7 junio, 2024

The 39 most famous and important physicists in history

The most famous physicists of history have this recognition due to the magnificent contributions that have resulted from their research and theories, without which the world would not be as we know it today.

Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Alessandro Volta or Marie Curie are perhaps the best known to the general public, but there are many more who had and continue to have a fundamental importance in physics and everything that derives from it.

A physicist is a scientist who has specialized his knowledge in the field of physics and research on the interactions between matter and energy in the Universe. The study and practice of this area of ​​knowledge is based on an intellectual ladder with advances that go from ancient times to the present.

Of course, many of these physicists are also considered some of the greatest scientists in history.

The most recognized physicists in history

Isaac Newton (England, 1642-1727)

He was an English mathematician, astronomer and physicist, recognized for being one of the most influential scientists at the time of the Scientific Revolution.

Your book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical principles of natural philosophy), published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. The principles formulated there on the laws of motion and universal gravity have dominated the scientific landscape for the 3 centuries following his death.

Albert Einstein (German, 1879-1955)

German theoretical physicist of Jewish origin. He is recognized for developing the general theory of relativity, which forms the basis of modern physics along with quantum mechanics.

His most popular breakthrough is the formula for the equivalence between mass and energy (E=mc2). In 1921 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to theoretical physics, in particular for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

Galileo Galilei (Italian, 1564-1642)

He was an Italian scholar whose work spanned astronomy, physics, philosophy, and mathematics. It played a pivotal role in the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century. His most important contribution is the development of the concept of heliocentrism as opposed to the geocentrism that reigned at the time.

Stephen Hawking (England, 1942-2018)

He was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who held the position of research director at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.

One of his best-known works was the prediction of the emission of radiation from black holes, often known as Hawkins radiation.

Murray Gell-Mann (United States, 1929.2019)

He was a physicist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1948 and his Ph.D. in 1951 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

John Cockcroft (British, 1897-1967)

He shared the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics with Ernest Walton for splitting the atomic nucleus and his role in the development of nuclear power.

JJ Thomson (British, 1856-1940)

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and Professor of Experimental Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge in 1884.

In 1897, Thomson showed that cathode rays were composed of negatively charged particles, weighing less than atoms.

Guglielmo Marconi (Italian, 1874-1937)

First Marquis de Marconi, was an inventor and electrical engineer known for his work on long-distance transmission of radio waves, for his development of Marconi’s Law and the radio-telegraph system.

In 1909 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun for his contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy.

Francis Crick (United Kingdom, 1916-2004)

He was a biologist, biophysicist and neuroscientist, known for discovering, along with James Watson in 1953, the structure of the DNA molecule.

In 1962, with Watson and Maurice Wilkins, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries in the molecular structure of nucleic acids and their importance for the transmission of information in living material.

CV Raman (Indian, 1888-1970)

His revolutionary work in the field of light scattering earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. He discovered that when light passes through a transparent material, some of the light passing through changes its wavelength.

Arthur Compton (United States, 1892-1962)

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his 1923 discovery of the Compton Effect, which demonstrated the particulate nature of electromagnetic radiation.

Ernest Walton (Ireland, 1903-1995)

He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 for his work with John Cockroft, becoming the first person in history to artificially break the atom.

Max Born (Germany, 1882-1970)

He played a fundamental role in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made notable contributions in solid-state physics and in the field of optics.

In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental contribution in the development of quantum mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function.

Alessandro Volta (Italian, 1745-1827)

He was a chemist and physicist, a pioneer in electricity and energy research. He is credited as the inventor of the electric battery and the discoverer of methane. YoHe invented the voltaic pile in 1799 and reported his results to the Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Natural Science.

Archimedes (Greece, 287-212 BC)

He was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. He managed to anticipate notions of modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the exhaustive method to prove the range of various geometric theorems. One of the best known contributions of him in physics is the Archimedean Principle.

Nikola Tesla (Serbian, 1856-1943)

He was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer. He is known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) power supply system.

In 1960, the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the unit of magnetic flux density «Tesla» in his honor.

Marie Curie (Poland, 1867-1934)

She was a Polish and naturalized French physicist and chemist, known for her work on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win it twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize from two different categories (physics and chemistry).

Michael Faraday (England, 1791-1867)

He was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His advances include the principles of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

Niels Bohr (Denmark, 1885-1962)

He made fundamental contributions to the understanding of atomic structure and quantum theory. D.developed Bohr’s model of the atom, in which electrons are arranged in energy levels like orbits around the nucleus. In 1922 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Enrico Fermi (Italian, 1901-1954)

He was the creator of the first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1. youHe was also called the «architect of the nuclear age» and the «architect of the atomic bomb.»

In 1938 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on radioactivity induced by neutron bombardment and for the discovery of the transuranium elements.

Heinrich Hertz (German, 1857-1894)

He managed to conclusively prove the existence of electromagnetic waves that were raised in James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light.

The unit of frequency, cycles per second, was named «Hertz» in honor of this scientist.

James Chadwick (England, 1891-1974)

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the neutron in 1932.

Paul Dirac (England, 1902-1984)

He conducted research that contributed to the early development of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics.

Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger for discovering productive new forms of atomic theory.

Werner Heisenberg (Germany, 1901-1976)

He was a theoretical physicist and one of the developers of quantum mechanics. In 1927 he published his Begining of uncertainty, production for which he is best known. In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics.

James Clerk Maxwell (Scottish, 1831-1879)

He developed his work in the field of physics-mathematics. The most notable work of his is in the formulation of the theory of electromagnetic radiation.

Max Planck (Germany, 1858-1947)

He was a theoretical physicist whose work on quantum theory revolutionized the way atomic and subatomic processes were understood. In 1918 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Ernest Rutherford (New Zealand, 1871-1937)

He is considered the father of nuclear physics. He discovered the concept of radioactive half-life, the basis for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908.

Erwin Schrödinger (Austrian, 1887-1961)

His work in quantum theory is the basis of wave mechanics. He is known for the experimental approach he popularized as Schrödinger’s Cat. In 1933 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Richard Feynman (United States, 1918-1988)

He focused on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and the physics of liquid helium superfluids, among many others.

In 1965 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Julian Schwinger and Sin’ichuro Tomonaga.

Other famous physicists

Peter Higgs (United Kingdom, 1929). Amalie Emmy Noether (German, 1882-1935). Chien Shiung Wu (Chinese, 1912-1997). Maria Mayer (Poland, 1906-1972). Lise Meitner (Austrian, 1878-1968). Edward Witten (United States, 1951). Steven Weinberg (United States, 1933-2021). Roger Penrose (United Kingdom, 1931). Alan Guth (United States, 1947). Fabiola Gianotti (Italy, 1960).

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