Monday, March 10, 2014

A Top Ten List...of Scientists!

If you hang out at Facebook, you'll notice a lot of Top Ten (or whatever number) Lists games going around about what books, albums, etc. that have influenced you.

As far as I know, nobody's come up with a list game of things that are truly important, such as Top Ten Humanitarians, or Top Ten Historical Moments. The game I really want to play is, "Top 10 Scientists (or mathematicians) I Admire/Love."

Here I go...

10) Euclid - "proof by contradiction"...I adore a smart contrarian.

9) Karl Schwarzchild - he developed his brilliant equations while in the battlefields of WWI; most of us can't even think of a pretty good idea while relaxing in our comfy chairs and sipping a warm beverage, let alone under duress,
8) Richard Feynman - surely, I'm not joking, Mr. Feynman! He was the original cool scientist.

7)  Erwin Schrödinger - he wrote a book that inspired Francis Crick to change fields (and you know what that meant to biology), and as if that wasn't enough, he was one of the developers of quantum mechanics.

6) Irène Joliot-Curie - probably every bit as brilliant as her mom (and dad) but a lot less celebrated.

5) David Attenborough - a naturalist and an outstanding human being whose soothing voice has lulled me to sleep since 1983 when I started watching his Life On Earth series in the biology tutorials at university.

4) Werner Heisenberg - another co-creator of quantum mechanics (I have to overlook his remaining in and with Germany during WWII).
From the wonderful book, "You Want Proof? I'll Give You Proof!" by Sidney Harris
3) Ludwig Boltzmann - because S = K log W

2) Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar - nobody did stellar evolution like he did, and he did it with quiet charm and humility.

And my number one favorite scientist is.....

1) James Clerk Maxwell - I like unassuming people who don't make a big deal of their brilliance. He mathematically unified light and electromagnetism, people!
I have more favorite scientists, of course; maybe I'll create another list some other time. 

So, would you like to get your nerd on and play this? Who are 10 of your favorite scientists or mathematicians? Or even just one or two? Please tell me in the comments, or play along with me on Facebook if you're my Facebook friend.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams