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Famous Scientists A-Z 👩‍🔬🧑🏾‍🔬

Famous Scientists List in Order 🧑🏾‍🔬 Famous Scientists and their Discoveries 👩‍🔬

  • ADDucation’s list of famous scientists is compiled by Joe Connor and last updated on Dec 17, 2022 @ 10:51 pm
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Famous Scientists Born Died Country Fields + Awards General knowledge facts, trivia and quotes by famous scientists
al-Khwārizmī, Muḥammad ibn Mūsā c780 c850 🇮🇷 Iran Mathematics and astronomy. Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi formalized the Arabic numerals 0-9, which he transferred from the Indians. The four basic arithmetic operations (+-×÷), algebra and algorithms all derive from the Latin spelling of his name. One of the first famous astronomers in history. Al-Khwarizmi’s astronomical tables contain movements of the sun, moon and five known planets.
Alberti, Leon Battista c1404 c1472 🇮🇹 Italy Mathematics and physics. Leon Battista Alberti was a versatile talent. He studied physics, mathematics, law and art. He was also an inventor, architect and author in several languages. He was a talented rider, athlete, musician and composer.
Alzheimer, Alois 1864 1915 🇩🇪 Germany Medicine and psychology. In 1966 Alois Alzheimer published a famous study “An unusual illness of the cerebral cortex“. He had previously found protein deposits in the brain of his “demented” patient, Auguste from the insane asylum at Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Ampère, André M 1775 1863 🇫🇷 France Mathematics and physics. André Ampère is regarded as the founder of electrodynamics. He discovered electric currents exert attractive and repulsive forces on each other, which is cause of magnetism. The unit for measuring the strength of an electric current “Amp” is named after him.
Anaxagoras c510 BC c428 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Astronomy and philosophy. Anaxagoras was an all-rounder. He founded meteorology, found the causes of wind, clouds, thunder and lightning, moon phases and eclipses. Anaxagoras also conducted experiments on the body, the brain and more.
Anning, Mary 1799 1847 🇬🇧 UK, 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England Paleontology Mary Anning was a fossil collector and palaeontologist who became famous for her Jurassic fossil finds in Dorset, England, which she then sold to collectors to earn a living. Some of her important discoveries were an ichthyosaur skeleton and two complete plesiosaur skeletons. She became an authority in geological circles and was often consulted related issues, but as a woman, she wasn’t permitted to join the Geological Society of London and correspondingly lost out on the credit for some of her contributions. She became more famous in the early 20th century and is the seashell-seller behind the well-known tongue-twister “She sells seashells on the seashore” in 1908.
Archimedes c287 BC c212 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Mathematics, physics and mechanics. Archimedes was a multi-talented genius. He calculated the number pi and founded the current day integral calculus. Archimedes discovered “specific gravity” when a full bath tub overflowed when he stepped into it. “The volume of a body is equal to the amount of water it displaces” – very important when building ships. He invented the “Archimedes screw” to pump water and developed a system for calculating large numbers. Archimedes was also a shipbuilder and designed modern weapons and war techniques including catapults. One of the first most famous scientists of all time.
Aristarchus of Samos c310 BC c230 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Astronomy and mathematics. Aristarchus of Samos calculated the distance from the sun to the moon and their sizes. He was the first to explain the heliocentric system (the earth revolving around the sun) and the sphere of fixed stars. Copernicus later took over his teachings.
Aristotle c384 BC c322 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Physics, zoology and philosophy. Aristotle defined the method of exact research. His writings have inspired scientists for millennia. He founded the first university in Athens, was a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle is considered the father of zoology, and wrote widely on topics such as reproduction and heredity transmission. One of the first famous scientists of all time.
Avicenna 980 1037 🇮🇷 Iran Medicine and philosophy. Avicenna was a child prodigy of the Middle Ages. He was a doctor, physician, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, theologian, geologist, lawyer, inventor and also wrote poetry. Avicenna led a life made for the movies and wrote two encyclopaedias of medicine on diagnoses, treatments, prevention, hygiene, medicinal plants, surgery, cosmetics and drugs.
Becquerel, Henri 1852 1908 🇫🇷 France Physics. Nobel Prize 1903. Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity when putting uranium salts on a photographic plate, which then turned black. He found out that uranium emits radiation naturally and earned the Nobel Prize in 1903 for his work.
Behring, Emil von 1854 1917 🇩🇪 Germany Medicine, physiology and immunology. Emil von Behring was a student of Robert Koch’s. He found an antitoxin healing agent against diphtheria in the form of iodine trichloride. Treated patients were subsequently immune against diphtheria. Behring then used their blood to produce a serum.
Blackburn, Elizabeth Helen 1948 🇦🇺 Australia, 🇺🇸 USA Molecular biology. Nobel Prize 2009. Helen Blackburn co-discovered telomerase, which is an enzyme that prevents the telomeres of chromosomes becoming shorter during replication. This earned her and 2 others the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Bohr, Niels 1885 1962 🇩🇰 Denmark Physics. Nobel Prize 1922. Niels Bohr discovered that energy does not flow constantly, but in small spurts (quanta). Bohr laid down the foundations of modern atomic physics and received the Nobel Prize in 1922. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Boltzmann, Ludwig 1844 1906 🇦🇹 Austria Physics. Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann was one of the founders of quantum mechanics and most famous for developing statistical mechanics, one of the building blocks of modern physics. Boltzmann’s name is also connected to two physical constants (both developed by other scientists), theories, equations and distributions. In 1899 he awarded a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). In later years his lectures on natural philosophy were especially well received.
Bolyai, János 1802 1860 🇭🇺 Hungary Mathematics. János Bolyai led an exciting life alternating between military service, studying mathematics, learning nine languages, playing the violin and numerous duels. Bolyai is most famous for his treatise on geometry, which refuted Euclid’s parallel postulate.
Boyle, Robert 1627 1691 🇬🇧 UK Physics and chemistry. Robert Boyle was one of Britains most famous scientists. Boyle explored the properties of air and gases and discovered that (at a constant temperature) pressure and volume are inversely proportional to one another. He confirmed Galileo’s “Free fall” law, defined the term “analysis” (Greek: “resolution”), found acids and bases and, in doing so, discovered acetone and methanol. Was also the first to isolate oxygen. His major work: “The skeptical chymist” (1661).
Bradley, James 1693 1762 🇬🇧 UK Astronomy James Bradley discovered in 1725 the aberration of light (proof of the heliocentric worldview) and calculated from this the speed of light: 300,000 km a second.
Braun, Wernher von 1912 1977 🇩🇪 Germany Physics, astronomy. Wernher von Braun was a significant rocket designer. He launched rockets in 1934 already and later developed the V2 in Nazi Germany. In 1945, he emigrated to the United States where, as a NASA employee, he and other famous scientists, constructed the first moon rockets.
Brown, Robert 1773 1858 🇬🇧 UK Biology Robert Brown discovered the cell nucleus in 1831 but didn’t attach any importance to it. This was later also discovered by botanist Mathias Schleiden (1804-1881) and zoologist Theodor Schwann (1810-1882). They discovered that the whole plant consists of cells that form an “independent living community“.
Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm 1811 1899 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry Robert Bunsen is best known for improving laboratory burners “Bunsen burner“. Together with Gustav Kirchhoff Bunsen developed spectral analysis which aids research and proof of chemical elements.
Cassini, Giovanni Domenico 1625 1712 🇮🇹 Italy, 🇫🇷 France Astronomy and engineering. Giovanni Cassini measured the rotational period of Mars and Jupiter. He discovered four moons of Saturn; Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys and Dione and the Cassini division -the black gap in the rings of Saturn. NASA named its 1997 satellite, which orbited Saturn and its moons, after Cassini. In 1672 Cassini, in Paris, and Jean Richer, in French Guiana, made simultaneous observations of Mars. They used the principle of parallax to calculate the distance between Earth and Mars. Together with existing planetary distances and ratios Cassini calculated the size of the Solar System.
Cavendish, Henry 1731 1810 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry and physics. Henry Cavendish was a wealthy, eccentric loner and misogynist. He was regarded as a pioneer of modern chemistry. He weighed and measured many gases and elements (before and after combustion) and discovered, among other things, the element hydrogen.
Celsius, Anders 1701 1744 🇸🇪 Sweden Astronomy Anders Celsius initially proposed determining the boiling point of water at 0 and the freezing point at 100 degrees. It wasn’t until a year after his death, in 1745, that this scale was turned on its head by Carl Linnaeus and freezing point became zero.
Chadwick, James 1891 1974 🇬🇧 UK Physics. Nobel Prize 1935. James Chadwick proved the existence of the neutron in 1932, built the first particle accelerator “cyclotron” which led to the development of the first nuclear chain reaction.
Châtelet, Émilie du
1706 1749 🇫🇷 France Mathematics, Physics. Émilie du Châtelet translated and commented on Isaac Newton’s “Principia”, which detailed the basic laws of physics. With this she made a considerable contribution to Newtonian mechanics. She published her most famous work “Foundations of Physics” in 1740, which was republished in several languages and caused much debate.

Châtelet lived and collaborated with Voltaire from 1733 and became the first woman to have a scientific paper published by the Academy.

Copernicus, Nicholas
1473 1543 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇵🇱 Poland Astronomy and mathematics. Nicolaus Copernicus shattered the old worldview in 1543. Copernicus found the Earth, which rotates on its own axis every 24 hours, is one of many planets revolving around the fixed sun. He further concluded the moon rotates in circular orbits around the Earth and that fixed stars don’t move.
Curie, Marie 1867 1934 🇵🇱 Poland, 🇫🇷 France Physics, Chemistry. Nobel Prizes 1903, 1911 Marie Curie (or Marie Skłodowska Curie, born Maria Salomea Skłodowska) was born in Poland and became French later. Her work led to the development of X-rays. The first chemical element she discovered was polonium, which she named after her native country. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and to do so in two categories: Physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911. When she died from aplastic anemia, caused by her frequent exposure to radiation, she was also the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. One of the most famous scientists and of all time.
Da Vinci, Leonardo 1452 1519 🇮🇹 Italy Medicine, physics and astronomy. Leonardo da Vinci was not only an artistic genius but also a doctor, architect, astronomer and engineer. His irrepressible curiosity drove him to explore (almost) everything and is one of the best known famous scientists. Da Vinci studied humankind and nature and drew hundreds of anatomical drawings. He developed hydraulics, supervised the construction of canals, locks and aqueducts, and is considered the inventor of portable bridges, flamethrowers, tanks, submarines, parachutes as well as tools such as levers, saws, heating and lighting systems.
Dalton, John 1766 1844 🇬🇧 UK Physics John Dalton discovered matter is composed of atoms that are indivisible and indestructible and have a weight. All atoms of any element are the same, but that every element has different atoms. Also, that hydrogen atoms are the lightest. Their weight is used to determine all atomic weights.
Darwin, Charles 1809 1882 🇬🇧 UK Biology Charles Darwin is the father of the theory of evolution and one of the most famous scientists of all time. Darwin traveled around the world for four years. He studied fossils and concluded that stronger and fitter life forms always prevail and adapt. He was an atheist with agnostic tendencies.
Davy, Humphrey 1778 1829 🇬🇧 UK Physics and chemistry. Humphrey Davy was a pioneer of the theory of electricity. Using electric currents he was able to isolate elements such as calcium, barium, strontium, for the first time, developed among other things a safety lamp for miners.
Descartes, René 1596 1650 🇫🇷 France Mathematics and philosophy. René Descartes was one of France’s most famous scientists. He was regarded, along with Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665) as one of the fathers of analytic geometry. He was a leading figure in the scientific revolution. Descartes set new standards with his work on dynamics, optics and astronomy. Descartes’ most famous quote is:

I think; therefore I am (cogito ergo sum)

Dirac, Paul 1902 1984 🇬🇧 UK Physics. Nobel Prize 1993. Dirac was one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. He was autistic which explained his modest, socially awkward and reserved nature. Dirac established the most general theory of quantum mechanics. He predicted the existence of antimatter and discovered the relativistic equation for the wave function of the electron, known as the Dirac equation. In 1930 Dirac published “The Principles of Quantum Mechanics” which remains a standard textbook today. Dirac received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. In 1973 Dirac received the Order of Merit, having earlier refused a knighthood. One of the famous scientists of the 20th century.
Doppler, Christian 1803 1853 🇦🇹 Austria Physics and mathematics. Christian Doppler calculated changes in the frequency of a moving object “Doppler effect“. When the observer and source are approaching each other the frequency increases, when moving away from each other, it decreases.
Edison, Thomas Alva 1847 1931 🇺🇸 USA Physics. Thomas Edison was self-taught and only attended school for three months. He ran experiments and developed many inventions including a film recording device, microphone and gramophone, all of which he financed himself. Edison became one of the most famous scientists for inventing the first light bulb, using a thread of carbon.
Ehrlich, Paul 1854 1915 🇩🇪 Germany Medicine. Nobel Prize 1908. Paul Ehrlich was the founder of chemotherapy and researcher into immunity and serum therapy. He examined corpuscles and in his theory of “side-chains” discovered the formation of antibodies. Paul Ehrlich also found the cause of sleeping sickness and syphilis as well as the first effective agent “Salvarsan” against syphilis.
Elion, Gertrude Belle 1918 1999 🇺🇸 USA Biochemistry, Pharmacology. Nobel Prize 1988. Gertrude Elion developed various important drugs that led to the development of AZT – the AIDS drug. Elion shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with George H. Hitchings and Sir James Black for this work. She also developed azathioprine, an immunosuppressive drug. Azathioprine helps prevent rejection of human organ transplants. Elion was the first woman to be recognized in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Einstein, Albert 1879 1955 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics and physics. Nobel Prize 1921. Albert Einstein’s two theories of relativity revolutionized the understanding of matter, space, time and gravitation. Everything is relative to the respective observation system, including time. Therefore, there is no absolute simultaneity. The only constant is the speed of light. It cannot be exceeded. Einstein concluded: Energy is Mass times the speed of light (C – from the Latin celeritas meaning speed) squared (E = MC2), i.e. matter is condensed energy. Every gram of mass contains huge amounts of energy. An insight that (unfortunately) also led to the construction of the atomic bomb. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Empedocles c495 BC c435 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Medicine and biology. Empedocles was the founder of the four-element doctrine. The four elements (fire, air, water, earth) make everything in the world. Empedocles described the flow of blood to and from the heart and recognized that skin can breathe.
Eudoxus of Cnidus c408 BC c355 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Mathematics and astronomy. Eudoxus was the creator of the doctrine of ratio equations and volume calculations for circles, spheres, cones and pyramids. Physician and teacher of Menaechmus (380-320 BC), who discovered the ellipse, parabola and hyperbola.
Euclid of Alexandria c360 BC c280 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Mathematics. Euclid’s principal work was the “Elements of Geometry” consisting of 13 books. Among other topics, it deals with formulas, triangles, parallelograms, spheres, cones, circular gauges and many other mathematical theorems like the parallels axiom “the sum of the angles in a triangle is always 180°“.
Euler, Leonhard 1707 1783 🇨🇭 Switzerland Mathematics and physics. Leonard Euler was one of the most prolific scientists despite going blind later in life. Euler wrote 866 publications, established new symbols such as the summation sign Σ, founded the calculus of variations and, partly, analysis. In mechanics, Euler discovered equations for the motion of rigid bodies and fluids (hydrodynamics), and developed a wave theory to calculate lens in the field of optics. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Fahrenheit, Gabriel 1686 1736 🇩🇪 Germany Physics Gabriel Fahrenheit was a German physicist who developed the mercury thermometer in 1714 with a three-point calibration. For the zero point of Fahrenheit’s scale he used the lowest temperature he could produce at the time: minus 17.8 F°. He defined the freezing point of water as +32 F° and water’s boiling point as +212 F°.
Faraday, Michael 1791 1867 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry and physics. Michael Faraday was a great experimenter. He discovered electromagnetic induction and rotation. He built the first dynamo, which led to the first electric motor. Faraday discovered diamagnetism is a property of all materials. In 1832 Faraday described the principles of electrolysis and electrostatics and invented the “Faraday cage” to prove his theory. In 1834 Faraday published his laws of electrolysis, based on his electrochemical research.
Fermat, Pierre de 1601 1665 🇫🇷 France Mathematics Pierre de Fermat was a lawyer who only dabbled with mathematics in his spare time. He remained unknown during his lifetime. It was only after his death that other greatest scientists spotted the basics of analytic geometry in his writings which he had found independently of René Descartes. Fermat is also renowned for his “Fermat’s Last Theorem” which says that no triples of whole numbers satisfy the equation xn + yn = zn has no whole number solution when n is greater than 2.
Fermi, Enrico 1901 1954 🇮🇹 Italy Physics. Nobel Prize 1938. Enrico Fermi was a significant 20th century nuclear physicist. He bombarded uranium with neutrons and thus prepared the way for nuclear fission. He built the first nuclear reactor in 1944 and received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938.
Feynman, Richard Phillips
1918 1988 🇺🇸 USA Physics. Nobel Prize 1965. Richard Feynman was famous for path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and particle physics. He advanced the theory of quantum electrodynamics and superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium. Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for quantum electrodynamics. He shared the prize with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga.
Fibonacci, Leonardo c1170 c1250 🇮🇹 Italy Mathematics Leonardo Fibonacci was also known as Leonardo of Pisa. Fibonacci was most famous for the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers. The irrational number “Phi”, also known as the golden ratio, can be derived from the Fibonacci sequence.
Fleming, Alexander 1881 1955 🇬🇧 UK Bacteriology.  Nobel Prize 1945. Sir Alexander discovered the first ever antibiotic by accident in 1928. Returning from holiday he discovered a bacteria-destroying fungus “penicillin” in Petri dishes he’d left lying around. This became an effective remedy for many infections. Fleming shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Ernst Boris Chain and Howard Florey.
Foucault, Léon Jean Bernand 1819 1868 🇫🇷 France Physics Leon Foucault ascertained the speed of light by bouncing it off a series of rotating mirrors. He showed light in air moves faster than in water. The French physicist also proved Earth’s rotation using what became known as “Foucault’s Pendulum“. He demonstrated the pendulum at the Panthéon, Paris in 1851. Foucault was one of the most famous scientists of all time.
Franklin, Melissa Eve Bronwen 1956 🇨🇦 Canada Physics Melissa Franklin is best known for her work on particle physics. She is currently the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and before that she had a tenure at Harvard. She was in charge of a team that first found signs that top quarks exist. She often appears as a guest on the CBC radio science program Quirks and Quarks. One of the greatest female scientists alive today.
Franklin, Rosalind 1920 1958 🇬🇧 UK X-ray Crystallography, Chemistry. Rosalind Franklin’s areas of research were DNA, RNA, graphite, coal and viruses. Her work greatly improved understanding of molecular structures. It is widely believed that James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA was only possible through Franklin’s work.
Fraunhofer, Joseph of 1787 1826 🇩🇪 Germany Astronomy Josef von Fraunhofer created the telescope with which Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) was able to measure the parallax of a fixed star. He improved lenses and prisms, and through experiments with light found hundreds of spectral lines.
Freud, Sigmund 1856 1939 🇩🇪 Germany Psychology and neurology. Sigmund Freud is considered the father of “psychoanalysis“. Sexual drive and death primarily drive our behavior, somewhere in the middle are “displacement“, the “subconscious“, the “ego” and “superego” as well as neuroses.
Galen of Pergamon c129 c199 🇬🇷 Greece Medicine Galen was probably the first sports physician of all time. He viewed body and soul as a whole (the origin of psychoanalysis). He wrote 22 books about the organism, pathology, physiology, treatment and pharmacology.
Galilei, Galileo 1564 1642 🇮🇹 Italy Astronomy, physics and chemistry. Galileo Galilei is the founder of the fields of dynamics mechanics and acoustics. He discovered the laws of falling bodies, ballistics and pendulums, and confirmed Copernicus‘ heliocentric view of the world through astronomical observations using a telescope he’d also improved. In this way, he first saw the moon’s surface and many other stars. The scientific genius also examined gases and proved that air has a weight of its own and is, therefore, also matter. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Gauss, Karl Friedrich 1777 1855 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics and astronomy. Gauss was a versatile genius. Aged 15 he had already deduced a connection between prime numbers and logarithms and discovered “the method of least squares“. Gauss influenced the fields of algebra with evidence of the so-called fundamental theorem (an equation of the nth degree has n roots), stochastics, integral calculus (Gaussian set), and magnetism. Ahead of other greatest scientists Gauss was the first to refute the Euclidean parallel postulate. He also found an easy way to represent complex numbers using the coordinate system. This famous mathematician computed planetary orbits and optical laws. Together with Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891) he built the first electromagnetic telegraph system.
