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Dictionary of World Biography
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.
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
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.
Professor of Literature at Princeton 1914–23, he
campaigned vehemently, but mistakenly, to defend
the posthumous moral character of Roger *Casement.
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, William Richard Morris, 1st Viscount
philanthropist. Originally owner of a bicycle shop in
Oxford, he started (1912), in an improvised works
at Cowley just outside the city, to build motor cycles
and then the first Morris Oxford and Morris Cowley
cars. World War I intervened, but his 1925 output
on 53,000 cars achieved a European record. A series
of mergers (with Wolseley, Riley etc.), culminating
with amalgamation (1952) with the Austin Motor
Company, led to the formation of the vast British
Motor Corporation under Nuffield’s presidency.
He was equally well known as a philanthropist,
especially for the foundation of Nuffield College,
Oxford (1937), and the Nuffield Foundation (1943), a
charitable trust endowed with stock in Morris Motors
Ltd valued at £10 million. Morris, who received
a peerage (1934) and became a viscount (1938), was
an unassuming man who led an unpublicised and
unostentatious life.
Andrews, P. W. and Brunner, E., Life of Lord 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 1500 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
Nyerere, Julius Kambarage (1921– ). 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