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Thread: Favorite Scientist

  1. #1
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    Talking Favorite Scientist

    Who is your favorite scientist and why?

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    Leonardo da Vinci. He was a genius, and he was a prolific scientist and engineer in a very wide variety of unrelated areas. He was one of the last people to really be a master of just about everything. Some of his ideas were not reproduced for a century or more, others not until the 1800's or later.

  3. #3
    Archimedes, he was way ahead of his time and passionate about his work. Plus he gave us the whole "Eureka!" thing. Anyone that runs through town naked yelling "Eureka!" is a great man in my opinion.

    http://physics.weber.edu/carroll/Archimedes/default.htm

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    Richard Feynman because he makes me laugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulie jay
    Richard Feynman because he makes me laugh.
    Ditto! And he talks/writes like a regular guy. He can explain the toughest of concepts in such a simple way. Right now I'm reading Six Easy Pieces. Well, not literally right now, since I'm typing. But I was about 20 minutes ago, and am about to go back to it!

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    Wink Stephen Hawking

    Stephen Hawking definitely because his ideas were so great and if you read his books you would understand what I mean and his disabilities never dragged him down and he inspired me to learn more about physics he has great theories even if his book A Brief History Of Time was really complicated, but A Briefer History Of Time made it easier to understand.
    And I love Einstein and Newton they are great to, but since Stephen Hawking explained it more I prefer him.

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    Wink Vera Rubin

    Vera Rubin. I went to hear her speak about the anomaly in galactic rotation curves, and was impressed with her character. It took lots of chutzpah to flaunt data in the face of Kepler's Laws, and then to leave a position at Harvard (she was denied tenure). Her work pointed to dark matter (as did Zwicky).

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    i guess mine would be Thomas Edison just the fact that he spent like 2 years trying to find what element was the right one for the light bulb,,, and he did t stop there he invited a few other things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzmosis
    i guess mine would be Thomas Edison just the fact that he spent like 2 years trying to find what element was the right one for the light bulb,,, and he did t stop there he invited a few other things...
    Where would be w/out him.

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    In the dark?

    Sorry - I couldn't resist...


    My favorites (two) are Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking. Both explain work in their respective areas so clearly, and anyone can understand it. One of my favorite books is "A Brief History of Time," and right next to it on the bookshelf are "Six Easy Pieces" and "The Universe in a Nutshell."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjl
    In the dark?...
    We'd be in the dark if Edison had won his great disagreement with Westinghouse. Edison favoured DC systems for electricity, while George Westinghouse developed an AC system. All modern systems use AC, because it allows transformers to convert between high voltage/low current to low voltage/high current - this allows relatively efficient transport of electricity over large distances. Edison claimed that AC was dangerous - and to publicise this he electrocuted animals in public, and campaigned for the use of AC with electric chairs. Source: http://inventors.about.com/od/hstart...tric_Chair.htm
    I have heard it said that if Edison's DC had prevailed, tall skyscrapers wouldn't exist because it would be unfeasible to supply the top with electricity.

    Much as I dislike Edison, he was certainly a great inventor. Arguably he invented invention itself.

    My favourite is probably Sir Roger Penrose.
    1. He does work at the cutting edge of general relativity and quantum gravity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Penrose
    2. He invented a beautiful (mathematically as well as visually) quasiperiodic tiling: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_tiling
    3. [The clincher] He and his father inspired M. C. Escher: http://www.worldofescher.com/gallery/A2.html. That picture of monks going up and down an infinite staircase loop? That was the Penroses' idea.
    In second place, and much more important scientifically, Paul Dirac. He "invented" the idea of antimatter. He seems to have been extremely quiet and modest, which I kind of like for some reason. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Dirac

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    On Friday I went to a talk by Hawking. He seems to have a good, cheeky sense of humour (he had a powerpoint presentation with silly pictures, including himself put behind bars by the Spanish inquisition). He is probably THE icon of modern physics.

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    Do we actually call Edison a scientist though?

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    I agree with Weird Dave, i think Stephen Hawking is the icon of modern Physics.
    I really don’t understand the Quantum Theory I don’t think any scientist really made it any easier to understand.

    And I don’t see why any of you guys actually dislike scientist because all of the scientist contributed their time and wisdom to make sense out of science and I think everyone should appreciate that.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by paulie jay
    Do we actually call Edison a scientist though?

    He is not a scientist in my opinion.

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    I agree - Edison was an inventor. He turned other people's ideas into working, useful things.

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    My fave scientist would probably be Sir David Attenborough (living) or Charles Darwin (dead).

    The one communicates science clearly and with obvious enthusiasm, while the other produced the great unifying theory of biology.

    I'd like to give Dmitri Mendeleev an honourable mention, too.

  18. #18
    Good thing Candy was banned before she got a chance to express her favorite Scientist

    Thomas Edison and Einstein are certainly the best in my book.

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    What did Charles Darwin do?

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    I have to agree. Edison was an inventor - Tesla was more of a scientist than he. Da Vinci fails, too - he's been called "The Great Underachiever".. he only took his engineering (non-military) to the point where he was satisfied the principle is sound, then let it go.

    To me, a great scientist has to change the way we view the world, and darn few have managed that. Aristotle, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking.. there are others...