Gilbert, William 1540 1603 🇬🇧 UK Physics and medicine William Gilbert realized the Earth itself is magnetic and that our planet has two (and not, as originally thought one) magnetic poles. Born in Colchester, Essex, England. Gilbert investigated electricity and developed the first electroscope for measuring electricity.
Goodall, Jane 1934 🇬🇧 UK Anthropology, Primatology. Jane Goodall (Dame Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall and previously Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall to give her her full name) is world famous for her studies of primates and seen as the leading expert on chimpanzees. She has won numerous awards for her work, the best known being her 45-year study on the social lives of chimpanzees in Tanzania. Surprising to many, her research revealed that although chimpanzees are largely “nicer than human beings“, they could also be brutal, and sometimes have a darker side to their nature.
Göppert, Maria 1906 1972 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇺🇸 USA Physics. Nobel Prize 1963. Maria Göppert (or later Goeppert Mayer after her marriage to Joseph Mayer) was a theoretical physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for her mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells. After Marie Curie, she was the 2nd female Nobel laureate in physics. Her doctorate was on the two-photon absorption by atoms and today, the unit for this absorption is named the GM unit after her.
Grassmann, Hermann 1809 1877 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics and physics. Hermann Grassmann was an introverted philologist and autodidact in Mathematics. He conducted research on electrical currents, color theory, acoustics, phonetics and harmony. Grassmann’s mathematical work “The theory of linear extension” contained treatises on quaternions, matrix calculus and vector calculations.
Haber, Fritz 1868 1934 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1918. Fritz Haber is both an infamous and famous scientist! In 1918 Haber received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this part in the invention of the Haber–Bosch process which enhanced food production. On the downside he is known as the “father of chemical warfare” because he weaponized poison gases used in WWI and created ammonia synthesis used to manufacture explosives.
Hahn, Otto 1879 1968 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1944. Otto Hahn irradiated uranium with neutrons in 1938 which split uranium and freed barium. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for this first “nuclear fission”. Hahn was a close friend of the physicist Lise Meitner.
Halley, Edmond 1656 1742 🇬🇧 UK Astronomy, mathematics and physics. Edmond Halley was the second Astronomer Royal. His observations were published in “Catalogus stellarum australium” (star maps). In his 1705 “A synopsis of the astronomy of comets” Halley concluded the comets of 1531, 1607, and 1682 were the same comet and that it would return in 1758. It became known as Halley’s Comet. He later explained geomagnetic phenomena including auroras. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Hamilton, Rowan 1805 1865 🇬🇧 UK Mathematics and physics. Rowan Hamilton was a prodigy who spoke 13 languages. Hamilton was appointed head of an observatory aged just 23. By 27 he was a well-known scientist who created the quaternions (hyper complex numbers a + bi + cj + dk) and vector calculus.
Hawking, Stephen 1942 2018 🇬🇧 UK Astrophysics and mathematics. Despite suffering from ALS (motor neurone disease) for over 50 years, the English physicist Stephen Hawking researched the black holes of our universe. He wrote the 1988 bestsellerA Brief History of Time” and in 2001 “The Universe in a Nutshell“. Hawking was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century and joins this list of famous scientists in history.
Heisenberg, Werner 1901 1976 🇩🇪 Germany Physics. Werner Heisenberg was a German physicist most famous for his 1927 publication of “Heisenberg uncertainty principle“. Heisenberg discovered atoms behave differently when observed. He concluded electrons can only change by so-called “quantum leaps” which led to the term “Quantum theory“.
Helmholtz, Hermann von 1821 1894 🇩🇪 Germany Physics and medicine. Helmholtz examined the fermentation, putrefaction and heat production of living beings. In his book on the Conservation of energy (1847) he showed energy can be transformed, but never lost.
Hero of Alexandria c10 AD c70 AD 🇬🇷 Greece, 🇪🇬 Egypt Mathematics and mechanics. Hero of Alexandria (also known as Heron of Alexandria) was a mathematician, engineer and inventor. He was expert at putting science into practice. Hero was among the first to build many machines including; vending machines, force / piston pump, windwheel / windmill, music machines, a fountain “Hero’s fountain“. He described a design for a steam turbine called an “aeolipile” or “Hero engine“.
Herophilos of Chalcedon c330 BC c255 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Medicine Herophilos was the first to perform autopsies on people and animals. In doing so he discovered basic functions of the liver, spleen, intestines, heart, eyes, nerves, brain and bloodstream. Herophilos was also the first to distinguish veins from arteries.
Herschel, Caroline Lucretia 1750 1848 🇩🇪 Germany Astronomy Lucretia Herschel’s greatest contributions to astronomy included discovering a number of comets like the comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which is named after her. Her brother was William Herschel, who was a famous astronomer in his own right. They collaborated closely on their work. From 1786 to 1797 she discovered a total of 8 comets. She also played a great role in cataloguing nebulae and clusters of stars. Her work was recognized with various honors such as a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, and another from the King of Prussia on her 96th birthday. One of the greatest female scientists of the 18th century.
Herschel, William 1738 1822 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇬🇧 UK Astronomy and mathematics. William Herschel was a dedicated astronomer who observed the night sky through his home-made telescope. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, the Milky Way and concluded all stars are suns. Herschel was one of the most famous scientists of all time.
Hertz, Heinrich 1857 1894 🇩🇪 Germany Physics Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves, as predicted by James Maxwell’s equations. Hertz conducted ground-breaking research on electromagnetic waves. The Hertz unit of frequency is named after him.
Hilbert, David 1862 1943 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics David Hilbert reduced geometry to a series of axioms. Hilbert is most famous for his list of the 23 big “problems of mathematics” (his 24th was found later) in 1900. Many of the 23 have since been solved by other famous scientists.
Hipparchos c190 BC c120 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Astronomy and mathematics. Observed over 1000 stars and recorded them in a catalog and a map of the sky. Hipparchos calculated the length of the sun’s and of the sidereal year as well as the lunar month. He is considered the founder of trigonometry.
Hippocrates c460 BC c370 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Medicine Hippocrates is widely considered the father of western medicine. He looked for the causes of disease in lifestyle and diet rather than as punishment by the gods. He was effectively the first general practitioner, surgeon and dietician. Even today, doctors still swear the “Hippocratic Oath“. He used the first medications to be won from nature for healing purposes.
Hodgkin, Dorothy Mary 1910 1994 🇬🇧 UK Biochemistry and X-ray crystallography. Nobel Prize 1964. Dorothy Hodgkin is known for her research into protein crystallography, which examines how protein crystals form. They are mainly used in science and industrial applications. Her X-ray crystallography techniques are used work out 3D structures of biomolecules. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964 for her work on the structure of vitamin B12.
Hooke, Robert 1635 1703 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry and biology. Together with Robert Boyle, Hooke improved the air pump devised by Otto von Guericke (1602-1686), developed special microscopes with which he discovered plant cells (named after him).
