23 he worked out practically the whole of his universal law of gravitation. He built upon the work of *Galileo, but it was his genius to supply a generalised set of principles and provide a new and infinitely challenging conception of the universe. Moreover he devised the tools with which to give his concept mathematical expressions: by 1665 he had evolved the binomial theorem and devised the elements of the differential calculus, which he called fluxions. He also developed the integral calculus (inverse fluxions). Because of his inherent dislike of publications, these discoveries were not published until 1685 and this caused a bitter ‘priority’ controversy with *Leibniz. Yet another major discovery was made by this astonishing young man: he found (1666) that so-called white light is composed of many colours, which may be separated by a prism and then combined into white light again. Having returned to Cambridge in 1667 he was Lucasian professor of mathematics 1669–95. He constructed (1668) the first reflecting (Newtonian) telescope, in which he used a parabolic mirror to reflect and magnify the object observed. All of his discoveries were made by the age of 30. In 1672 he became a fellow of the Royal Society but more than 12 years elapsed before he published his findings, and even then it was only through the eager encouragement and help of the astronomer *Halley that his great Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), known as The Principia, appeared. In this he sought to explain all physical phenomena by a few generalised laws. His three ‘Laws of Motion’ and a systematised study of mechanics provide a starting point and he goes on to explain the action of the tides and the orbits of the planets. He ends by showing the philosophical conclusions to be deduced from the earlier sections of the work. In 1704 he published his Optics in which he advanced the corpuscular theory of light, later disproved by Thomas *Young. Newton was also a student of alchemy and biological chronology, to which he appears to have attached as much significance as to his scientific work.
Newton was President of the Royal Society 1703–27, MP for Cambridge 1689–90, 1701–02 and received a knighthood in 1705. His reports on the coinage (1717 and 1718) resulted from his appointment (1699) as Master of the Mint. He is buried in Westminister Abbey and is universally recognised as one of the greatest thinkers of all time. Newton was an isolate who never married and quarrelled bitterly with *Flamsteed, *Hooke and *Boyle.
The newton is the international unit of force and 8000 Isaac Newton is a minor planet.
White, M., Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer. 1997; Christianson, G. E., Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution. 1996; Hawking, S. (ed.), On the Shoulders of Giants. 2002; Gleick, J., Isaac Newton. 2003.
Ney, Michel (1769–1815). French marshal. Called by *Napoléon ‘the bravest of the brave’ he was a non-commissioned officer when the Revolution broke out. He rose quickly and by 1796 was general of a brigade. He was given the title Duke of Elchingen by Napoléon for the heroism with which he stormed the entrenchments in that engagement (1805). He won further distinction at Jena, Eylau and especially Friedland, and for the part he played at Smolensk and Borodin during the advance into Russia (1812), he was created Prince of Moscow. As leader of the rear-guard during the disastrous retreat he saved the remnants of the Grand Army from annihilation. When Napoléon abdicated (1814) Ney was allowed by *Louis XVIII to retain a command but when the emperor again landed (1815) his marshal joined him with his troops. Ney showed his courage once more in the Waterloo campaign but was caught when trying to reach Switzerland after the defeat and, despite efforts by *Wellington and others to save him, shot as a traitor.
Morton, J. B., Marshal Ney. 1958; Horricks, R., Marshal Ney, The Romance and the Real. 1982; Atteridge, A. H., Marshal Ney: The Bravest of the Brave. 2005.
Ngo Dinh Diem (1901–1963). Vietnamese politician, born in Annam. Son of a mandarin, and a Roman Catholic, he became a civil servant and minister of the interior from 1933. He refused to cooperate with the Japanese, *Ho Chi Minh or *Bao Dai, and lived abroad as a virtual recluse 1950–54. He was Prime Minister of the ‘State of Vietnam’ (i.e. the South) 1954–55, engineered Bao’s deposition, succeeding him as President (1955–63), during the period of open war with the North. A bachelor, his family aroused great hostility, especially his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and his wife. Although utterly dependent on US support, he refused advice, launched a campaign against the militant Buddhists and was murdered by army officers, together with Nhu (November 1963).
Nicholas I and II. Russian tsars see Nikolai I and II
Nicholas, St This semi-legendary figure, also known as ‘Santa Claus’, seems to be based on two historical bishops of Lycia in Asia Minor: Nicholas of Myra (d.c.326) was venerated for miraculously saving three generals condemned to death by *Constantine; Nicholas of Sion (d.564) was revered throughout the Byzantine Empire and his cult spread to Russia, of which he became the patron saint. Whatever his origin, the cult of St Nicholas spread rapidly in the west. Nicholas of Myra was first buried on the island of Gemile, which became an important place of pilgrimage (rediscovered in 1993), then buried in Myra. Bari, where his alleged bones—rescued it is said from the Seljuk Turks—were brought from Myra, became one of the most important places of medieval pilgrimage. As well as being the patron saint of children and the bringer of gifts on the day of his festival (6 December) his identification with ‘Father Christmas’ came later. He was impartially the patron of judges and murderers, pawnbrokers, merchants and thieves and especially scholars and sailors.
Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464). German theologian, mathematician and philosopher. Son of a Moselle boatman, he was nevertheless able to study at Heidelberg and Padua universities and presented to the Council of Basle (1413) his ideas (contained in On Catholic Concord but afterwards abandoned) on reforming the Church by giving a general council supremacy over the Pope. He also presented calendar reforms derived from his mathematical studies, which he pursued with the aim of arriving at exact truth. He did not, as scholars once claimed, anticipate *Copernicus’s conclusion that the earth revolves round the sun. After acting as papal legate in Germany 1440–47 he was made a cardinal (1448).
