Johann Sebastian Bach Biography

The works of the German composer and organist Johann Sebastian Bach are the utmost expression of polyphony (a style of musical composition in which two independent melodies are played side by side in harmony). He is probably the only composer ever to make full use of the possibilities of art available in his time.

Francis Bacon Biography

The English artist Francis Bacon was one of the most powerful and original figure painters in the twentieth century. He was particularly noted for the obsessive intensity of his work.

Roger Bacon Biography

The medieval English philosopher Roger Bacon insisted on the importance of a so-called science of experience. In this respect he is often thought of as a forerunner of modern science.

Joan Baez Biography

American folk singer Joan Baez is recognized for her nonviolent, antiestablishment (against a nation's political and economic structure), and anti-war positions. She has used her singing and speaking talents to criticize violations of human rights in a number of countries.

F. Lee Bailey Biography

F. Lee Bailey is a "superstar" lawyer and best-selling author.

Josephine Baker Biography

Josephine Baker was an African American dancer and singer who lived in Paris, France, and was regarded as one of the most famous Americans living overseas.

George Balanchine Biography

The Russian-born American choreographer George Balanchine formed and established the classical style (relating to music in the European tradition) of ballet in America.

James Baldwin Biography

The author James Baldwin achieved international recognition for his expressions of African American life in the United States. During the 1960s he was one of the most outspoken leaders of the civil rights movement.

Lucille Ball Biography

The face of comedienne Lucille Ball, immortalized as Lucy Ricardo on the television program I Love Lucy, is said to have been seen by more people worldwide than any other. Known as "Lucy" to generations of television viewers who delighted at her rubber-faced antics and zany impersonations, she was a shrewd businesswoman, serious actress, and Broadway star as well.

David Baltimore Biography

The American virologist David Baltimore was only thirty-seven years old when he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his significant work in cancer research.

Honoré de Balzac Biography

The French novelist Honoré de Balzac was the first writer to use fiction to convey the social scene prevailing at a particular period in one country's history.

Benjamin Banneker Biography

From 1792 through 1797 Benjamin Banneker, an African American mathematician and amateur astronomer, calculated ephemerides (tables of the locations of stars and planets) for almanacs that were widely distributed and influential. Because of these works, Banneker became one of the most famous African Americans in early U.S.

Frederick Banting Biography

The Canadian medical scientist Frederick Banting was codiscoverer of insulin, a hormone that regulates the sugar in the blood and helps in the treatment of diabetes (a disorder that causes the body to have difficulty maintaining a healthy blood sugar level). Because of this discovery, Banting became the first Canadian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

Klaus Barbie Biography

Klaus Barbie, known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was a leader in the Nazi group called the SS, and was head of anti-Resistance operations in France during the German occupation of World War II (1935–45). As a war criminal (someone who commits crimes that violate the conventions of warfare during wartime) Barbie lived in Bolivia as Klaus Altmann for thirty years before he was arrested and returned to France for trial.

Christiaan Barnard Biography

The South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first human heart transplant operation in 1967 and the first double-heart transplant in 1974.

Clara Barton Biography

Ahumanitarian works for the well-being of others. The American humanitarian Clara Barton was the founder of the American Red Cross.

Count Basie Biography

Count Basie was an extremely popular figure in the jazz world for half a century. He was a fine pianist and leader of one of the greatest jazz bands in history.

Beatles Biography

In the 1960s a new band known as the Beatles burst on the pop music scene and changed it forever. Band members included George Harrison (1943–2001), John Lennon (1940–1980), Paul McCartney (1942–), and Ringo Starr (1940–).

William Beaumont Biography

The American surgeon William Beaumont is remembered for extensive studies of the human digestive system based on the experiments of a live patient.

Simone de Beauvoir Biography

The work of Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer, became the basis of the modern women's movement. Her writing dealt with the struggles of women in a male-controlled world.

Samuel Beckett Biography

Samuel Beckett, the Irish novelist, playwright, and poet was one of the most original and important writers of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969.

Ludwig van Beethoven Biography

German composer Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the most important figures in the history of music. He continued to compose even while losing his hearing and created some of his greatest works after becoming totally deaf.

Menachem Begin Biography

Menachem Begin was active in both the movement to establish an independent Jewish state in Palestine and in the early Israeli government. After serving many years in the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), Begin became Israel's prime minister in 1977.

Alexander Graham Bell Biography

Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born American inventor and teacher of the deaf, is best known for perfecting the telephone to transmit, or send, vocal messages using electricity. The telephone began a new age in communications technology.

Clyde Bellecourt Biography

As one of the original founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Clyde Bellecourt has been an activist for the rights of Native Americans for many years. Many have questioned Bellecourt's methods, but no one questions his dedication to improving the lives of his people.

Saul Bellow Biography

An American author of fiction, essays, and drama, Saul Bellow became famous in 1953 with his novel The Adventures of Augie March. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.

William Bennett Biography

American teacher and scholar William Bennett was chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981–85), secretary of the Department of Education (1985–88), and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (1989–90). He continues his efforts to improve education and fight drugs, and he is an active voice for traditional values.

Ingmar Bergman Biography

I ngmar Bergman is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of motion pictures. His works are marked by intense characters, as well as intellectual and symbolic content.