Favorite Scientist?

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

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Who is your favorite scientist?

Einstein
11
8%
Newton
9
6%
Galileo
3
2%
Fermi
1
1%
Feynman
39
27%
Maxwell
5
3%
Tesla
32
22%
Bohr
3
2%
Euler
4
3%
Darwin
8
5%
Descartes
3
2%
Leibniz
3
2%
Ancient (Archimedes, etc.)
7
5%
Other
18
12%
 
Total votes: 146

Teknobo
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Favorite Scientist?

Postby Teknobo » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:10 pm UTC

A friend of mine recently decided she could tell a lot about a person by who their favorite scientist, which we proved to be bunk, but it's an interesting question nonetheless so:

Who is your favorite scientist?

I came up with some off the more common ones off the top of my head, and I tried to include the "founding fathers" of as many branches of science as I could, but of course the list is far from exhaustive.

Also, why do we call Galileo Galilei by his first name instead of his last?

marginally_stable
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby marginally_stable » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:28 pm UTC

Poincare.

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Mr. Beck
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Mr. Beck » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:31 pm UTC

I had a hard time deciding between Feynman and Tesla. It came down to the fact that when faced with a difficult decision i ask myself "What Would Feynman Do?"

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justaman
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby justaman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:34 pm UTC

Yeah, there are definitely some greats missing from that list. Galton and Faraday are two of my favourites. Maurice Wilkins and Rutherford also as they are Kiwi's like me (yay patriotism).
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby scowdich » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Sorry, but I have to go with Tesla. Say what you will about Feynman and his bongos, but he's never been on currency.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby reflectia » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:46 am UTC

I'm going for Feynman, but what happened to otter/duck?
I accidentally divided by zero and my paper burst into flames.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Herman » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:23 am UTC

This seems kind of biased toward physics and math. Yeah, you have Darwin, but get some famous chemists up there! Like, umm, okay, never mind.

Edit: Also, where the hell is Gauss? He did some stuff.

Edit 2: Also, Dirac. He was pretty good.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Protector1 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:44 am UTC

I put other cause I like Marie Curie (One of 4 people to get two nobel prizes!) and Benjamin Franklin about equally.

I think there are too many awesome scientists for this voting system to work well, the list is too short
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby The Ethos » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:01 am UTC

No Linus Pauling? For shame.

/Yet another dual Nobel holder
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fenrir_darkwolf
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby fenrir_darkwolf » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:42 am UTC

Read my sig and try to wager a guess. :)
Also, why isn't Dirac on the list? He was perhaps the brightest mind of the 20th century, if not all time, he should at least get a mention...
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby psyck0 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:03 am UTC

The Ethos wrote:No Linus Pauling? For shame.

/Yet another dual Nobel holder


100% AGREEMENT. It made my day when one of my textbooks (by Watson, as in DNA) had a picture by Pauling.

Hermann, bugger off. Our society just has a current bias against chemistry, and towards physics and math. If you want to see the bias in action, just consider the connotation "chemical" or "synthesised" has in the media (Hint: NEGATIVE).

Also, Oliver Sacks is really cool, even if he hasn't made any earth-shattering discoveries.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby The Ethos » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:57 am UTC

Sachs is very cool. As a medicine guy, I have to mention Charcot, Paget, and, of course, Osler.
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oxoiron
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby oxoiron » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:50 am UTC

The Ethos wrote:No Linus Pauling? For shame.

/Yet another dual Nobel holder
I, too, submit my vote for Linus for way too many reasons to list. And when you are talking about the big award, don't forget, he is the only person to ever receive unshared Nobel Prizes in two fields. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ms. Curie!
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BeerBottle
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby BeerBottle » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:26 am UTC

Another vote for Linus - for his sheer bredth and depth of contribution which still influences so much of modern chemistry today.

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Fossa
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Fossa » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:52 am UTC

Tesla, because AC current makes the world go 'round.