Nicholson, Ben(edict) (1894–1982). British abstract artist. Son of Sir William *Nicholson and husband (1938–51) of the sculptor Barbara *Hepworth, in the 1930s he was a member of the Unit One Group of British artists seeking a truly contemporary approach, and he developed a style allied to the Russian ‘constructivism’ and to *Mondrian. His work was first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1934, after which he exhibited widely and gained an international reputation. He was awarded the OM in 1968.
Nicholson, Jack (1937– ). American actor and film director. His films included Easy Rider (1969, Academy Award), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Chinatown (1974), The Passenger (directed by *Antonioni, 1974), One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Academy Award), Terms of Endearment (1984, Academy Award), Prizzi’s Honour (1984), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Batman (as the Joker, 1989), A Few Good Men (1992), Hoffa (1992) and As Good As It Gets (1997, Academy Award).
Nicholson, Sir William (Newzam Prior) (1872–1949). English painter, wood-engraver and lithographer, born in Nottinghamshire. With his brother-in-law James Pryde he became a popular artist with posters produced (1893–98) under the pseudonym ‘The Beggarstaffs’. He designed the first settings for *Barrie’s Peter Pan and painted many cool still lives e.g. The Hundred Jugs (1916), Onions and soup pot (1923). He taught Winston *Churchill to paint.
Nicias (d.414 BCE). Athenian politician and general. Cautious, conservative and virtuous, he was, after the death of *Pericles, the most important of the ‘generals’ (popularly elected commanders) left to carry on the Peloponnesian War against Sparta. His efforts for peace and pleas for prudence were constantly thwarted by the demagogue Cleon and by the headstrong *Alcibiades, who with Lamachus was appointed to share with Nicias the command of an attack upon Syracuse in Sicily, then a Spartan colony. When Alcibiades was recalled for impiety and Lamachus killed, Nicias was left in sole command of an expedition in which he did not believe. In the event he delayed evacuation too long, the Athenians were all killed or captured and Nicias taken and put to death.
Nicolle, Charles Jules Henri (1866–1936). French bacteriologist. Director of the Pasteur Institute at Tunis, he discovered (1909) that the body louse transmits typhus fever, and he also claimed success for immunisation against trachoma. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine (1928).
Nicolson, Sir Harold George (1886–1968). English author, born in Teheran. Son of Lord Carnock, educated at Oxford, he became a diplomat and in 1913 married the poet Vita *Sackville-West, and lived at Sissinghurst. After a brief political fling with Oswald *Mosley (1931), he was a National Labour (virtually independent) MP 1935–45, a strong opponent of the Munich agreement (1938) and held minor office under *Churchill. He joined the Labour Party in 1945. He wrote lives of *Byron, *Curzon and the official biography of *George V (1952) for which he received a KCVO. Other books include Some People (1927), Public Faces (1932) and Good Behaviour (1955). His Diaries and Letters 1930–62 (3 vols, 1966–68), edited by his son Nigel Nicolson, are valuable source documents for the period.
Nicolson, N., Portrait of a Marriage. 1973.
Niebuhr, Barthold Georg (1776–1831). German historian. After many years spent in public service, culminating with a term as Prussian Ambassador in Rome 1816–23, he lectured at Bonn on ancient history. His great History of Rome (3 volumes, 1811, 1812, 1832) set new standards of scholarship by his critical examination of original sources. Many of his conclusions remain unchallenged.
Niebuhr, Reinhold (1892–1971). American theologian. Educated at Yale, he taught at the Union Theological Seminary, New York 1928–60 and wrote many books, including The Nature and Destiny of Man (1941–43), which promoted the concept of a ‘social gospel’ with a heavy political emphasis.
Nielsen, Carl August (1865–1931). Danish composer. His Symphony No. 1 (1892–94) shows the influence of *Brahms, but other works of the 1890s illustrate a tendency towards combining contradictory keys which, first asserted prominently in the Symphony No. 2 (1902), led Nielsen towards polytonality. His works include four more symphonies, the comic opera Maskarade (1906) and a violin concerto (1911). He directed the Royal Danish Academy of Music 1930–31.
Grimley, D., Carl Nielsen and the Idea of Modernism.2010.
Niemeyer, Oscar (in full, Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho) (1907–2012). Brazilian architect. Strongly influenced by *Le Corbusier’s functional architecture, he designed many strikingly original buildings in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and was commissioned to design (1956) the principal buildings for the city of Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963 (Lúcio *Costa).
Niemöller, Martin (1892–1984). German Lutheran pastor. After being a submarine commander in World War I he was ordained in 1924. He at first supported but later actively opposed the Nazi regime and was held in a concentration camp from 1937 until the end of World War II. He was President of the World Council of Churches 1961–68.
Schmidt, D., Pastor Niemöller. 1959.
Niepce, Joseph Nicéphore (1765–1833). French inventor. He devised heliography, using sunlight to fix images on plates coated with Jericho pitch as early as 1822, and this was the precursor of photography. He later collaborated with *Daguerre who developed a much faster process for fixing sharper images.
Nietzsche, Friedrich (Wilhelm) (1844–1900). Prussian philosopher, philologist and cultural critic, born in Röcken. Son of a pastor, he studied classical philology at Bonn and Leipzig and showed such ability that in 1869 even before graduation he was appointed to a professorship at Basel University. He served in the Franco-Prussian War (1870) and contracted dysentery and diphtheria which kept him in pain for much of his life. His earliest work, The Birth of Tragedy … (1871), was dedicated to *Wagner whose operas he clearly regarded as being in the line of descent from Greek dramas. The influence of Wagner again and of *Schopenhauer is apparent and acknowledged in a group of essays published 1873–76, in one of which he enunciates the principle, elaborated in his later work, that it is not the movements of masses that are historically significant but the deeds of the great. He admired the culture of the ‘pagan’ Greeks and the Renaissance and considered Christianity to be ‘slave morality’ and democracy (‘a mania for counting noses’), the machinery by which quantity (i.e. of the weak and the mediocre) usually prevails over quality. In summarising the last 2000 years of history as a conflict between Rome and Judaea, he was using these nations primarily as symbols for his two contrasting types, the hero and the weakling slave.
His sexuality is ambiguous. He twice proposed marriage to Lou Andreas-*Salomé in 1882 and was briefly in a ménage à trois with her and the writer Paul Reé. Some of his writing is misogynist, some deeply sympathetic to women being forced into sex within marriage.
In The Gay Science (1882) he wrote that ‘God is dead. And we have killed him’. Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883–85), his major work, he argued there is no life other than the short physical one on earth, there is no transcendence, predicted that the collapse of religion would lead to ‘nihilism’ with no coherent set of beliefs, and that only great leaders could change this. He developed the concept of the Übermensch, a term first used by *Goethe (usually translated as ‘Superman’, but more accurately as ‘Above man’), ‘beyond good and evil’, demonstrating his (her?) own characteristics courage, self-reliance, pride in his strength and superiority, an enthusiastic or defiant acceptance of everything, good fortune or ill, that life has to offer. He developed these propositions in Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and Towards a Genealogy of Morals (1887).
Although some of his ideas were adapted and adopted by Fascists and Nazis, and his Superman seemed to be epitomised by *Mussolini and *Hitler, Nietzsche despised genetic racism and anti-Semitism. In 1888 he wrote an autobiography, Ecco Homo, and Nietzsche contra Wagner, a rather lightweight attack on his former hero, because he detested the Christianity implicit in Parsifal (much preferring *Bizet’s Carmen).
In January 1889 in Turin he had a spectacular mental collapse, apparently triggered by observing a horse being flogged, was sent to a clinic, but after 1890 was in the care of his mother and sister. Nietzsche suffered from frontotemporal dementia, probably caused by a brain tumour, rather than syphilis or strokes. He lacked enthusiasm for Prussian or German nationality, oddly claiming Polish ancestry and was probably stateless when he died, in Weimar. He was admired by *Strindberg, Richard *Strauss, Bernard *Shaw, H. G. *Wells and W. B. *Yeats.
Deplorably, Nietzsche’s ideas have been misused to justify authoritarian and/or nationalist rule by both the Left and Right in many countries. His sister, (Therese) Elisabeth (Alexandra) Förster-Nietzsche (1846–1935), married Bernhard Förster who organised a failed Aryan colony, Neuva Germania, in Paraguay in 1887 and committed suicide in 1889. She returned to Germany in 1893, became her brother’s gatekeeper, created the Nietzsche Archive (1894) and promoted the falsity that Nietzsche’s philosophy was an intellectual foundation for anti-Semitism and, later, Nazism. She published works under his name which seriously misinterpreted his ideas and, bizarrely, was nominated seven times for the Nobel Prize for Literature and joined the Nazi Party.
Hollingdale, R. J., Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy. 1965; Prideaux, S., I Am Dynamite! A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche. 2018.
Nightingale (originally Shore), Florence (1820–1910). English pioneer of modern nursing, social reformer and statistician, born in Florence. Daughter of a wealthy Hampshire landowner, she was named for the city of her birth. Her parents were liberal Unitarians and she was privately educated in languages (she read six fluently) and mathematics. In 1837 she became convinced that she had been ‘called by God’ to undertake a mission but it was not until 1844 that she determined on nursing. She endured (and rejected) a nine-year courtship by Richard Monckton *Milnes. She travelled extensively (as far as Abu Simbel) and wrote her perceptive Letters from Egypt 1849–50, illustrated by herself, but not published until 1987. She gradually wore down parental opposition to her taking up nursing, visited and compared hospitals in England and Europe. In 1850 she worked closely with Lutheran deaconesses at Kaiserwerth-am-Rhein, and wrote an anonymous report (1851), also training with nursing sisters in a convent in Paris. In 1853 she became superintendent of the London Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen. On the outbreak of the Crimean War (1854), Sidney *Herbert, Secretary at War, asked her to take 38 nurses (and 15 Catholic nurses sent by Cardinal *Manning) to Istanbul (still called Constantinople in the West) and run the military hospital at Scutari (now Üsküdar).
Its appalling death rate was primarily caused by contaminated water, lack of sanitation, poor ventilation, bad food and inadequate care rather than by battle injuries and was higher than in some other military hospitals. Doctors were hostile to nursing intervention but the troops idolised her and, as her work was extensively reported in England, she became an almost legendary hero as ‘the Lady with the Lamp’. She emphasised the need for observation/monitoring and clean hands and at last the appalling death-rate began to shrink to comparatively low proportions. A similar task was attempted at hospitals at Balaklava in the Crimea.
She returned to England in 1856, gained the support of Queen *Victoria and urged the creation of a Sanitary Commission in 1857. She wrote the important textbook Notes on Nursing (1859). She had a powerful grasp of statistics and made effective use of her ‘rose diagram’ (essentially a pie-chart) to mount a continuous battle against officialdom, medical jealousy, incompetence and inertia, but at last she managed to overcome chaos and introduce cleanliness and sanitation, organise the provision of food as well as raising nursing standards. She used her own money and influence unsparingly. With £50,000 raised by public subscription she founded (1860) a nurses’ training school at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. A uniform for nurses and competitive examinations were among her other reforms that gave the nursing profession an entirely new status. She supported the ‘miasma’ theory for the spreading of disease, emphasising environmental factors rather than *Pasteur’s ‘germ theory’, which was only generally accepted after 1867.
