On On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Thompson, “a classicist of sufficient distinction to have become President of the Classical Associations of England and Wales and Scotland; a mathematician good enough to have an entirely mathematical paper accepted for publication by the Royal Society; and a naturalist who held important chairs for sixty-four years:”
D’Arcy Thompson had not merely the makings but the actual accomplishments of three scholars. All three were eminent, even if, judged by the standards which he himself would have applied to them, none could strictly be called great. If the three scholars had merely been added together in D’Arcy Thompson, each working independently of the others, then I think we should find it hard to repudiate the idea that he was an amateur, though a patrician among amateurs; we should say, perhaps that great as were his accomplishments, he lacked that deep sense of engagement that marks the professional scholar of the present day.
But they were not merely added together; they were integrally -- Clifford Dobell said chemically -- combined. I am trying to say that he was not one of those who have made two or more separate and somewhat incongruous reputations, like a composer-chemist or politician-novelist, or like the one man who has both ridden in the Grand National and become a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest and most famous society of scientists; but that he was a man who comprehended many things with an undivided mind.