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Gelsamel
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:44 am UTC

Archimedes of Syracuse, unbelievably ahead of his time. GFG wars.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby SpitValve » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:49 am UTC

I got my final printed thesis two days ago... can I be my favourite scientist? :D

Seriously though: Richard Feynmann for obvious reasons. Also, Paul Callaghan is pretty cool. He's a prof in NZ who is a really cool guy, a really good scientist, and also really good with not only managing people, but bringing people together with a vision for science. Plus he plays the mellophone.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby thoughtfully » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:08 pm UTC

fenrir_darkwolf wrote:Read my sig and try to wager a guess. :)
Also, why isn't Dirac on the list? He was perhaps the brightest mind of the 20th century, if not all time, he should at least get a mention...


I see your Dirac and raise you a von Neumann!

von Neumann made a famous error in a proof concerning the foundations of Quantum Mechanics. While hunting down a link, I came across this which is too awesome not to share!
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby asad137 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:04 pm UTC

SpitValve wrote:I got my final printed thesis two days ago... can I be my favourite scientist? :D


Dang, I was hoping to use this joke. ("My favorite scientist is...me."). Congrats on finishing your thesis!

Asad

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby alexgmcm » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:26 pm UTC

thoughtfully wrote:
fenrir_darkwolf wrote:Read my sig and try to wager a guess. :)
Also, why isn't Dirac on the list? He was perhaps the brightest mind of the 20th century, if not all time, he should at least get a mention...


I see your Dirac and raise you a von Neumann!

von Neumann made a famous error in a proof concerning the foundations of Quantum Mechanics. While hunting down a link, I came across this which is too awesome not to share!


That link was rather amusing.

Back on topic, how can I be the ONLY person to choose Maxwell.. that guy contributed massively to science. Although I guess one should expect the popularizers of science to win the popularity contest.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Mr. Beck » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:50 pm UTC

I can't believe I forgot about Gauss! He's so awesome!

You guys have seen this picture, right?
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Various Varieties
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Various Varieties » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

I'd probably be boring and pick Einstein or Feynman or something.

Although having said that, when I read James Gleick's Chaos, I remember being really impressed with what I read about Mitchell Feigenbaum.

Also, James Hartle, for writing the best introductory general relativity textbook I've ever seen. :D

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Gelsamel
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Wait a sec you need to have written a thesis to call yourself a scientist? I figured it was just when you started learning and reasoning with the scientific method, or rather, practicing science.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby SpitValve » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:16 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Wait a sec you need to have written a thesis to call yourself a scientist? I figured it was just when you started learning and reasoning with the scientific method, or rather, practicing science.


Nope, but you do need to be able to use logic correctly ;)

Writing a thesis (in science) implies you can do science (assuming the thesis was done competently etc). Nobody suggested the converse, i.e. that doing science implies you have written a thesis.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:26 pm UTC

In that case isn't "I do science, hence I am a scientist and I choose myself" much less ambiguous and not reliant on the axiom that your thesis isn't total BS? (Because I'm pretty sure there are some out there like that :P).

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theferrymantune
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby theferrymantune » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:03 pm UTC

Tesla... lol the real Santa Claus of science. :twisted:
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Kaiyas
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Kaiyas » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:20 pm UTC

Leonardo da Vinci. Though engineer would probably be the better category to put him in. :lol:
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby ave_matthew » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

I vote for Schrödinger, and his friend Catherine, and for Pauling, covalent bonds rock!
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Mr. Beck » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:10 pm UTC

Although I'm not a practicing scientist, I think that I have a scientific mindset. If I have a hypothesis, I test it by experiment.
What yould you call someone literate in science, but who doesn't do it for a living? A Sciencian?

Teppic
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Teppic » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

Has to be Feynman. I knew nothing about him until a class on Maxwell's differential equations and the tutor mentioned something about the meaning of a negative vector.

It kinds of irks me that people, maybe not in america but certianly here, here have wet dreams over Hawking, who it has to be said disabilities aside, is a pretty awful man. Every so often, Horizon (science program) whinge on about Hawking, how brilliant he is/was, toe, with no actual exploration into his work and how he will probably never get the noble prize. Where we have a greater modern physicist, who wrote far more books than a dumbed down phillisophical treaty on mechanics, who's lectures are over and above degree standard and understandable, in the main, to the modern man, and who seemed, through his biography, to be a genuinely nice guy.