She was an invalid 1858–80, suffering from chronic brucellosis and depression and was probably bi-polar. However, she had a new burst of energy from 1880 until 1896.
She supported votes for women from 1867, married women’s property rights, and access to education for the professions but was oddly ambivalent on gender issues, regarding females as being generally less capable than males, relied heavily on her male supporters, sometimes describing herself as ‘a man of action’.
She devoted herself to many other causes. She never visited India but maintained a 40-year interest, presenting statistical material on public health to the Royal Commission on India (1863) and writing at length on mysticism and eastern religions. From 1896 illness confined her to bed and gradually she sank into dementia. In 1907 she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. Asteroid 3122 Florence was named for her and India presents annual National Florence Nightingale Awards.
Woodham-Smith, C., Florence Nightingale. 1969; Smith, F. B., Florence Nightingale: Reputation and Power. 1982; Small, H., Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel. 1998; Bostridge, M., Florence Nightingale, the Woman and Her Legend. 2008.
Nijinsky, Vaclav Fomich (1889?–1950). Russian ballet dancer and choreographer. Trained at the Imperial school at St Petersburg, he became *Diaghilev’s lover and the leading dancer in his Ballets Russes in Paris (1909), where he enjoyed enormous popularity, especially in Le Spectre de la rose (1911). Later he created the leading roles in Petrushka, Scheherazade etc. His work as a choreographer, e.g. for *Debussy’s L’Après-midi d’un faune (1912) and Jeux (1913), and *Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (1913)‚ provoked both controversy and scandal. His health was undermined by a period of internment in Hungary during World War I and from 1919 he was schizophrenic. He is remembered as one of the greatest male dancers of all time and especially for the agility, lightness and grace of his prodigious leaps. Moreover his technical skill was matched by his interpretative powers and dramatic sense. His extraordinary diaries were published in a heavily expurgated form in 1922, in full in 1999. He died in London. His sister, Bronislava Nijinska (1891–1972), made a name for herself as a choreographer with such works as Les Noces (1923), Les Biches (1924) and Le Train bleu (1924).
Buckle, R., Nijinsky. 1971; Moore, L., Nijinsky. 2013.
Nikisch, Arthur (1855–1922). Hungarian conductor. Originally an orchestral violinist, he played under *Wagner and *Bruckner and became chief conductor of the Boston Symphony 1889–93, the Budapest Opera 1893–95, both the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Berlin Philharmonic 1895–1922 and the London Symphony 1905–13. He had a profound influence on conductors as diverse as *Koussevitzky, *Monteux, Talich, *Furtwängler, *Reiner, *Boult and *Szell.
Nikolai I (Nikolai Pavlovich) (1796–1855). Tsar of Russia 1825–55. Son of *Paul I, he became tsar when his elder brother Konstantin (1779–1831) renounced the succession. Konstantin’s name was invoked by the so-called ‘Decembrist’ plotters who were demanding reforms. The movement was easily suppressed, and though Nikolai appointed a committee to investigate the state of the country it was clear that he would permit no reform not emanating from himself. A codification of the law was, however, a definite achievement of the reign. Meanwhile Nikolai maintained his autocracy with the aid of censorship and secret police, cruelly suppressed a Polish rising (1830–31) and in 1849 sent an army to help the Emperor of Austria in quelling the Hungarian revolt. His readiness, however, to champion Turkey’s Christian subjects against the sultan involved him in the humiliations of the Crimean War, during which he died.
Nikolai II (Nikolai Aleksandrovich) (1868–1918). The last tsar of Russia 1894–1917. Eldest son of *Aleksandr III, he was an amiable weak man, failed to support any liberal movement and accepted the advice of reactionary ministers. The aftermath of the humiliating Russian defeat in the war with Japan (1904–05) forced him to accept an elected duma (parliament) but he quickly acquiesced in rendering it ineffectual. Socialist and revolutionary movements were driven underground, and, though for a time war with Germany temporarily relieved internal difficulties, defeats and governmental incompetence fanned discontent into open rebellion. Distrust of the tsarina, moreover, lost him the support of many of the aristocracy, his natural allies. Nikolai had married (1894) Princess Alix of Hesse Darmstadt (*Aleksandra). Of the five children of this happy marriage, only the youngest was a boy, Aleksei, who suffered from haemophilia. A charlatan monk *Rasputin, who seemed to have the power of relieving the boy’s illness, gained such complete power over the tsarina (and through her the tsar) that they were suspected of such treasonable acts as correspondence with the enemy. Thus when the Revolution broke out (March 1917) the tsar, lacking the determination or support to contest the issue, abdicated. In August with his wife and children he was taken to Siberia and in the following July the whole family was murdered by the Bolsheviks (*Anastasia), at Yekaterinberg. Nikolai was a kindly, well-meaning man but lacked the strength, ability and ruthlessness to be a successful autocrat. In 1993 the family’s remains were positively identified by DNA testing and interred in St Petersburg in July 1998.
Radzinsky, E., The Last Tsar. 1992; Massie, R. K., Nicholas and Alexandra. 1969.
Nimitz, Chester William (1885–1966). American fleet admiral, born in Texas. He joined the US Navy in 1905 and served in submarines during World War I. He became Chief of the Bureau of Navigation 1939–41 and after Pearl Habor was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet 1941–45 and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific 1942–45. With Douglas *MacArthur, he devised an ‘island-hopping’ strategy to defeat the Japanese and commanded the largest forces in naval history. Promoted to the five-star rank of Fleet Admiral in 1944, he received a British GCB in 1945. He was Chief of Staff of the US Navy 1945–47 and UN Mediator in Kashmir 1949.
Ninian, St (c.360–432). Scottish evangelist. While on a pilgrimage to Rome he was consecrated bishop (c.395) and, having visited St Martin at Tours on the way back, named after him the church of Whithorn in Galloway, which he founded. He succeeded in making many converts among the southern Picts.
Nirenberg, Marshall Warren (1927–2010). American biochemist, born in New York City. He shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine with Har Gobind Khorana and Robert Holley for decoding the base sequences in DNA and RNA.
Nivelle, Robert Georges (1856–1924). French general. Bilingual (his mother was English) and a Protestant, Nivelle was an artillery officer who served with *Pétain at Verdun (1916), then succeeded him as GOC of the Second Army. He replaced *Joffre as Commander-in-Chief (December 1916), planned a massive offensive against the Germans (1917), which failed to win significant territory despite huge casualties, provoking an army mutiny and a collapse in morale. Pétain then became Commander-in-Chief and Nivelle was relegated to North Africa.
Nixon, Richard M(ilhous) (1913–1994). 37th President of the US 1969–74. Born in Yorba Linda, California, he was the son of a gas station owner who tried lemon growing, then became a grocer in Whittier; his mother was a Quaker. Educated at Duke University, he became an attorney, served in the US Navy in World War II and then entered politics. As a Republican Congressman 1947–51 he gained prominence for his zeal on the notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities, and especially in his pursuit of Alger *Hiss. Elected as a senator from California 1951–53, he served as *Eisenhower’s Vice President 1953–61, playing an active role (unusual in the holders of that office), and travelled widely, e.g. to Russia in 1959. He won the Republican nomination to succeed Eisenhower in 1960 but lost narrowly to John F. *Kennedy, partly due to a series of television debates which appeared to put him at a disadvantage. He lost a contest against Pat *Brown for Governor of California in 1962, moved to New York as a lawyer, and did not seek presidential nomination in 1964. In 1968, with the Democrats in disarray over Vietnam, he was elected President, winning 43.4 per cent of the aggregate vote, defeating Hubert *Humphrey (42.7 per cent) and George *Wallace (13.5 per cent). Spiro *Agnew was his Vice President.
He promoted legislation on clean air, clean water, endangered species, created the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and expanded Medicare. His unexpected visit to Mao Zedong in Beijing (February 1972) eased much Cold War hysteria about the People’s Republic of China, but discomfited many of his traditional supporters. He began to ease the US out of Vietnam and attempted detente with the Soviet leadership. Nixon, encouraged by Pat *Buchanan, was the architect of the Republican Party’s successful ‘Southern Strategy’ in which states from the old Confederacy, which had voted Democrat since the Civil War, became strongly Republican, influenced by support for states’ rights, a conservative social agenda, gun ownership, patriotism, religious fundamentalism and silence on race. He pitched his political appeal to what he called ‘the silent majority’, citizens who accepted the status quo and avoided controversy.
Nixon’s obsessive but unfounded anxiety that the 1972 election would be another close result led to the sabotaging of Democrat candidates and illegal acts by his staff, notoriously an attempt to steal material from Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, Washington. Nixon won a landslide victory in 1972 over George *McGovern, winning 49 of 50 states.
Evidence of links between the Watergate burglary and the White House seeped out through hearings of the Senate Watergate Enquiry, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin, resulting in an indictment for conspiracy of seven close associates, including the Attorney-General, John Mitchell, and strenuous attempts to cover up the Watergate scandal. The ‘Watergate tapes’, recordings of conversations in the presidential office, were compelling evidence, and attempts to persuade courts to suppress them failed. A grand jury found Nixon was an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ and a House Committee recommended impeachment. In October 1973 Agnew had been forced to resign after conviction for receiving bribes from contractors as Governor of Maryland. In December Gerald *Ford was sworn in as Vice President after confirmation by the Senate and House of Representatives. Nixon became the first US president to resign (9 August 1974) and Ford succeeded him. He retired to San Clemente, California, published RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon in 1978, relocated to New Jersey and died in New York after a stroke.
In 18 Presidential ranking lists by US historians and political scientists, Nixon scored No. 30 in the aggregate.
Ambrose, S. E., Nixon. 3 vols, 1987, 1989, 1991; Aitken, J., Nixon. 1993; Summers, A., The Arrogance of Power. The Secret World of Richard Nixon. 2000; Black, C., Richard M. Nixon. A Life in Full. 2007; Perlstein, R., Nixonland. 2008; Farrell, J. A., Richard Nixon: The Life. 2018.
Ni Zan (or Ni Tsan) (1301–1374). Chinese painter, calligrapher and poet. With Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, and Wang Meng, he is described as one of the ‘Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty’.
Nkrumah, Kwame (1909–1972). Ghanaian politician. Educated at Achimota College, from 1935 he studied theology and philosophy in the US and in 1945 he attended the London School of Economics. Two years after his return to the Gold Coast (1947) he founded the Convention People’s Party and spent two years in prison 1949–51 for political agitation. In 1951 he was appointed first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast (Ghana from 1957) and became the first president of the Republic of Ghana 1960–66. He established authoritarian rule in a single-party state, and increasing vanity led him to self-glorification (e.g. he took the title of Redeemer) and to extravagant projects which had all but ruined the country’s economy when, during his absence in Moscow, he was deposed by a military coup (1966). His ambitious plan to unite the emergent African states in a federation under his leadership met with constant rebuffs. He lived in exile in Guinea and died in Bucharest.
Bretton, H. L., The Rise and Fall of Kwame Nkrumah. 1967.
