The best scientist of the last years?

Discussion in 'Science' started by JolyV, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. JolyV

    JolyV Member

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    Which is the best scientist of recent times, after Albert Einstein?

    My vote for Stephen Hawking!

    Found that there is no God
     
  2. oculi

    oculi Member

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    how do you prove a negative?

    i'll counter hawking with Freeman Dyson. i haven't read any of hawking's stuff but it all seems a bit weirdy spacy stuff without any significant contributions to science fiction.
     
  3. [PnP]dredd

    [PnP]dredd Member

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    Do you mean "most popular theoretical physicist"? Science is much broader than just physics, and there's a lot of scientists who don't write popular books.

    Need to define "best". Might want to start somewhere like http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/
     
  4. abadonn

    abadonn (Taking a Break)

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    Crick AND Watson

    this is actually a pretty dumb question.
     
  5. IKT

    IKT Member

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    Neil Degrasse Tyson

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While the need for science is always there, the need to translate what scientists are actually doing and making it cool in the process is climbing every day.
     
  6. Phido

    Phido Member

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    Scientists end up as one of three things.

    1 People who are communicating science
    2 People who made great discoveries through research/experiment
    3 People who just blew everyone away with understanding or a new concept

    Enhanced by overcoming some tremendous issue, stories of awesomeness etc.

    Physicists more often make the grade because physics tends to reinvent everything when you make a major discovery or advancement. Its the most fundamental of the sciences so redefines Chem, Bio, engineering, medicine etc.

    Now really an ideal hero scientist should have all three. Hawking fits in to this (kind of), 2 is a bit weaker (but definitely there) but 1 and 3 are really strong. He overcame some huge personal issues and also has several stories of sheer awesomeness. Path integrals in his head stuff. Hes alive today but bought us some massive idea

    Watson and Crick seemed to have moved lower on my list. Watson resigned after a racist scandal, they have an uncredited collaborator (Rosalind Franklin) who did some of the most innovative stuff, and there's an argument than DNA would have been mapped within 12 months by some one else once X-ray diffraction took off. Maurice really did the advanced stuff but biologists never want to give Physicists credit for finding the key to biology (he did get a share of the Nobel prize).

    Enrico Fermi I think is an understated hero these days (he was much better known in the 50's, sometimes better than Albert). Firstly he was awesome at everything. Experimentally a genius, theoretically a genius, he willingly and knowingly sacrificed his life to accelerate the atomic research to end the war to save others. The stories put him as a walking god, even working among people Like Albert. We should really credit Fermi with the atomic bomb and not Albert.

    Feynman fits this mould well with an extra dose of wackiness as well.

    Oppenheimer went from hero to treasonous villain in a story people wouldn't believe if it was fiction.

    Curie I think stands alone as the only one to have won two Nobel prizes in two hard core sciences (physics and Chem).

    Sagan was probably the best science communicator of all time. But research wasn't quiet as earth shaking (but tangible if not Nobel winning). But he has had massive political and social impact. If you look at Neil Degrasse Tyson, he owes himself directly to Sagan. Sagan picked him, influenced, taught etc.

    9 out of 10 times if you ask people to name a famous scientist they will name a physicist. Physics has the status. Physicists also win prizes in Chem, medicine and biology. Where rarely if ever happens the other way round.
     
  7. abadonn

    abadonn (Taking a Break)

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    The Mayans didnt need to see the Spanish coming as their civilisation had already collapsed by then.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    JolyV

    JolyV Member

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    :thumbup:

    physical, doctors, biologists, mathematicians and chemists, I just want to know (names) of great minds of the past years. I think SH has made great contributions in the field of physics.

    You´re right Watson(American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist) and Crick (English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist) are also great minds of the last years.
     
  9. chaosprophet

    chaosprophet Member

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    The most influential/important mathematician of the 20th century would most likely be Alexander Grothendieck.
     
  10. oculi

    oculi Member

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    in pure mathematics? i'd say Alan Turing was a much more influential mathemagician, and not just because i've never heard of Grothendieck.
     
  11. guy.incogneto

    guy.incogneto Member

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    prob not a scientist but pretty cool, that Asian guy with long hair that does various lectures on space/physics
     
  12. chaosprophet

    chaosprophet Member

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    Indeed.
    The ramificatons of his work extend to theoretical physics.
     
  13. oculi

    oculi Member

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    OK, i'm an engineer so am biased towards things i can hold and use and break.
     
  14. chaosprophet

    chaosprophet Member

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    You can hold an infinite ticker tape? =P
     
  15. Psychotria

    Psychotria (Banned or Deleted)

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    I'd agree with that. I also vote for Edward O. Wilson for influencing the "general public's" view of science. Perhaps also Dawkins but he's a bit more controversial to non-scientists (especially religious people).
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  16. Ricardo

    Ricardo Member

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    Do you mean Michio Kaku ?

    Definitely a great communicator, was also a co-founder of string field theory, definitely a scientist.

    Ric
     
  17. power

    power Member

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    He is a great communicator, speaking of I'm a big fan of Dawkins - for telling it like it is and Carl Sagan - for reminding me of how small and insignificant we are in the cosmos.
     
  18. Smegger

    Smegger Member

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    I'm a big fan of Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse Tyson. They not only increase the wealth of knowledge but educate and inspire.


    However, there can be only one.
    Norman Borlaug, whom most have not heard of, nor will.

    From Wiki(My bold) - "During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations.[5] These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[6] He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

    Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa."


    A true superhero.

    Edit - love this quote;
    Of environmental lobbyists he stated, "some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things".
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  19. IzzehO

    IzzehO Member

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    I read a short biography of his that appeared in a journal a number of years ago. Was definitely a fantastic read and an amazing man.

    Given I'm an electronics engineer at heart, I am definitely more appreciative of those who develop towards tangible products that contribute to society, people like John von Neumann, Harry Nyquist or Vint Cerf. I'm also huge fans of people that were ahead of their time (like Tesla and Fleming).

    The latter shows a big problem with a thread like this. To me, a lot of the great contributions made to science aren't really realised for their greatness until years after. Take, for example, the steps being taken towards quantum computing, we won't know who's contributions were greatest until we finally have a working product and a vast understanding of its requirements.

    Then finally you have people who contribute through recruitment, which is probably the most useful field (why spend your life developing something when you can inspire and teach a thousand others to). Salman Khan is the first example that comes to mind.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  20. Luke212

    Luke212 Member

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    kaku, dyson? both people who did nothing. they are a teacher if anything.
     

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