off the top of my head
Sir Joseph Whitworth industrialist and pioneer of precision engineering
Roy Chadwick designer of the Lancaster bomber .
Joseph John (J. J.) Thomson. Studied and researched at Victoria University of Manchester 18711876 (entered at age 14). Left and discovered the electron; awarded Nobel prize in 1906.
John Henry Poynting. Student 18671872 (one of the very first students in the new Physical Laboratories). Lecturer 18761879. Left to become Professor at Mason College (which became Birmingham University). He wrote on electrical phenomena and radiation and is best known for Poynting's vector. In 1891 he determined the mean density of the Earth and made a determination of the gravitational constant in 1893. The Poynting-Robertson effect was related to the theory of relativity.
Charles Thomson Rees (C. T. R.) Wilson. Student 18841887. Invented the expansion cloud chamber and was awarded Nobel prize in 1927.
Ernest Rutherford. Langworthy Professor of Physics 19071919. Awarded Nobel prize in 1908, for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances. He was the first person to split the atom.
James Chadwick. Student (BSc & MSc) at Manchester University and Researcher 19081913 (under Rutherford). Discovered neutron and awarded Nobel prize 1935.
Hans Geiger, Researcher 19061914. Did the original "Rutherford scattering" experiment with Marsden (also the Geiger-Marsden experiment). Devised the famous Geiger ionization counter.
Sir Ernest Marsden was born in Lancashire in 1888. He won scholarships to attend grammar school and gain entry to Manchester University. It was here he met Rutherford in his honours year. Rutherford suggested a project to investigate the backwards scattering of alpha particles from a metal foil. He did this in conjunction with Hans Geiger (of Geiger counter fame), and it proved to be the key experiment in the demise of the plum pudding model of the atom leading directly to Rutherford's nuclear atom. Rutherford also recommended Marsden for the position of physics professor at what is now Victoria University in Wellington.
Niels Bohr. Research Staff and Schuster Reader 19111916. Worked on structure of atom and first theory of quantum mechanics. Awarded Nobel prize in 1922.
William Lawrence Bragg. Director (Langworthy Professor of Physics) 19191937. Won a Nobel prize for X-ray crystallography in 1915, along with his father, William Henry Bragg. Their work led to the first discoveries of DNA and protein structures, which were made by Watson/Crick/Wilkins/Rosalin Franklin (DNA) and Kendrew/Perutz (protein) in Bragg's research group in Cambridge.
Nevill Francis Mott. Lecturer 19291930 at Manchester University. Awarded Nobel prize in 1977, for his fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.
Hans Bethe. Research staff and Temporary Lecturer 1932. Awarded Nobel prize in 1967, for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars.
Patrick M. Blackett 19371953. Director and Langworthy Professor of Physics. Awarded Nobel prize for developing cloud chamber and confirming/discovering positron in 1948.
Arnold Wolfendale, BSc 1948 and PhD 1954 in cosmic rays. Lecturer 19531956. 14th Astronomer Royal.
Sir Arthur Eddington. Graduated Manchester University in 1902 and became a lecturer in 1905. Founder of modern astronomy. He made important contributions to the general theory of relativity and led an expedition team to validate it.
Sir Bernard Lovell, Professor at Manchester University (19511990) and creator of the giant radio-telescope (the first large radio-telescope in the world with a diameter of 218 feet) at Jodrell Bank and pioneered the field of radio astronomy.
Henry Moseley, who identified atomic number as the nuclear charges. He studied under Rutherford and brilliantly developed the application of X-ray spectra to study atomic structure; his discoveries resulted in a more accurate positioning of elements in the Periodic Table by closer determination of atomic numbers. Moseley was nominated for the 1915 Nobel Prize but was unfortunately killed in action in August 1915 and could not receive the prize.
George de Hevesy, Research Staff at Manchester University 19101913, who won the Nobel prize in 1943 for his work on the use of isotopes as tracers in the study of chemical processes.
Sir John Douglas c**kcroft, studied mathematics under Horace Lamb in 19141915, and received BSc and MSc in Electrical Engineering at the Tech (UMIST), won the Nobel prize in physics in 1951 for his pioneering work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles. Chancellor of UMIST and Director of BAERE (Manhattan Project Hall of Fame).
Sir John Lennard-Jones, entered Manchester University where he changed his subject to mathematics in 1912. After First World War service in the Royal Flying Corps, he returned to Manchester as Lecturer in Mathematics, 19191922. Founder of modern theoretical chemistry. Lennard-Jones potential and LJ fluid are named after him.
 Physiology and Medicine
Archibald Vivian Hill, Brackenburg Professor of Physiology, 19201923. Won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1922 for his discovery relating to the production of heat in the muscle.
Nobel Prize Winners from University of Manchester Chemistry Department (Dates of awards in brackets):
Arthur Harden (awarded Nobel prize in 1929), for investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes.
Walter Norman Haworth (awarded Nobel prize in 1937), for his investigations on carbohydrates and vitamin C.
Robert Robinson (awarded Nobel prize in 1947), for his investigations on plant products of biological importance, especially the alkaloids.