    My favorite is probably Hawking, though. Partly because he's entertaining as all get out, but mostly because he's done all his work in his head, without the aid of computers, blackboards, or other external tools (I believe Newton as very similar). And it can be argued that Dr Hawking's advances can be in large part attributed to his physical circumstances (he was, by all accounts, an average or below student until his disease manifested)

    I like George Washinton Carver too - it's lunch time, and without him, my strawberry jam would be lonely

  21. 2006-Feb-27, 06:04 AM

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by LurchGS
    I have to agree. Edison was an inventor - Tesla was more of a scientist than he. Da Vinci fails, too - he's been called "The Great Underachiever".. he only took his engineering (non-military) to the point where he was satisfied the principle is sound, then let it go.

    To me, a great scientist has to change the way we view the world, and darn few have managed that. Aristotle, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking.. there are others...

    My favorite is probably Hawking, though. Partly because he's entertaining as all get out, but mostly because he's done all his work in his head, without the aid of computers, blackboards, or other external tools (I believe Newton as very similar). And it can be argued that Dr Hawking's advances can be in large part attributed to his physical circumstances (he was, by all accounts, an average or below student until his disease manifested)

    I like George Washinton Carver too - it's lunch time, and without him, my strawberry jam would be lonely
    I've read that about DaVinci too. I'm glad you mentioned Tesla, I would've picked him but he did not like being referred to as a scientist, instead preferred to be known as an inventor (the best in my opinion). He also turned down a Nobel nomination rather than share it with Edison. Edison was/is way overrated IMO.

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    Edison was a sound inventor - he invented lab theory, after all. "If I put enough monkeys to work on the problem, eventually they'll solve the problem for me". My personal issue with Edison is that, from all accounts I've read, he was a SOB.

    Even worse, his lab invented moving pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teri tait
    I've read that about DaVinci too. I'm glad you mentioned Tesla, I would've picked him but he did not like being referred to as a scientist, instead preferred to be known as an inventor (the best in my opinion). He also turned down a Nobel nomination rather than share it with Edison. Edison was/is way overrated IMO.
    Nobel prize recipients are NOT given a choice; they may choose not to accept it, but it is still awarded. The awards are secret until announced

    I know of no reputable source for the contention that Tesla rejected a Nobel prize rather than share it with Edison. Several woo woo sites make this claim, and at least one such site says that Edison rejected it rather than share it with Tesla.

    What I consider to be a rational source of info on Tesla says

    In 1915 he was severely disappointed when a report that he and Edison were to share the Nobel Prize proved erroneous

    http://www.frank.germano.com/nikolatesla.htm.

  25. #24
    I would be severely disappointed to have to share with Edison, too. I thought that's what I wrote, he and Edison were nominated together(?) hmmm, the Nobel committee never confirmed nor denied the Shared nomination and never Officially extended the Nobel to either inventor that year.

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    Hawking is a favorite but Richard Feynman tops them all. Not only has he achieved a great deal academically but he was a great communicator of his field. 'Surely you are joking Mr Feynman!' is one of my favorite books and gives you and idea of his work and approach to science. I also have a copy of the 1979 quantum electrodynamics lectures in new zealand. Watching him bring a tricky subject to an audience is great. He makes some very difficult concepts seem very very clear and almost obvious.

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    So hard to choose. The way each builds on previous findings, I find it very difficult to draw the line between the many steps to the great accomplishments.

    Just because I'm currently reading Genome, and I consider genetics to harbor the great accomplishments of the next couple generations; I'm going with Crick & Watson.

    20 years ago when kids asked me what they should study I said computers and programming. Today I say biology and genetics.

  28. #27
    Albertus Magnus- both his methodology and his support for a revision of Aristotle and Islamic physics layed a firm foundation for Western scientific methodology and rescued definition of reality from the Platonic notion of world of ideas. By simple observation and critical analysis- though obviously flawed at times- he and his disciples proved that objective reality is not a figment of human imaginations. His writings remain untranslated into English despite the call in 1933 by pope to accomplish this. He was given the title: "Universal Doctor of the Church." Even JPII in his 1st Encyclical mentions only one saint. Guess who?

  29. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by teri tait
    I would be severely disappointed to have to share with Edison, too. I thought that's what I wrote, he and Edison were nominated together(?) hmmm, the Nobel committee never confirmed nor denied the Shared nomination and never Officially extended the Nobel to either inventor that year.
    The quote says that Tesla was severly disappointed because he was not nominated jointly with Edison -- the opposite of your comment.

    Edison was not exactly a slouch. His work made major contributions to the quality of human life (practical electric light, practical power distribution systems from dynamos to meters and light fixtures, the phonograph, and lead-acid batteries), but he did not produce any fundamental scientific breakthroughs as did Tesla's early work. Because lacked scientific trainning, Edison wasted time (and lost considerable money) on many impractical enterprises -- electromagnetic processing of iron ore being the major and most costly case, and his fanatical pursuit of DC-based power transmission. He also missed the possibility of becoming the father of the electronic era by not understanding/investigating the "Edison Effect" noted in his early lightbulbs (electron emission from the heated filament) and leaving the invention of the electronic vacum tube to Flemming and DeForest.

    Early Edison bios were all fawning and superficial as to his flaws. Several books in the last 10 or so years present a much more balanced picture, paticularly of his technical failings and personal shortcomings.

  30. #29
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    heres one we all fergot mr carl sagan i kind of grew up watchen him on pbs

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    Uh-oh. Brace for Carl Sagan criticisms.

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