Nobel, Alfred Bernhard (1833–1896). Swedish chemist. His main interest, the development of explosives, was inspired by his father, a manufacturer of explosives at St Petersburg (Leningrad), where he was brought up. From 1859 he studied the subject in Stockholm, and while seeking an effective means of making nitroglycerine safe to handle he invented (1867) dynamite, in which the introglycerine was dispersed in an earthy material called Kieselguhr. He left most of the large fortune he had made from the manufacture of explosives (about £2 million) for the establishment of five prizes to be awarded annually for literature, medicine (or physiology), physics, chemistry and the promotion of peace. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901.
Bergengren, E., Alfred Nobel: The Man and His Work. 1962; Bergengren, E., Nobel the Man and His Prizes. 1972.
Nobile, Umberto (1885–1978). Italian airman and explorer. Having risen to the rank of general, he took the airship Norge (with *Amundsen) across the North Pole (1926). He was severely censured for the crash (1928) of his airship Italia from which he was rescued after 40 days on the ice, but cleared in 1945. Meanwhile he had served as an aeronautical consultant in the USSR and the US, returning to Italy after *Mussolini’s fall.
Noel-Baker, Philip John, Baron Noel-Baker (1889–1982). British Labour politician and peace advocate. Educated at Cambridge, he was an athlete in the 1912 and 1920 Olympic Games. A professor of international relations at London University, 1924–29, he became a Labour MP 1929–31 and 1936–70, and served as a minister under *Attlee 1945–51. He won the 1959 Nobel Peace Prize for his book The Arms Race (1958).
Noether, (Amalie) Emmy (1882–1935). German-Jewish mathematician. She taught at Göttingen 1915–33, left Germany for the United States in 1935 but soon died after an operation. Considered as the greatest woman mathematician, she worked on abstract algebra and theoretical physics. ‘Noether’s theorem’ (1915) states: ‘If a system has a continuous symmetry property, then there are corresponding quantities whose values are conserved in time.’
Noguchi, Isamu (1904–1988). Japanese-American sculptor. Son of Japanese and American writers, he studied in Paris with *Brancusi and was a prolific abstract artist who also designed furniture and stage sets.
Nolan, Sir Sidney Robert (1917–1992). Australian painter and lithographer, born in Melbourne. He studied at the Prahran Technical College and the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, and his early work, e.g. Ocean Grove (1938), reveals an individual style remote from mainstream Australian art. He became a voracious reader and, having deserted from the Australian Army, came to see himself as an outsider. From 1942 he was associated with the ‘Angry Penguins’ group of Australian modernists and enjoyed the patronage of John and Sunday Reed, at Heide, in Bulleen, near Melbourne. In 1946–47, at Heide, he painted 27 oils on the life of Ned *Kelly, iconic works in which the outlaw stares at the world through a helmet. His art attracted the interest of Kenneth *Clark. Later paintings develop themes from Australian history, e.g. the explorers *Burke and Wills, Mrs Fraser, the Eureka Stockade, and Gallipoli (a sequence of 252, from 1955, partly influenced by his reading of *Homer), as well as the Australian outback, flora, fauna, China, Africa, Antarctica, mythology, e.g. Leda and the Swan, and scenic designs for ballet (notably The Display, 1964, music by Malcolm Williamson, choreographed by Robert *Helpmann) and opera. He lived in England from 1951. Snake (1970–72), mixed media on 1620 panels, 46 m x 9 m, is displayed in a purpose-built gallery at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart. He engaged in a memorable feud with his former friend Patrick *White, received the OM in 1983, an AC in 1988 and became Australia’s first, and only, RA (1991). He was extraordinarily prolific, experimenting with a diversity of techniques.
Clark, K., MacInnes, C., and Robertson, B., Sidney Nolan. 1961; Adams, B., Sidney Nolan: Such Is Life. 1987; Underhill, N., Sidney Nolan: A Life. 2015.
Nolde, Emil (1867–1956). German painter and graphic artist. Originally a woodcarver, he joined the Brücke (‘Bridge’) group in Munich, became an Expressionist, travelled extensively and lived as a hermit. He is remembered for his landscape, flower and primitive paintings. Despite his brief enthusiasm for *Hitler, the Nazis denounced him as a degenerate artist. His First-Class Marksman (1946) sold for $AU5.4 million in 2010.
Nollekens, Joseph (1737–1823). English sculptor. Of Dutch descent, he worked (1760–70) in Rome, where he made busts of *Garrick and *Sterne. On his return to London he quickly achieved success and became ARA (1771) and RA (1772). Though commissioned to execute many public monuments, often adorned with mythological figures, his most memorable works were busts of *George III, Samuel *Johnson, *Fox and *Pitt.
Nollet, Jean Antoine (1700–1770). French abbé and physicist. Professor of physics in the University of Paris, he was the first clearly to describe (1748) osmosis (the passage of a solvent through a semi-permeable membrane separating a weaker from a stronger solution).
Nono, Luigi (1924–1990). Italian composer, born in Venice. He married *Schoenberg’s daughter, joined the Communist Party, was deeply committed to the music of ‘struggle and ideas’ and wrote extensively on music theory. He composed concert music with and without electronics and stage works, including Intolleranza (1960).
Nora, Simon (1921–2006). French public servant. L’informatisation de la société (with Alain Minc, 5 volumes, 1978) was a seminal text on the information age.
Norman, Jessye (1945–2019). American soprano, born in Georgia. Trained in the US, she developed a voice of extraordinary range and opulence, with excellent diction and command of languages. She made her operatic debut in Berlin, toured widely, appeared in many operas and recorded works by *Mozart, *Verdi, *Mahler, Richard *Strauss and *Berg.
Norman, Montagu Collet Norman, 1st Baron (1871–1950). British banker. His policies as Governor of the Bank of England 1920–44 were deeply controversial, especially during the inter-war period and the most vital years of World War II have been the subject of continuous controversy, especially the deflationary return to the gold standard (1925) and the devaluation of the pound (1931). Norman had much influence with the governments of the period. His reputation as an éminence grise was enhanced by his habit of crossing the Atlantic under the easily penetrable disguise of an assumed name.
Clay, H., Lord Norman. 1957.
Norodom Sihanouk (1922–2012). Cambodian prince and politician. Educated in Saigon and Paris, he succeeded his grandfather as King of Cambodia 1941–55, abdicating in favour of his father Norodom Suramarit to found the Popular Socialist Community Party. He was Prime Minister and Foreign Minister 1955–60 and, after his father’s death, Chief of State 1960–70 until deposed by a military coup led by Lon Nol. He lived in Beijing 1970–75, returned briefly and had 16 more years in exile. He returned to Cambodia in November 1991, was elected President again but proved unable to exercise authority over a country bitterly divided between Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge forces. Elections were held in July 1993. He became King of Cambodia again 1993–2004, this time as (in theory) a constitutional monarch. He composed and directed many films. He went into self-imposed exile in 2004, suffering from cancer, and died in Beijing.
Osborne, M., Sihanouk. 1994.
Norstad, Lauris (1907–1988). American soldier and airman. He became a pilot in 1931 and in World War II was appointed (December 1943) Director of Operations of the Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean. He also directed bombing offensives against Japan. In 1950 Norstad became Commander-in-Chief of US Air Forces in Europe, and succeeded General *Gruenther as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe 1956–62. He retired in 1963.
North, Baron, Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guildford (1732–1792). English politician, born in London. Educated at Eton, Oxford and Leipzig, he was MP 1754–90, originally Whig then Tory, with the courtesy title of Lord North until he succeeded (1790) his father as Earl of Guildford. Able and well liked, his reputation for idleness has been exaggerated. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer 1767–82 and as Prime Minister 1770–82. Because of his appearance, it was speculated that he may have been a half-brother of *George III, who found him an excellent instrument through whom, while maintaining a parliamentary majority by royal patronage, he could exercise his influence over the government. Most of his term of office was occupied by the American colonies’ struggle for independence. North’s attempts at conciliation were constantly thwarted by royal obduracy. He remained in office only out of loyalty and gladly resigned in 1782; he returned briefly as Home Secretary (1783) in coalition with *Fox. Important legislation passed during his term of office included the Royal Marriage Act, an act submitting the East India Company’s policies to parliamentary control, and the Quebec Act (1774), which guaranteed to French Canadians their traditional religion and laws. Chancellor of Oxford University 1772–92 and a patron of *Gibbon, he became blind in 1790.
Butterfield, H., George III, Lord North and the People. 1949; Whiteley, P., Lord North. 1996.
North, Sir Thomas (1535?–1602). English translator. His fame rests on his English version (1579) of *Plutarch’s Lives, translated not from the original Greek but from the French rendering (1559) by Jacques Amyot, Bishop of Auxerre, whom North may have met when accompanying a diplomatic mission to *Henri III of France. *Shakespeare borrowed freely from it for his classical dramas, sometimes using the actual words as well as reconstructing the scenes.
Northbrook, 1st Earl of, Thomas George Baring (1826–1904). English politician and administrator. Member of a banking family (*Baring), he was a Liberal MP 1857–66 and Undersecretary for India 1859–61, 1868–72. *Gladstone appointed him as Viceroy of India 1872–76 and First Lord of the Admiralty 1880–85 but they broke on the issue of Home Rule for Ireland.
Northcliffe, Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount (1865–1922). British journalist and newspaper proprietor. He began his journalistic career (1880) on the Hampstead and Highgate Gazette. The step which led to his future greatness was the launching (1888), with his brother Harold *Harmsworth, of Answers, a weekly magazine in which snippets of information and competitions with lavish prizes procured a success that enabled them to buy (1894) the London Evening News. Two years later they launched the Daily Mail, which sold at 1d, and with its bold headlines and brightly written features provided a quickly copied pattern for popular newspapers. In 1908 he bought The Times, but though he greatly increased its circulation and at one time reduced the price to 1 d., his touch was unsure when handling a national institution. In World War I his papers helped to expose the shell shortage and attacked *Haldane, *Asquith and *Kitchener with venom. He headed a war mission to the US (1917) and in 1918 was director of propaganda in enemy countries. Progressive illness produced signs of megalomania in his last years. He was made a baronet in 1903 (aged 38), became Baron Northcliffe in 1905, and a viscount in 1918.
Greewall, H. J., Northcliffe: Napoléon of Fleet Street. 1957.
Northumberland, John Dudley, 1st Duke of (1502–1553). English Lord Protector 1552–53. Son of Edmund *Dudley, *Henry VII’s minister, he grew to importance under *Henry VIII and was an executor of his will. Made Earl of Warwick in recognition of his support of Edward Seymour, Duke of *Somerset, as Lord Protector during *Edward VI’s minority, he at once intrigued against him, succeeded him (1552) and secured his execution. He tried to prolong his power by inducing the sickly Edward to exclude his sisters from the succession, and so leave the way clear for Lady Jane *Grey (whom he married to his son Guildford Dudley) to ascend the throne. The scheme failed when on Edward’s death (1553) the country rallied to Queen Mary. Northumberland was taken and executed. For his son Robert, Elizabeth’s favourite, see Earl of *Leicester.
Norwich, 1st Viscount see Cooper, (Alfred) Duff
Norwich, John Julius (John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich) (1929–2018). English historian and television producer. Son of Duff *Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich, he wrote popular but scholarly works on Sicily, Venice, Byzantium and the Popes, produced 30 television documentaries and was a vigorous promoter of music.
Nossal, Sir Gus(tav Joseph Victor) (1931– ). Australian immunologist, born in Austria. Educated in Sydney, he succeeded *Burnet as Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research (in Melbourne) 1965–96 and was President of the Australian Academy of Science 1994–98.