Howard, Luke 1772 1864 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry and meteorology. Known as the “father of meteorology“, he devised a nomenclature system for clouds in 1802 which – with modifications – is still in use today. He gave names to the three main types of clouds – cumulus, stratus and cirrus and combinations like stratocumulus and cumulonimbus.
Hubble, Edwin 1889 1953 🇺🇸 USA Astronomy and physics. In 1925, Edwin Hubble proved that the “Andromeda Nebula M31” lies far beyond our Milky Way and thereby prepared for the discovery (by Georges Lemaître) of the expansion of the universe. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Huygens, Christian 1629 1695 🇳🇱 Netherlands Physics, mathematics and astronomy. Jack of all trades. Discovered the rings of Saturn with a self-made telescope, constructed new pendant and pocket watches, explained the theory of probability, described the so-called impact law, founded a new theory of light and dealt with vibration and circular motion (centrifugal force).
Jackson, Shirley Ann 1946 🇺🇸 USA Physics Shirley Jackson is famous for her contributions to the field of nuclear physics and has received numerous awards for her work along with honorary doctorate degrees. She was the first African American woman with a doctorate degree in nuclear physics at MIT.
Jennings, Edward 1749 1823 🇬🇧 UK Virology and medicine. Brave enough to take risks, in 1796 he inoculated a healthy 8-year-old boy with (cow) smallpox pathogens against smallpox and was successful. Edward Jennings is, therefore, considered the father of the smallpox vaccination.
Joliot-Curie, Irène 1897 1956 🇫🇷 France Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1935. Irene Joliot Curie, who was the daughter of the famous Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, won the 1935 Nobel Prize for chemistry together with her husband Frederic for finding artificial radioactivity. As a result, the Curie family holds the record for the most Nobel laureates to date. Joliot-Curie’s 2 children, Hélène and Pierre, are also respected scientists.
Joule, James Prescott 1818 1889 🇬🇧 UK Physics and chemistry. Proved through experimentation that heat is a form of energy which is dependent on resistance, time and current strength. James Prescott Joule also discovered the internal energy of gases (the Joule-Thomson effect).
Jump Cannon, Annie 1863 1941 🇺🇸 USA Astronomy Annie Jump Cannon was a famous astronomer for the “Harvard Classification Scheme” which classified stars based on their temperatures and spectral types. She classified over 300,000 stellar bodies, more than any other person, which earned her the nickname “Census Taker of the Sky”. In 1925 Cannon became the first female recipient of an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. In 1929 Annie Jump Cannon was chosen by the League of Women Voters as one of the “greatest living American women” and in 1994 Cannon was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Kelvin, William Thomson 1824 1907 🇮🇪 Ireland Physics and chemistry. William Kelvin was specialist in thermodynamics. He developed and fixed the Kelvin units temperature scale. Together with James Joule, Kelvin discovered gases under pressure change temperature and that at “absolute zero” (-273 ° C) all particles stop moving.
Kepler, Johannes 1571 1630 🇩🇪 Germany Astronomy and mathematics. Johannes Kepler discovered the laws of planetary motion (ellipses) and recorded a profile of star orbits. His calculations used integrals and logarithms for the first time. Kepler also confirmed discoveries made by Galileo Galilei.
Kirch, Maria Margarethe 1670 1720 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics and Astronomy. Maria Kirch, born Winkelmann, was one of the first famous astronomers due to her writings on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter. She was educated by her father, a minister, who believed girls deserved the same education as boys. Her husband, Gottfried Kirch, was a famous German astronomer and mathematician and 30 years older. They worked together as a team and had 4 children, all of whom also studied astronomy. In 1702, she became the first woman to discover a new comet, now known as the “Comet of 1702“, and published widely on astronomy. When her husband died, she tried to take his place at the Royal Academy of Sciences but the Academy refused. One of the greatest female scientists of the 17th century.
Kirchhoff, Gustav R. 1824 1887 🇩🇪 Germany Physics Gustav Kirchhoff discovered spectral analysis together with Robert Bunsen. This made it possible to detect tiny amounts of an element. Kirchhoff defined the laws of electric circuits and investigated the sun’s thermal radiation.
Knuth, Donald Emeritus 1938 🇺🇸 USA Mathematics and computer science. Witty Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, Knuth is famous in the world of computer programming and is known by some as the “father of the analysis of algorithms“. Having created various programming systems and architectures himself he is personally against software patents.
Koch, Robert 1843 1910 🇩🇪 Germany Medicine. Nobel Prize 1905. Through painstaking and lengthy (animal) experiments Robert Koch discovered the spores, bacteria and pathogens of cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, anthrax, sleeping sickness and the plague.
Lagrange, Joseph-Louis 1736 1813 🇮🇹 Italy Astronomy and mathematics. Joseph-Louis Lagrange was a maths professor at just 19 years old. He performed ground-breaking work in almost all areas of pure mathematics, he founded analytical mechanics (Lagrangian), solved the three-body problem in celestial mechanics (Lagrangian points), the calculus of variations and the theory of complex functions!
Lamarck, Jean de 1744 1829 🇫🇷 France Zoology and biology. Jean Lamarck developed the first “theory of evolution” before Charles Darwin! He introduced the term “invertebrates” and recognized, before Darwin, that species are not immutable.
Laplace, Pierre Simon 1749 1827 🇫🇷 France Physics, mathematics and astronomy. Pierre Laplace lived through the French Revolution, Napoleon and the Bourbons all at close quarters. He still managed to focus on his probability theory (in games of chance), “celestial mechanics” (the calculation of planetary orbits, and the existence of black holes).
Lavoisier, Antoine 1743 1794 🇫🇷 France Chemistry Antoine Lavoisier is the father of modern chemistry. He proved water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen and that air is a compound of oxygen and nitrogen. Lavoisier’s meticulous experiments with sulfur and phosphorus demonstrated a burnt substance gains as much weight as the oxygen added. Lavoisier provided a nomenclature for chemistry by counting and symbolizing elements. During the French Revolution, he was guillotined to death, ending the life of one of the most famous scientists of all time.
Leavitt, Henrietta Swan 1868 1921 🇺🇸 USA Astronomy Henrietta Swan Leavitt was a human “computer” at the Harvard College Observatory. She examined photographic plates to catalog and measure the brightness of stars. Leavitt discovered a relationship between the luminosity and period of Cepheid variables. This made the stars the first “standard candle” in astronomy, known as “Leavitt’s law” today. Scientists use Leavitt’s law to compute distances to remote galaxies which are too remote for parallax observations. Hubble used Leavitt’s luminosity–period relationship together with Vesto Slipher’s galactic spectral shifts to formulate Hubble’s law to establish the universe is expanding.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm 1646 1716 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics, physics and philosophy. Wilhelm Leibniz worked intensively with symbolic logic. Along with Sir Isaac Newton, he developed the differential and infinitesimal calculus, introduced the integral sign, built a calculating machine (in 1672) which could multiply, divide and extract square roots, developed the dual system (precursor of modern computer technology), invented a device to measure wind and drafted plans for submarines!
