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Thread: Who are the top scientists?

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    Who are the top scientists?

    For invention and impact First place is a tie, Maxwell and Newton. They underwrote science and technology.

    2nd the major players in QM. QM along with electromagnetics is essentially science.

    3rd Gauss. Covered a lot of ground that went forward.

    4th a tie between many like Ampere, Faraday, Oersted and others.

    5th Einstein. He was a bit of a flash in the pan, and Relativity while important not as impactful as the others. The Photoelectric Effect was important, more so than Relativity.

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    the baby-eater
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    Charles Darwin is up there: the Origin of Species introduced a new paradigm for biology.

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    Does Johannes Gutenberg count? You could make a round-about argument that he was a kind of engineer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Does Johannes Gutenberg count? You could make a round-about argument that he was a kind of engineer.
    Not really a scientist, though the printing press was obviously hugely impactful to science and its promotion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    For invention and impact First place is a tie, Maxwell and Newton. They underwrote science and technology.

    2nd the major players in QM. QM along with electromagnetics is essentially science.

    3rd Gauss. Covered a lot of ground that went forward.

    4th a tie between many like Ampere, Faraday, Oersted and others.

    5th Einstein. He was a bit of a flash in the pan, and Relativity while important not as impactful as the others. The Photoelectric Effect was important, more so than Relativity.
    Both Special and General Relativity were enormous game changers as to how the universe behaves at the macroscopic level. They define the concepts of time and gravity, and are foundational elements for further work with understanding everything from the expansion of the universe, black holes, to everyday stuff like GPS navigation.

    Charles Darwin's concept of evolution by natural selection was also a giant leap forward.

    Maxwell's work with electromagnetism was also a huge game changer, as you have already mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shake View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Does Johannes Gutenberg count? You could make a round-about argument that he was a kind of engineer.
    Not really a scientist, though the printing press was obviously hugely impactful to science and its promotion.
    I sometimes think about a round-about argument where the obviously important and positive rise of science is actually going to be seen as the instigator of the decline of the biosphere. David Christian talks about a 'fossil fuel revolution' which could only happen with modern science.

    But then with a more deterministic view people even as late as the 19th century had no means to recognize what they were doing.

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    Archimedes needs to be near the top.

    Newton isn't expounded in the OP enough. Not only did he have good intuition in addition to his advances in science, but he (along with Leibniz) invented a new type of math (Calculus)!
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shake View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Does Johannes Gutenberg count? You could make a round-about argument that he was a kind of engineer.
    Not really a scientist, though the printing press was obviously hugely impactful to science and its promotion.
    I sometimes think about a round-about argument where the obviously important and positive rise of science is actually going to be seen as the instigator of the decline of the biosphere. David Christian talks about a 'fossil fuel revolution' which could only happen with modern science.

    But then with a more deterministic view people even as late as the 19th century had no means to recognize what they were doing.
    The early 20th century is fraught with arrogance and science.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    ...
    2nd the major players in QM. QM along with electromagnetics is essentially science.
    ...
    5th Einstein. He was a bit of a flash in the pan, and Relativity while important not as impactful as the others. The Photoelectric Effect was important, more so than Relativity.
    "Flash in the pan"? Why so much anti-Einstein condescension these days?

    The problem with including "the major players in QM" on a list like this is ... Who were the most major players? Several come to mind, and some, e.g. Hermann Weyl, might be overlooked. But one of the very key early lights in the initial development of quantum theory was ... Albert Einstein !

    Galileo Galilei also belongs near the top of the list. Like Einstein, his greatness has become a cliché, making him easy to overlook!

    Faraday and Lavoisier are excellent candidates if you want a somewhat longer list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swammerdami View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    ...
    2nd the major players in QM. QM along with electromagnetics is essentially science.
    ...
    5th Einstein. He was a bit of a flash in the pan, and Relativity while important not as impactful as the others. The Photoelectric Effect was important, more so than Relativity.
    "Flash in the pan"? Why so much anti-Einstein condescension these days?

    The problem with including "the major players in QM" on a list like this is ... Who were the most major players? Several come to mind, and some, e.g. Hermann Weyl, might be overlooked. But one of the very key early lights in the initial development of quantum theory was ... Albert Einstein !

    Galileo Galilei also belongs near the top of the list. Like Einstein, his greatness has become a cliché, making him easy to overlook!

    Faraday and Lavoisier are excellent candidates if you want a somewhat longer list.
    Not just my opinion.

    For scope and and impact at the top is Newton and Maxwell. Einstein himself acknowledged building on Maxwell. Maxwell, Newton, and QM underwrote all of midern technology and most of science. Maxwell and Newton both built on others, neither they nor Einstein created in a vaccuum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Swammerdami View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    ...
    2nd the major players in QM. QM along with electromagnetics is essentially science.
    ...
    5th Einstein. He was a bit of a flash in the pan, and Relativity while important not as impactful as the others. The Photoelectric Effect was important, more so than Relativity.
    "Flash in the pan"? Why so much anti-Einstein condescension these days?

    The problem with including "the major players in QM" on a list like this is ... Who were the most major players? Several come to mind, and some, e.g. Hermann Weyl, might be overlooked. But one of the very key early lights in the initial development of quantum theory was ... Albert Einstein !

    Galileo Galilei also belongs near the top of the list. Like Einstein, his greatness has become a cliché, making him easy to overlook!

    Faraday and Lavoisier are excellent candidates if you want a somewhat longer list.
    Not just my opinion.

    For scope and and impact at the top is Newton and Maxwell. Einstein himself acknowledged building on Maxwell. Maxwell, Newton, and QM underwrote all of midern technology and most of science. Maxwell and Newton both built on others, neither they nor Einstein created in a vaccuum.
    Nobody created in a vacuum in recorded history - and likely even before that.

    Almost all discoveries ever are an extension of someone else's prior research. Perhaps the first guy to notice that flint has a sharp edge if you break it; the guy who worked out that you could feed sticks to a fire and keep it going all night; and the guy who thought of putting a roller under a heavy thing to help move it with less effort, came up with ideas without relying on prior art. But all the originators of scientific endeavour are long since lost to history.

    If relying on the foundational work of others debars a person from greatness, then there are no great people.

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