Nostradamus (Michel de Nôtre Dame) (1503–1566). French astrologer and physician, born in Provence. From a Jewish family, with university qualifications in medicine, he gained much esteem for his devotion to duty during times of plague. He published two collections of prophecies, 948 in all, entitled Centuries (1555, 1558), written in rhyming quatrains. Although obscure and ambiguous, he attracted such notice that *Catherine de’Medici invited him to court and he became physician to *Charles IX.
Randi, J., The Mask of Nostradamus.1990.
Nouvel, Jean (1945– ). French architect. His buildings include the Institute du Monde Arabe, Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, both in Paris, and Philharmonie de Paris. Other works are in New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna, Lucerne, Copenhagen and Abu Dhabi. He won the Pritzker Prize in 2008.
Novalis (Friedrich, Baron von Hardenberg) (1772–1801). German lyric poet and novelist. His poetic works include Hymns to the Night (1800), inspired by his grief at the death of Sophie von Kuhn, whom he loved. His novel Heinrich van Ofterdingen (1802), the story of the development of a young poet, ranks high among the achievements of the German Romantic movement.
Noverre, Jean Georges (1727–1809). French choreographer. In 1747 he became maître de ballet at the Opéra Comique in Paris and in 1754 gained fame as a choreographer with Fétes chinoises and La Fontaine de Jouvence for which *Boucher did the décor. The outbreak of the Seven Years’ War (1756) interrupted a London season which he had undertaken for *Garrick, who called him ‘the *Shakespeare of the dance’. His Lettres sur la danse et sur les ballets (1759–60) established an aesthetic tradition that still influences choreography.
Noyes, Alfred (1880–1958). English poet. His poetry, e.g. The Barrel Organ and The Highwayman is firmly traditional. His most ambitious work The Torchbearers (3 volumes 1922–30), now forgotten, described the transmission of scientific knowledge. As a Visiting Professor of English Literature at Princeton 1914–23, his students included F. Scott *Fitzgerald and Edmund *Wilson. He was involved in the controversy over the execution of Roger *Casement in 1916, and the use of his ‘black diaries’ to weaken any campaign for his reprieve. Noyes believed that the diaries were authentic, then had serious doubts, expressed in his last book The Accusing Ghost (1957). (Regrettably, forensic evidence confirms that they were Casement’s, but should not have been used to ensure that he was hanged.)
Nu, U (also Thakin U) (1907–1995). Burmese politician. Educated at Rangoon University, he joined *Aung San as a student leader, was jailed by the British and briefly served as Foreign Minister during the Japanese occupation. Prime Minister 1948–56, 1957–62, he was overthrown by a military coup led by *Ne Win.
Nuffield, 1st Viscount see Morris, William Richard, 1st Viscount Nuffield
Nureyev, Rudolf Hametovich (1938–1993). Russian ballet dancer, born in Siberia. Having become a leading dancer of the Russian Kirov ballet he defected while the company was in Paris (May 1961) and later came to England. There he won new fame in the Royal Ballet, especially when partnered by Margot *Fonteyn in e.g. Le Corsair, Marguerite and Armand, Giselle and Swan Lake. Of some ballets (e.g. Raymonda) he revised the choreography to satisfy the demands of his technical skill and the agility and strength that won him great acclaim. He appeared in the films Don Quixote (with Sir Robert *Helpmann and the Australian Ballet, 1973) and Valentino (1977). He directed the ballet at the Paris Opera 1983–89, died of AIDS and left a great fortune.
Nuri es-Said (1888–1958). Iraqi soldier, born in Baghdad. He served in the Ottoman army against the British, was captured in 1916, then joined the Sharifian army revolt against the Turks. On Iraq’s creation in 1921, Nuri became a committed supporter of the Hashemite regime of *Faisal I and a permanent alliance with Britain. Between 1930 and 1958 he served as Prime Minister of Iraq 14 times and became first Prime Minister of the Arab Federation (Iraq and Jordan) May–July 1958. His pro-Western views were increasingly unpopular with Iraqis and he was murdered with *Faisal II.
Nurmi, Paavo (1897–1973). Finnish athlete. Known as ‘the flying Finn’, he won six individual Olympic gold medals, two each in 1920, 1924 and 1928, for the 1,500 metres, 10,000 metres and cross country events, and three more for team events. He also held the world record for the mile (4 min. 10.4 secs) 1923–31. As a professional, he was excluded from the 1932 Olympics.
Nurse, Sir Paul Maxime (1949– ). English geneticist and cell biologist, born in Norwich. Educated at Birmingham and East Anglia universities, he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2001 for his discoveries in cell cycle regulation, working primarily in yeast, received the Copley Medal in 2005 and was President of the Royal Society 2010–15. He became foundation director of the Francis *Crick Institute 2015– , the largest biomedical research institute in Europe.
Nyerere, Julius Kambarage (1921–1999). Tanzanian politician. Son of a chief, he studied at Makerere College in Uganda and at Edinburgh University. In 1954 he founded the Tanganyika African National Union with a policy aimed at independence. In his successful pursuit of this aim he was successively Chief Minister (1960) of Tanganyika, Prime Minister when independence was granted (1961), and President (1962) when a republic was proclaimed. When Zanzibar, after the revolution of 1964, became linked with Tanganyika, Nyerere became President of the combined country, known thereafter as Tanzania, retiring in 1985. His publications include a Swahili translation of The Merchant of Venice (1969) and Julius Caesar (1969).
Nyman, Michael (1944– ). English composer. A critic and author, he wrote music for films by Peter Greenaway and Jane Campion, and concertos for trombone, saxophone and two pianos.