Lemaître, Georges 1894 1966 🇧🇪 Belgium Cosmologist and a Catholic priest. Georges Lemaître is considered the father of the Big Bang theory. In his 1931 paper he proposed the shocking idea that the Universe was expanding, which solved related equations of General Relativity. Edwin Hubble validated this with his telescope showing distant galaxies receding. Lemaître concluded if the universe is expanding, then it must have originated at a finite point in time.
Levi-Montalcini, Rita 1909 2012 🇮🇹 Italy Medicine and neurology. Nobel Prize 1986. Rita Levi-Montalcini is best known for her work on nerve growth. Rita Levi-Montalcini won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for her NGF (nerve growth factor) work. One of the greatest female scientists to live to be over 100. One of Italy’s most famous scientists.
Liebig, Justus von 1803 1873 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry Justus von Liebig was a pioneer of organic chemistry and founder of agriculture chemistry. Liebig founded a chemical laboratory and scientific training center in Giessen, Germany and undertook many organic elemental analyses with his students. Liebig investigated metabolism, and showed agriculture withdraws important nutrients from the soil which can only be replaced by adding fertilizers.
Linde, Carl von 1842 1934 🇩🇪 Germany Physics Carl von Linde developed a technical method (the Linde process), which makes the liquefaction of gases and oxygen in large quantities possible. Among other things, this improved refrigeration processes.
Linnaeus, Carl 1707 1778 🇸🇪 Sweden Botany, zoology and medicine. The Swedish naturalist, botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus was the first to document and classify minerals, plants and animals into phyla, classes, order, family, genus and species. His major works include “Species Plantarum” (1752) and “Systema Naturae” (1758).
Lobachevsky, Nikolai Ivanovich 1793 1856 🇷🇺 Russia Mathematics Nikolai Lobachevsky, a Russian mathematician, developed the first complete system of non-Euclidean geometry. It was based on the hypothesis of the acute angle (hyperbolic geometry). His work on hyperbolic geometry is also known as “Lobachevskian geometry“. His fundamental study on Dirichlet integrals is also known as “Lobachevsky integral formula“.
Lorenz, Konrad 1903 1989 🇦🇹 Austria Zoology. Nobel Prize 1973. Konrad Lorenz is still considered one of the most important behavioral researchers (anthropologist) of all time. After his experiments, mainly in graylag geese (Anser anser), in particular one goose named “Martina“, he established the concept of “imprinting“. Lorenz received the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research.
Mach, Ernst 1838 1916 🇦🇹 Austria Physics and philosophy. Velocity, relative to the speed of sound at 20° C = 343 m/s and defined using a unit in his name: “Mach number”. His contribution to physics included a study of shock waves. Through experimentation Ernst Mach also confirmed the Doppler effect, which was still controversial in his day.
Magnus, Albert 1193 1280 🇩🇪 Germany Biology and philosophy. Albert Magnus was one of the founders of modern science. He described a large number of plants “De vegetabilibus” and animals and insects “De animalibus“. Magnus was also a bishop and teacher of the famous philosopher Thomas Aquinas.
Marconi, Guglielmo 1874 1937 🇮🇹 Italy Physics. Nobel Prize 1909 Guglielmo Marconi was a pioneer of radio technology. Using evidence of electromagnetic waves and antennas from the Russian Popov, Marconi built the first wireless radio link. Guglielmo Marconi received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Maxwell, James 1831 1879 🇬🇧 UK Physics and mathematics. James Maxwell was famous for his Theory of Electromagnetism. Maxwell discovered light is electromagnetic radiation. He made valuable contributions to the theory of gases and heat. Maxwell calculated the average speed of molecules in gases “Maxwell’s Law” along with new insights in optics.
Mayer, Julius Robert 1814 1878 🇩🇪 Germany Physics and chemistry. Julius Mayer provided essential foundations for the field of thermodynamics. Mayer described the principle of the conservation of energy. This still holds true in chemistry, physics and engineering today. Unfortunately, James Joule took most of the credit for his discoveries.
McClintock, Barbara 1902 1992 🇺🇸 USA Genetics. Nobel Prize 1983. Barbara McClintock was a scientist and cytogeneticist who specialized in the development of maize cytogenetics. Her breakthrough findings determined that genes could move within and between chromosomes, which went against the thinking at the time. In 1983 she was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in this category. She was also awarded prestigious fellowships, and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Meitner, Lise 1878 1968 🇦🇹 Austria, 🇸🇪 Sweden Physics Lise Meitner worked in the areas of nuclear physics and radioactivity and was in the group that discovered nuclear fission. Her colleague, Otto Hahn, was awarded the Nobel Prize for their work which has been a controversial decision for the Nobel committee ever since.
Mendel, Gregor 1822 1884 🇦🇹 Austria Biology Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk who conducted cross-breeding experiments on peas and beans. His studies revealed new insights into genetic transmission rules. Gregor Mendel’s “Mendelian Laws” made him the father of artificial insemination.
Mendeleev, Dmitri 1834 1907 🇷🇺 Russia Chemistry Dmitri Mendeleev provided order to the chaos of the elements by establishing the Periodic Table of chemical elements. Mendeleev divided chemical elements into eight groups and arranged them in order of increasing atomic weight. He predicted 8 elements which he labelled using the prefixes; eka, dvi and tri (from the Sanskrit for 1, 2 and 3). Eka-boron (Eb), eka-aluminium (Ea), eka-manganese (Em) and eka-silicon (Es) turned out to be the properties of Scandium, Gallium, Technetium and Germanium which now fill the spots in the periodic table predicted and assigned by Mendeleev. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Messier, Charles 1730 1817 🇫🇷 France Astronomy. Frenchman Charles Messier discovered twenty comets, galaxies and distant stars along with other famous astronomers of his time, including William Herschel, Pierre Méchain, Jérome Lalande and Johann Encke. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Michelson, Albert 1852 1931 🇺🇸 USA Physics. Nobel Prize 1907. Albert Michelson was the first person to measure the speed of light with electrical equipment around 1930. He had already developed a system for measuring light waves named after him “Michelson interferometer” for which he was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize for physics.
Mitchell, Maria 1818 1889 🇺🇸 USA Astronomy Maria Mitchell was the very first American female to become a professional astronomer. She discovered a comet in 1847, winning her a gold medal prize presented by King Frederick VI of Denmark. The comet was then named “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” She was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer and the first woman to be elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She later fought for equal pay at Vassar College, where she taught until one year before her death.
Nobel, Alfred Bernhard 1833 1896 🇸🇪 Sweden Physics and chemistry. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite along with 355 other patents. He Introduced the world-famous Nobel prizes for various fields after reading his obituary while still alive. Shocked by its lackluster content he set about improving his legacy. Nobelium, a synthetic element, was named after him. One of Sweden’s most famous scientists.
