Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
Athenian philosopher whose writings on mathematics, physics, and biology, and development of the inductive method, were influential for more than 1,800 years.
Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
Danish physicist who proposed an atomic model in which electrons adopt specific energies and shift from one energy to another in quantum jumps.
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).
Danish astronomer who advanced the field principally by designing, constructing, and using instruments that greatly increased the precision and accuracy of astronomical observations.
Henry Cavendish (1731-1810).
British physicist who determined experimentally the value of the gravitational constant, and thus the mass of the Earth.
Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543).
Polish astronomer who devoted much of his life to developing a mathematical model of the solar system in which the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun.
Charles Coulomb (1736-1806).
French physicist who determined the force law between two charged objects: force equals the product of the two charges divided by the square of the distance between them, times an appropriate constant.
Francis Crick (1916–).
British crystallographer who, in 1952, worked with James Watson to solve the DNA structure.
Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934).
Polish-born chemist who spent much of her career working with her husband Pierre in Paris. The Curies refined tons of high-grade uranium ores to extract small quantities of the previously unknown elements polonium and radium.
John Dalton (1766-1844).
English meteorologist who presented the first statement of the modem atomic theory—that matter is composed of atoms of perhaps several dozen varieties that differ in their weights and sizes.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882).
British naturalist who, after serving as naturalist on the voyage of the WvIS Beagle from 1831-1836, developed the theory of biological evolution by natural selection.
Humphry Davy (1778-1829).
British chemist who pioneered the use of the battery to isolate chemical elements.
Democritus of Abdera (c.460-370 B.C.).
Greek philosopher who developed a Philosophical rationalization for atoms, which are indestructible, but may be rearranged to form different substances.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955).
German physicist who made several fundamental contributions to science. In 1905, alone, Einstein demonstrated the atomic origin of Brownian motion, provided compelling evidence for the quantum theory of matter, and produced the first installment of his theory of relativity.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867).
British physicist who, in 1831, discovered electromagnetic induction and inventor of the electric generator.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).
Famous American statesman and signer of the Declaration of independence, who devised an explanation of electrical phenomenon.
Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958).
British crystallographer and chemist who obtained the first x-ray photographs of DNA in the early 1950s.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642).
Galileo transformed both the content and the methodology of science. He was a pioneer in the design of elegant experiments to study the physics of motion, and he was the first astronomer to use the telescope; his discoveries ultimately led to his heresy trial in 1633.
Luigi Galvani (1737-1798).
Italian anatomist who noticed that the leg of a dead frog would twitch when two different metals were touched to each other and to the exposed nerves of the leg, even when no electric shock was applied.
William Gilbert (1544-1603).
English physician and physicist who systematized his own magnetic investigations with earlier work to show that the Earth, itself, is a giant magnet With its own field.
Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976).
German physicist who expressed the uncertainty principle which states that you can't know the exact position and velocity of an object at the same time.
Robert Hooke (16351702).
British physicist and microscopist who discovered units of plants, which he called "cells."
Edwin Hubble (1889-1953).
American astronomer who, in 1924, discovered that galaxies are immense collections of gravitationally bound stars far outside our own Milky Way galaxy. He observed that many galaxies are receding at velocities proportional to their distance.
James Hutton (1726-1797).
Scottish geologist who proposed the doctrine of uniformitarianism, that great geological changes take place through countless decades of gradual increments.
James Prescott Joule (1818-1889).
British physicist who helped to develop the first law of thermodynamics and the mechanical theory of heat.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630).
Tycho Brahe’s mathematically gifted assistant, who analyzed data for Mars and derived three laws of planetary motion.
Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827).
French mathematician who developed the generally accepted model for star formation by gravitational attraction of dust and hydrogen gas into an ever denser, more compact cloud, which flattens into a rotating disk.
Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794).
Influential French chemist, who contributed to the understanding of oxidation and stated its importance in respiration. Lavoisier favored the caloric theory of heat.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723).
Amateur Dutch scientist who was the first to make extensive use of the microscope in the 1670s, and who discovered the abundance of microscopic life.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879).
Scottish physicist who presented four equations that codified every aspect of electromagnetism, including the previously unrecognized phenomenon of electromagnetic radiation.
Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-1884).
Czechoslovakian botanist and monk who was the founder of classical genetics. Mendel developed his laws of heredity during more than 28,000 separate cross-breeding experiments on pea plants.
Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907).
Russian chemist who, in 1869, systematized the weights and chemical properties of 63 chemical elements in his periodic table of the elements.
Isaac Newton (1642-1726).
British natural philosopher and mathematician who made fundamental discoveries in several branches of study. During the remarkable period of 1665-1666, Newton developed calculus, the laws of motion, the law of universal gravitation, and principles of optics and light. Many of his ideas were summarized in the Principia of 1687.
Robert Norman (ca. 1550-1600).
British sailor and instrument maker who described the dip of compass needles. His work foreshadowed the concept of a magnetic field.
Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851).
Danish professor of physics who, while lecturing in front of a classroom in 1820, discovered that electricity can produce magnetic fields.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).
French chemist who debunked the prevailing idea of spontaneous generation. Pasteur's dictum of "No life without prior life" pushed back origins to an inconceivably remote time and place.
Max Planck (1858-1947).
German physicist who, in 1900, proposed the idea that energy comes in discrete bundles, called "quanta," at the atomic scale. This theory helped to explain the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation emitted by a "black body" that absorbs all electromagnetic radiation that falls upon it.
Pliny the Elder (23-79).
Roman scholar who catalogued thousands of "facts" that were known to him or sources he deemed to be reliable, in his 37-volume Natural History.
Ptolemy of Alexandria (c. 100-170).
Greek astronomer who proposed an Earth- centered model that incorporated circular orbits modified by secondary circles, called epicycles.
Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937).
New Zealand-born British physicist whose studies of radioactivity led to experiments that demonstrated the existence of the atomic nucleus.
Benjamin Thompson (1752-1814)
known as Count Rumford. American-born inventor who demonstrated that heat is a form of mechanical work and thus is equivalent to energy.
William Thompson (1824-1907)
known as Lord Kelvin. British physicist who made significant contributions to understanding the laws of thermodynamics.
Alessandro Volta (1745-1827).
Italian physicist who invented the battery in 1794.
James Watson. (1928-).
American biochemist who, in 1952, worked with Francis Crick to solve the DNA structure.