Biographies of famous scientists throughout the ages. This list of scientists includes Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo to modern-day scientists, such as Einstein, Tesla and James Watson.
Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) – Hippocrates was a great doctor of ancient Greece. His pioneering techniques of health care significantly improved survival rates, and he has become the father of modern medicine. His Hippocratic oath is still sworn by medical practitioners today.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) Greek scientist who made investigations and discoveries in the natural sciences including botany, zoology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology and geometry. His prolific output had a significant impact on the study of science in the West.
Euclid (c. 325 – 265 BC) Greek mathematician. Euclid is often referred to as the ‘father of modern geometry.’ His book ‘Elements‘ provided the basis of mathematics into the Twentieth Century.
Archimedes (287 – 212 BC) Greek polymath. Amongst other things Archimedes worked out Pi and developed the Archimedes screw for lifting up water from mines or wells.
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519) Italian artist and Renaissance man. Da Vinci made many scientific discoveries and inventions. Da Vinci was so far ahead of his time, some of his contributions were not actually used.
Nicholaus Copernicus (1473- 1543) Polish scientist. A Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric view of the universe. His book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres (1543) was one of the major moments of the Scientific Revolution.
17th Century Scientists
Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) English philosopher, statesman and scientist. Bacon is considered the father of empiricism for his work and advocacy of scientific method and methodical scientific inquiry in investigating scientific phenomena.
Galileo (1564 – 1642) Italian scientist. Created one of the first modern telescopes, Galileo revolutionised our understanding of the world supporting the work of Copernicus. His work Two New Sciences laid the groundwork for the science of Kinetics and strength of materials.
Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. Kepler is best known for his laws of planetary motion. He formed a key figure in the 17th Century Scientific Revolution.
18th Century Scientists
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632 – 1723) Dutch scientist and trader. Leeuwenhoek is considered the father of microbiology for his work in discovering single-celled organisms and also observing muscle fibres, blood flow and bacteria. He developed the microscope which helped his own discoveries.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) English scientist. Newton made studies in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. In his Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, he laid the foundations for classical mechanics, explaining the law of gravity and the Laws of Motion.
John Harrison (1693 – 1776) English clockmaker and inventor of measuring longitude.
James Watt (1736 – 1819) Scottish engineer. Watt improved the Newcomen steam engine creating an efficient steam engine, which was essential for the industrial revolution.
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743 – 1794) French Chemist and Nobleman. Considered the ‘Father of Chemistry’ Lavoisier discovered hydrogen and Oxygen and showed the role of Oxygen in combustion. He also made the first comprehensive list of Table of Elements. He was guillotined shortly after the French Revolution.
Scientists 19th Century
Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871) – English inventor of the first mechanical computers. Babbage is considered the ‘father of computers’ for his pioneering work on mechanical computers.
Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867) – English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, electrolysis and electrochemistry. Discovered Carbon and Chlorine.
Edward Jenner (1749 – 1823) English pioneer of smallpox vaccine. Jenner’s breakthrough also enabled many other vaccines to be developed.
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) English scientist. Darwin developed the theory of evolution against a backdrop of disbelief and scepticism. Collected evidence over 20 years, and published conclusions in On the Origin of Species (1859).
Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French biologist. Contributed substantially towards the advancement of medical sciences developing cures for rabies, anthrax and other infectious diseases. Also enabled the process of pasteurisation to make milk safer to drink.
Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884) German scientist and Augustinian Friar. Mendel is considered the founder of modern genetics for his discoveries about plant breeding and rules of heredity.
Joseph Lister (1827 – 1912) English surgeon. Lister pioneered the use of antiseptic (Carbolic acid) and antiseptic surgery which dramatically improved survival rates.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) Scottish physicist. Maxwell made a significant contribution to understanding electromagnetism. His research in electricity and kinetics laid the foundation for quantum physics.
Emil Fischer (1838–1914) – German. Fischer was the outstanding chemist of the modern age. He synthesised many products to show their constituent parts. Won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902 for his research into the chemical composition of purines and sugars.
Scientists 20th Century
Alfred Nobel (1833 – 1896) Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. Nobel invented dynamite and held 350 other patents, including for a gas meter. Perhaps most famous for his legacy of Nobel awards.
Dmitri Mendeleev (1834 – 1907) Russian Chemist. Formulated the Periodic Law and standardised the Periodic Table of Elements which is still used today. Mendeleev wrote Principles of Chemistry (1868–1870) a classic textbook for many decades.
Alexander Bell (1847 – 1922) – Scottish inventor of the telephone and developments in understanding hearing.
Sigmund Freud (1885 – 1939) Austrian physician – the leading figure in the new science of psychoanalysis. Freud made an extensive study of dreams and the subconscious to try and understand better human emotions.
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Polish physicist and chemist. Discovered radiation and helped to apply it in the field of X-ray. She won Nobel Prize in both Chemistry and Physics.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German/US physicist. Einstein revolutionised modern physics with his general theory of relativity. Won Nobel Prize in Physics (1921) for his discovery of the Photoelectric effect, which formed the basis of Quantum Theory.
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) Scottish biologist who discovered penicillin. Shared Nobel Prize in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain, who helped produce penicillin on a large scale.
Otto Hahn (1879-1968) – German chemist who discovered nuclear fission (1939). Pioneering scientist in the field of radiochemistry. Discovered radio-active elements and nuclear isomerism (1921). Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (1944)
Nikola Tesla (1856 –1943) Serbian/American – Worked on electromagnetism and AC current. Credited with many patents from electricity to radio transmission.
Sri Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858 – 1937) Bengali / Indian polymath. Bose took an interest in a wide range of sciences. He made contributions to plant physiology, microwave optics and radio waves.
Max Plank (1858 – 1947) German theoretical physicist who contributed to the development of Quantum Mechanics. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.
Ernest Rutherford (1871 – 1937) New Zealand-born British physicist / Chemist. In 1908, Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in radioactivity and the disintegration of elements. In 1917, credited with being the first person to split the atom, discovering the proton.
Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962) Danish physicist. Bohr developed a structure of the atom, recognising electrons revolving around a stable nucleus. His work was important for atomic structure and quantum physics. Awarded Nobel Prize for Physics 1922.
John Logie Baird (1888 – 1946) was a Scottish engineer and inventor, who demonstrated the first televised moving objects.
Satyendra Nath Bose (1894 – 1974) Indian physicist who worked on quantum mechanics. Collaborated with Albert Einstein to found Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose-Einstein condensate.
Paul Dirac (1902-1984) English physicist – One of the early exponents of quantum physics and quantum electrodynamics. Dirac developed theories of the electron and the special theory of relativity.
Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958) British Chemist who made significant contributions to understanding the structure of DNA and RNA, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. Franklin also worked on the chemistry of coal and viruses.
James Watson (1928 – ) American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, with Francis Crick discovered DNA. Was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962
21st Century Scientists
Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018) English theoretical physicist, cosmologist. Hawking has authored The Theory of Everything, and A Brief History of Time.
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