Newton, Sir Isaac 1642 1727 🇬🇧 UK Physics, mathematics and astronomy. Isaac Newton was an introverted genius and child prodigy. As a child student in Cambridge Isaac Newton revolutionized the fields of mathematics (calculus), optics (color theory) and mechanics (universal gravitation, formulated after an apple fell from a tree hitting him on the head). Later Newton calculated Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, lunar orbit and tides, described the “binomial theorem“, devised formulas for calculating sound velocity and the penetrative power of missiles. In order to avoid frequent disturbances by his cat, he even developed the cat flap. Newton’s greatest work was the “Prinicipia Mathematica” in 1687. Newton is one of the most famous scientists of all time.
Noether, Amalie Emmy 1882 1935 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics, Physics. Amalie Noether was notable for her work on abstract algebra and theoretical physics, leading Albert Einstein to describe her as the most important woman in the history of mathematics. Other special fields were theories of rings, fields, and algebras. “Noether’s theorem“, published in 1918, states the connection between symmetry and its corresponding conservation law.
Nüsslein-Volhard, Christiane 1942 🇩🇪 Germany Medicine, genetics and embryology. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard won the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1991 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995, together with Eric Wieschaus and Edward B. Lewis, for their research on the genetic control of embryonic development. One of the most famous scientists still alive today.
Ohm, Georg Simon 1789 1854 🇩🇪 Germany Physics Simon Ohm examined the relationship between current, voltage and resistance. If two of the three variables are known, the third can be determined by Ohm’s formula:
Amperage divided by Voltage = Resistance.
Omar Khayyam 1048 1131 🇮🇷 Iran Mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Perian Omar Khayyam solved cubic equations in an algebraic and geometric manner. Khayyam also examined the so-called “Pascal’s triangle” and irrational numbers. Khayyam designed the Islamic calendar and was not only one of the most famous scientists but also a philosopher and a poet.
Oppenheimer, Robert 1904 1967 🇩🇪 Germany, 🇺🇸 USA Physics Robert Oppenheimer researched quantum mechanics. Oppenheimer developed Trinity, the first atomic bomb in the world. He was horrified by the effect and condemned further missions after he saw the effects of Hiroshima. One of the most famous scientists of the modern era.
Ostwald, Wilhelm 1853 1932 🇩🇪 Germany Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1909. Wilhelm Ostwald experimented with acids, salts and bases, explored their conductivity and reaction rates, and in doing so discovered affinity constants “Ostwald’s Law of Dilution“. The famous chemist also worked extensively with fuel cells and catalysts. In 1909 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work.
Paré, Ambroise 1510 1590 🇫🇷 France Medicine Ambroise Paré is considered the founder of modern surgery. Paré found new ways of treating gunshot wounds, fractures and amputations (through ligation of the vessels). Among other things, Paré was surgeon to four French kings.
Pascal, Blaise 1623 1662 🇫🇷 France Mathematics and physics. Blaise Pascal proved the existence of the vacuum. His experiment known as “Vacuum in the vacuum” placed a mercury barometer in the center of another barometer. The Frenchman also discovered that air pressure decreases with height. Pascal was also a co-founder of probability theory.
Pasteur, Louis 1822 1895 🇫🇷 France Chemistry and bacteriology. Louis Pasteur worked his whole life with fermentation and putrefaction. He discovered that bacteria are responsible for these processes and that they die when boiled “pasteurization“. Pasteur discovered the anthrax pathogen and a vaccine against rabies. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Pauli, Wolfgang 1900 1958 🇦🇹 Austria Physics and mathematics. Nobel Prize 1945. Wolfgang Pauli provided important insights into quantum physics. Specifically his “exclusion principle” which is related to so-called spin. Pauli received the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physics for these principles.
Pauling, Linus 1901 1994 🇺🇸 USA Chemistry and biology. Nobel Prizes 1954 & 1962. Linus Pauling conducted research with electrons and biological molecules and their chemical bonds found in nature. He is considered one of the fathers of quantum chemistry and, in 1954, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and in 1962, the Nobel Peace Prize. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Pawlow, Ivan 1849 1936 🇷🇺 Russia Psychology Ivan Pavlov famously conditioned dogs by ringing a bell before giving them food. After a time, they salivated as soon as they heard the bell. Based on his research he wrote the doctrine of “conditioned reflex“, whose nervous activity can also be applied to humans.
Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecila
1900 1979 🇬🇧 UK Astronomy and astrophysics. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin’s 1925 doctoral thesis “Stellar Atmospheres; a Contribution to the Observational Study of High Temperature in the Reversing Layers of Stars” reached the groundbreaking conclusion that the composition of stars was related to the abundance of hydrogen and helium in the Universe. This contradicted the scientific wisdom of the time but was independently confirmed in 1929. Payne-Gaposchkin became an American citizen in 1931. Astronomer Otto Struve described Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin’s work as:

The most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.

Planck, Max 1858 1947 🇩🇪 Germany Physics. Nobel Prize 1918. Max Planck assumed that energy is radiated as so-called quantum (i.e. not as a stream but in packets), and thus founded quantum theory. This states that the size of an energy packet is proportional to the number of oscillations (multiplied by the constant factor h). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1918. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Priestley, Joseph 1733 1804 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry Joseph Priestley was a theologian who isolated gases by using mercury. This led to his discoveries of oxygen, hydrochloric acid and laughing gas (nitrous oxide). Priestley also mixed water with carbon dioxide and in the process accidentally invented mineral water which is very popular today.
Ptolemy, Claudius c100 c169 🇬🇷 Greece, 🇪🇬 Egypt Astronomy and geology. Claudius Ptolemy was a genius across many disciplines. He wrote extensive works on mathematics and astronomy (his major work: Almagest), geography (definition of latitude), music theory, optics (refraction) and philosophy. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Pythagoras c569 BC c475 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Mathematics, philosophy and astronomy. Pythagoras was a notable philosopher (pre-Socratic) and famous mathematician, astronomer and scientist. Pythagoras founded a school called “The Semicircle of Pythagoras” which blended science and religion. It’s thought discoveries made by members were attributed to Pythagoras, possibly even Pythagoras’ Theorem. Pythagoras is one of the most famous scientists of the late archaic period in Greece.
Ramón y Cajal, Santiago 1852 1934 🇪🇸 Spain Physics and medicine. Nobel Prize 1906. Santiago Ramón y Cajal was a brain researcher who discovered the central nervous system consists of billions of neurons which communicate via so-called synapses. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his insight in 1906. One of Spain’s most famous scientists.
Ramsay, William 1852 1916 🇬🇧 UK Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1904. Ramsay discovered the noble gases argon, krypton, xenon and neon, and, during the decay of radon, observed the formation of helium. He found a method for determining atomic weights. In 1904 he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Randall, Lisa 1962 🇺🇸 USA Physics Lisa Randall is a theoretical physicist active in the fields of cosmology and particle physics at Harvard University. Her research covers i.a. elementary particles, supersymmetry, extra dimensions of space, and dark matter. Among others, she is the winner of the Andrew Gemant Award, the Lilienfeld Prize, and the Klopsted Memorial Award. One of the most famous scientists living today.