His diagrams are a ****** though. Or nobody in my faculty uses them properly.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Hit3k » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:45 am UTC

Feynman! Even though he worked on the atomic bomb he is by far my most favourite scientist. All in the name of science I suppose. He is pretty much my role model and he had some brilliant ideas.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby pushpork » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:58 pm UTC

This seems kind of biased toward physics

as Feynman would have pointed out in 'six easy pieces', and which I am inclined to agree with, All sciences can be described through physics.
And Feynman worked on not only furthering the intellectuals understanding, but tried to simplify science for the moronic masses, like me :D.

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby oxoiron » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:55 pm UTC

pushpork wrote:
This seems kind of biased toward physics

as Feynman would have pointed out in 'six easy pieces', and which I am inclined to agree with, All sciences can be described through physics.
And Feynman worked on not only furthering the intellectuals understanding, but tried to simplify science for the moronic masses, like me :D.
*Insert required 'all science is just applied math' reference here.*
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby thecommabandit » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:11 pm UTC

What happened to Planck? Ol' Maximillion Planck deserves some recognition too!
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby tiny » Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:48 pm UTC

I like Gauss. He's awsome.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Minerva » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:I had a hard time deciding between Feynman and Tesla. It came down to the fact that when faced with a difficult decision i ask myself "What Would Feynman Do?"


Damn it, where's that "What would Feynman do?" flow chart when you need it? Hopefully someone else will post it.

Herman wrote:This seems kind of biased toward physics and math. Yeah, you have Darwin, but get some famous chemists up there! Like, umm, okay, never mind.

Edit: Also, where the hell is Gauss? He did some stuff.

Edit 2: Also, Dirac. He was pretty good.


But Gauss wasn't a real scientist, he was a mathematician.

(\me ducks)


psyck0 wrote:
The Ethos wrote:No Linus Pauling? For shame.

/Yet another dual Nobel holder



Pauling's admirable peace and disarmament campaigning can easily be matched by the likes of Hans Bethe and Carl Sagan - though he did a whole lot of really cool quantum chemistry stuff too, apparently.

His fringe science beliefs regarding medicine didn't really help his chances, either.

Hit3k wrote:Feynman! Even though he worked on the atomic bomb he is by far my most favourite scientist. All in the name of science I suppose. He is pretty much my role model and he had some brilliant ideas.


Personally, there's no way that the "Even though he worked on the atomic bomb..." qualifier should even come into it at all.

Many of the greatest physicists the world has ever known worked on the Manhattan Project, and it does not even begin to detract from who they were, or the work they did. They gave up their careers and their lives for years to move to Los Alamos, and many of them, like Neumann and Feynman, arguably ended up giving their lives for it. It only adds to who they were, it doesn't subtract.

Personally, probably Feynman, although Carl Sagan certainly has to have a mention - it's terribly hard to decide.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby thoughtfully » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:50 pm UTC

Euler was just insanely awsome. He is like the Mozart of Maths. Gauss is more of a Beethoven. Yeah, a flawed analogy. Aren't they all?

Oh, and wrt Feynmann and all sciences being fizix..
Lord Rutherford wrote:All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby fenrir_darkwolf » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

pushpork wrote:
This seems kind of biased toward physics

as Feynman would have pointed out in 'six easy pieces', and which I am inclined to agree with, All sciences can be described through physics.
And Feynman worked on not only furthering the intellectuals understanding, but tried to simplify science for the moronic masses, like me :D.


One of my favourite Feynman quotes has to be on this topic: "All theoretical chemists are physicists, all theoretical chemists know it."
"You're gonna have to learn everything anyway, so which is first is not essential."
-Richard Feynman

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby well_hung_man » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Tesla has godda win..hands down
he theorised about a DEATH RAY. the only way to make that cooler is to put a 'fucking inbetween 'death' and 'ray'...which everybody sayes anyway :D
I am sorry, but death ray>atomic bomb ..any day

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Re: Favorite Scientist?

Postby Charlie! » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:26 pm UTC

Meh. Tesla's growing need for attention (at the cost of credibility) later in life kinda taints his memory as a man able to see the virtues of AC.

I might'a gone for pasteur (purely on the basis of how extremely smart and practical he was) had he been a choice, but I'm biased against just choosing "other," so I had to go with the best writer in the group, Feynman.
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