Alexander Todd (awarded Nobel prize in 1957), for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes.
Melvin Calvin (awarded Nobel prize in 1961), for his research on carbon dioxide assimilation in plants.
John Charles Polanyi (awarded Nobel prize in 1986), for his contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.
Michael Smith (awarded Nobel prize in 1993), for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleiotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis and its development for protein studies.
 Computer Science & Mathematics
Alan Turing, founder of computer science and AI. ACM Turing award is named after him.
Paul Erdős, was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century or the Euler of our time, who posed and solved many problems in number theory and other areas. He also founded the field of discrete mathematics, which is the foundation of computer science. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians in history, with more than 1,500 papers to his name (Leonhard Euler was second in the list). In his early career, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at Manchester University and subsequently became a wandering mathematician. With no job, no home and his few clothes in an orange carrier bag, he would arrive at colleagues' houses, declare "My brain is open" and stay. Awarded the Cole Prize by AMS.
James Lighthill, was one of the most influential applied mathematicians of the 20th century. He made important contributions to the modern developments in theoretical aerodynamics and aeroacoustics (Lighthill's eighth power law) and was one of the founding fathers of the field of biofluiddynamics. He is also founder of IMA.
Osborne Reynolds is famous for his work in fluid mechanics. In 1886 he formulated a theory of lubrication and three years later he developed the standard mathematical framework used in the study of turbulence. The 'Reynolds number' used in modelling fluid flow is named after him (his students include JJ Thomson, who discovered the electron).
Ludwig Wittgenstein who is best known for his work in philosophy undertook aeronautical research in Manchester. Needing to understand more mathematics for his research he began a study which soon involved him in the foundations of mathematics.
Louis Mordell was a pure mathematician who made important contributions in number theory who worked at UMIST and the University of Manchester.
Sydney Goldstein was one of the most influential theoretical fluid mechanicians in this century. He is best known for his work in boundary layer theory where the "Goldstein singularity" is named after him.
Lewis Fry Richardson was a scientist who was the first to apply mathematics, in particular the method of finite differences, to predicting the weather (the father of CFD). He made contributions to calculus and to the theory of diffusion, in particular Eddy-diffusion in the atmosphere. The Richardson number, a fundamental quantity involving gradients of temperature and wind velocity, is named after him.
Sir Horace Lamb was one of the six professors appointed when Manchester University received its Royal Charter (his chair was in Mathematics, and Osborne Reynolds was given the Chair in Engineering). He made many important contributions to applied mathematics, including the areas of acoustics and fluid dynamics. His book "Hydrodynamics" (first published in 1895) was for many years the standard text on the subject and is still essential reading for serious researchers in fluid mechanics. It could be said that Lamb's main field of research was solid mechanics, and he made careful studies of the vibrations of spherical bodies which aided understanding in seismology. Research on waves in layered media led to the discovery of "Lamb Waves".
Bernhard Neumann spent more than a decade in Manchester. He is one of the leading figures in group theory and has influenced the direction of the subject in numerous ways.
Max Newman made many important contributions to combinatorial topology, Boolean algebras and mathematical logic. He directed the famous Colossus code-breaking operation in the war.
John Littlewood is famous for his work on the theory of series, the Riemann zeta function, inequalities and the theory of functions. He held a lectureship at the University of Manchester from 1907 to 1910.
Frank Adams was a leading figure in algebraic topology and homotopy theory. He developed methods which led to important advances in calculating the homotopy groups of spheres (a problem which is still unsolved), including the invention of the "Adams operations" which are now finding application in other areas of pure mathematics.
Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams invented the Williams-Kilburn Tube and the first modern electronic computer in the world, the Manchester Mark 1.
 Arts and Humanities
Tim Booth, lead singer of the successful 90's/00's indie rock group James.
Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses and currently solo singer/songwriter.
Ian Curtis, lead singer/lyricist of Joy Division.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composer and Master of the Queen's Music. Student at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Howard Devoto, singer/songwriter of The Buzzc**ks and Magazine.
Martin Fry, lead singer of ABC.
Noel and Liam Gallagher, singer/songwriter and lead singer respectively with Oasis.
Maurice, Barry & Robin Gibb, brothers and members of The Bee Gees.
Mick Hucknall Manchester born and lead singer and mainstay of the globally successful pop/soul group Simply Red.
Davy Jones, singer for The Monkees.
Johnny Marr, guitarist/composer for The Smiths.
Morrissey, lead singer/lyricist of The Smiths and solo artist.
Shaun Ryder, singer of Happy Mondays and Black Grape.
Graham Nash, member of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Peter Noone, lead singer of Herman's Hermits.
Pete Shelley, singer/songwriter of The Buzzc**ks.
Mark E. Smith, lead singer of The Fall.
Bernard Sumner (a.k.a. Bernard Albrecht), lead singer/lyricist of New Order and former guitarist of Joy Division.
Tony Wilson managed some of the most successful Manchester bands of the 1980s and 90s.
Simon Webbe successful R&B/soul artist from the Moss Side area of the city.
Rick Astley successful singer of the early 90s.
M people pop band formed in Manchester in 1990. Had several number ones including "moving on up"
Russell Watson classical singer from Irlam Manchester
Norman Foster Architect, born in Manchester 1935 and graduated from Manchester University.
Thomas Worthington, born in Salford, designed many of Manchester's most notable 19th century buildings.
Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange.
Mike Duff, author and poet.
Ronald Gow, dramatist from Heaton Moor.
Walter Greenwood, novelist born in and inspired by Salford during the depression..
J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books, lived in Manchester for a while and first had the idea for the books whilst travelling from Manchester
Lemn Sissay, author, TV presenter and Jazz Poet.
Friedrich Engels co-founder of Communist theory with Karl Marx, worked as a manager of a cotton mill in Manchester.
Robert Donat, Academy Award-winning film actor.
Joanne Farrell, TV Actress.
Albert Finney, Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning film actor.
Georgina Bowman, BBC Radio 1 Newsreader.
Karl Pilkington, Broadcasting personality known for his work with Ricky Gervais.
Anthony Quinlan, actor best known for his role as Gilly Roach on Hollyoaks.
Tim Samuels, BBC documentary maker and TV presenter
David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister, was born in Manchester in 1863 although he moved to Wales as a child.
David Joseph Henry, Human Rights Activist, born and educated in Manchester.
Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette leader born and educated in Manchester.
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw politician and mathematician.
Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister, was elected as MP for the East Manchester constituency in 1885.
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Henry Kelly, Victoria Cross recipient.
The British Bulldog, deceased professional wrestler
Ricky Hatton - Professional Boxer
"manchester and north west lancs"
William Harrison Ainsworth
Frances Hodgson Burnett
John Collier (Tim Bobbin)
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Thomas de Quincey
Charles Prestwich Scott
L S Lowry
John Critchley Prince
Pierre Adolphe Valette
Ford Madox Brown
Sir John Barbirolli
Sir Charles Hallι
Charles Alexander Calvert
William Stanley Houghton
Sir Norman Foster
Sir William Walton
Sir Neville Cardus
Sir Thomas Beecham
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Politicians, Law & Social Reformers
Sir Nicholas Mosley
Sir Robert Peel
Emmeline & Christabel Pankhurst
Sir Cyril Smith
Gerald Kaufman MP
Joseph Rayner Stephens
Armitage, Sir Elkanah
Lees Knowles, Sir James
Sir James Anderton
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw
Arthur Balfour, PM
John, Richard, Thomas & William Potter
John Edward Taylor
Philanthropy, Philosophy & Religion
Lady Ann Bland
Sir Humphrey Chetham
Lord Ernest Simon
Thomas la Warre
Thomas Henshaw Thomas Deacon
Edward Barlow (Saint Ambrose Barlow)
James Prince Lee
Sir Ashton Lever
Cardinal William Allen
Discovery, Engineers, Inventors & Scientists
Sir William Fairbairn
Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater
Sir Frederick Henry Royce
Peter Mark Roget
Sir Roger Bradshaigh
Sir Henry Roscoe
James Prescott Joule
Sir Edwin Alliot Verdon-Roe
Captain Sir John Alc**k
Lieutenant Sir Arthur Brown
Prof Tom Kilburn
Rev George Garrett
Sir Bernard Lovell
Colonel Sir William Coates
Robert Angus Smith
Dr Patrick Steptoe
William Webb Ellis
Sir James Chadwick
Professor Eric Laithwaite
George Leigh Mallory
Television, Film, Media & Broadcasting
Harry H Corbett
Joanne Whalley (Kilmer)
Coronation Street Characters
Sir Ian McKellen
John E Blakeley
Lord Sidney Bernstein
Richard Madeley & Judy Finnigan
Dame Thora Hird
Freddy 'Parrot Face' Davies
Sporting & Olympic Champions
Alfred Edward Tysoe
Emil Robert Voigt
John Henry Osborne
John Ephraim Sibbert
William Webb Ellis
Andrew "Freddy" Flintoff
Manchester's Pop Music
See separate entry
Business, Commerce, Industry & Entrepreneurship
J J Kearns
J D Williams
James & Henry Forsyth
Sir William Mather
Sir William Pickles Hartley
Marks & Spencer
Samuel Oldknow of Mellor
Sir Edward Holt
Sir Henry Tate
Military & Civilian Heroes
Ensign Charles Ewart
Bill Speakman VC
George Peachment VC
Henry Kelly VC MC
Issy Smith VC JP
Edward Colquhoun Charlton VC
Graham Thompson Lyall VC
Ernest Sykes VC
Wilfred Wood VC
Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory
John Beeley VC
William Horace Taylor GC
Percy Walton GC
Joanna Toff QGM
John Henry Code DCM
James Kirk VC
Harry Norton Schofield VC
Albert Hill VC
Joel Halliwell VC
William Thomas Forshaw VC
Andrew Moynihan VC
John Buckley VC
Chris Finney GC
Dr Harold Shipman
The Manchester Martyrs
Louisa May Merrifield John Jackson
Lieutenant Frederick Rothwell Holt
Dr Buck Ruxton
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