Rhases, Abu Bakr Muham 844 926 🇮🇷 Iran Medicine Rhases was one of the most famous doctors in the Middle Ages and also head of a hospital in Baghdad with much success in healing. He wrote more than 131 books about diseases and their treatment (including smallpox and measles) as well as two encyclopedias of Medicine. One of Iran’s most famous scientists.
Richter, Charles Francis 1900 1985 🇺🇸 USA Seismology In 1935 Charles Francis Richter created (jointly with B. Gutenberg) the logarithmic units of quake strength known as the “Richter Scale“. The scale is open ended – it has no upper end value for especially strong earthquakes.
Riemann, Bernhard 1826 1866 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics and physics. Bernhard Riemann was instrumental in non-Euclidean geometry “parallel axiom“, the general theory of functions and differential equations.
Roentgen, Wilhelm Konrad 1845 1923 🇩🇪 Germany Physics. Nobel Prize 1901. Konrad Roentgen found a new type of penetrating X-rays in 1895. This later led to computer tomography and ultrasonography. In 1901 he received the first ever awarded Nobel Prize for Physics. One of Germany’s most famous scientists.
Rutherford, Ernest 1871 1937 🇳🇿 New Zealand Chemistry. Nobel Prize 1908. Ernest Rutherford identified three types of radioactivity in 1903; alpha, beta and gamma rays. Rutherford discovered the “photoelectric effect” and performed the first artificial nuclear disintegration. This earned Rutherford the 1933 Chemistry Nobel Prize. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Schrödinger, Erwin 1887 1961 🇦🇹 Austria Physics. Nobel Prize 1933. Schrödinger described wave mechanics as the basis of quantum mechanics (Schrödinger equation). He also founded a theory of color perception. Schrödinger received the 1933 Nobel Prize for Physics.
Siemens, Werner von 1816 1892 🇩🇪 Germany Physics and mechanics. Werner von Siemens discovered early on that rubber is suitable as an insulator. In 1849 Siemens founded a company to manufacture submarine cables. He also improved dynamo using electricity instead of a bar magnet.
Stevin, Simon 1548 1620 🇳🇱 Netherlands Physics and mathematics. Simon Stevin is the founder of modern statics and hydrostatics. Stevin formulated the law of forces; the “hydrostatic paradox” and other laws such as the relationship between force and displacement on an inclined plane.
Strutt, John William 1842 1919 🇬🇧 UK Physics. Nobel Prize 1904. John William Strutt (Baron Rayleigh) researched optics, electricity, thermodynamics and wave theory. He prepared the discovery of the noble gases (see Ramsay). Strutt was the first person to explain why the sky is blue, due to light scattering.
Szent-Györgyi, Albert 1893 1986 🇭🇺 Hungary Biology and medicine. Nobel Prize 1937. Albert Szent-Györgyi researched vitamins and discovered vitamin C. He also worked on oxidation processes in living organisms, carbon metabolism and muscle biology. For his achievements he was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine. One of Hungary’s most famous scientists.
Tesla, Nikola 1856 1943 🇦🇹 Austria, 🇺🇸 USA Physics, engineering and futurist. Nikola Tesla developed the first Alternating Current (AC) system. As an inventor Tesla developed wireless lighting and tried to set up a worldwide wireless electric power distribution network but it ran out of funds. Tesla was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1937.
Theophrastos c372 BC c288 BC 🇬🇷 Greece Biology and botany. Theophrastos was the father of botany and student of Aristotle. He wrote around 400 books. Theophrastos examined many hundreds of plants in detail, explored their origins and examined their medical properties. Two important botanical works are Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and “On the Causes of Plants“.
Thomson, Sir Joseph 1856 1940 🇬🇧 UK Physics. 1906 Nobel Prize. Thompson discovered the free electron by his research into cathode rays in 1897. He also discovered that ions and electrons are the charge carriers in electrical discharges in gases. 1906 Nobel Prize for Physics. One of the most famous scientists of all time.
Tinbergen, Nikolaas 1907 1988 🇳🇱 Netherlands Biologist, zoology and medicine. Nobel Prize 1973. Nikolaas Tinbergen investigated animal behavior (especially fish and insects) and humans (childhood autism). He also wrote books including “The Study of Instinct” on behaviorism. Nikolaas Tinbergen was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.
Tyndall, John
1820 1893 🇬🇧 UK Physics John Tyndall studied diamagnetism. He made discoveries about infrared radiation and the physical properties of air. He also published books about experimental physics and was professor of physics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, England. He was also a notable mountaineer!
Van de Graaf, Robert 1901 1967 🇺🇸 USA Physics Most famous for developing the eponymous Van de Graaf generator between 1931 and 1933. The generator was able to generate millions of volts which were used to accelerate charged particles.
Vesalius, Andreas 1515 1564 🇧🇪 Belgium Medicine Vesalius conducted dissections as a student already and by the age of 23 was a professor of surgery. He wrote seven books about the anatomy of the human body and was later also the personal physician of Emperor Charles V of Spain.
Vieta, Francois 1540 1603 🇫🇷 France Mathematics Vieta introduced letters, fraction bars, the root sign and parentheses into mathematics in order to simplify calculations and make formulas more understandable. Thomas Harriot (1560-1621) replaced Vieta’s large letters with small ones, thus founding modern algebraic notation.
Volta, Alessandro 1745 1827 🇮🇹 Italy Physics Alessandro Volta built on Luigi Galvani’s (1737-1798) discovery of the electric current to discover the electrolysis of water. Among others, Volta invented the battery (1800), an ampere meter and the “voltaic pile“.
Watt, James 1736 1819 🇬🇧 UK Physics James Watt perfected the efficiency of steam engines by developing new capacitors and the use of connecting rods. James Watt invented “Watt’s parallelogram” and a land survey telescope among other things.
Weierstraß, Karl 1815 1897 🇩🇪 Germany Mathematics Karl Weierstrass made important discoveries for the further development of the general function theory, number theory, and power series. His main work dealt with the proper foundation of analysis (for example in the treatment of infinite products). He also coined the term uniform convergence “Weierstrass criterion“.
Wu, Chien-Shiung 1912 1997 🇨🇳 China Physics. Nobel Prize 1957. Chien-Shiung Wu contributed greatly to the field of nuclear physics, also working on the Manhattan Project. She is famous for the “Wu experiment“, that earned her and her colleagues the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, and Wu the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. She was often compared to Marie Curie and given nicknames like “the Chinese Madame Curie“, and the “Queen of Nuclear Research“. One of China’s most famous scientists.
Young, Thomas 1773 1829 🇬🇧 UK Physics and medicine. Thomas Young was gifted in languages and all-round genius. At aged two he spoke 10 languages fluently. He went on to research color theory, light waves, the tides, statics and technology. He also deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, including the three scripts of the famous “Rosetta Stone“.

See also: Greatest Mathematicians A-Z | Famous Chemists A-Z | Best Physicists A-Z

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