Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Favourite Scientists

by akshiv, This post originally appeared at the Future Science Leaders blog.

I have complied a list of my five favourite scientists. The list includes why I think they are great and one of their works that I recommend checking out. These are just my personal favourites and they are in no specific order.

1) Marie Curie
As one of the pioneers in the field of the nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, Marie Curie makes this list quite easily. She is the only woman to win the Nobel prise in two fields and she was the first female professor at the University of Paris. She is also one of the select few to have named an element and then have had an element named after her. Most of her work is science writing and you are welcome to check that out, but if you want to no more about her both SciShow and the Nobel prise committee have excellent biographies.
2)    Enrico Fermi
Inventor of the nuclear reactor and one of the leads on the Manhattan project, Dr. Enrico Fermi may be one of my favourite scientists of all time. Fermi through his life made amazing estimations with limited information, most famously he guessed the correct order of magnitude of the explosion from the Trinity Nuclear test based on how far a piece of paper flew. Other than the invention of the nuclear fission reactor, which provides clean electricity for millions of people worldwide, I recommend checking out Fermi’s paradox. This paradox suggests that the galaxy is teaming with, then why has no other species made contact?
3)    Alan Turing
Turing was one of the most pivotal computer scientists of this age, instrumental in the cracking of German communication codes during the Second World War. I encourage you to read about the history of the very machine you are making use of to read this (he was directly responsible for the advent of modern computing). Turing’s life story is unfortunately extremely heart-breaking; he was prosecuted for being a homosexual.
4)    Richard Feynman
Easily, one of my favourite Nobel laureates, Feynman is on this list because in his interview “The pleasure of finding things out,” he says exactly that. There is no award or any reward greater than the simple pleasure of finding things out. Feynman’s work in the field of quantum mechanics was integral to current understanding of the subject. He was also dedicated to dispelling the illusion that physics could not be accessible to the general public, I thoroughly recommend checking out some of his books, like: There’s plenty of room at the bottom.
5)    Sir Isaac Newton
No list can be complete without the mention of Sir Isaac Newton. This English mastermind, not only invented calculus, but he was also in touch with the universe on a (as Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson puts it) spooky level. His work is used regularly in physics classrooms around the world and it helps to better understand reality. His laws of motion and gravitation are a great place to start, on top of that if you wish to brave it Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica is really the foundation of classical mechanics.
Notable Omissions:
About this Contributor: Akshiv in the final year of high school and loves playing ultimate frisbee, skiing and playing the clarinet/guitar. Akshiv is happiest when learning random trivia or stargazing. "Learning for me is its own reward, whether it is about the quantumly tiny or the cosmologically large." 

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