Saturday, October 9, 2010

20 Most Influential Scientists Alive Today

1. Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web by being the first to successfully implement the transfer protocols on which the Web depends. [Wikipedia Link]

2. Noam Chomsky, who, though a linguist and philosopher, has fundamentally reshaped the field of psychology, not least by dethroning behaviorism through his ideas about the innateness of language. [Wikipedia Link]

3. Richard Dawkins, whose use of evolutionary biology has shaped the way we understand ourselves at the most fundamental levels. [Wikipedia Link]

4. Persi Diaconis, who in merging the mathematical theory of groups with statistics has radically reconfigured our understanding of randomness. [Wikipedia Link]

5. Jane Goodall, whose work on primates has led the way and given us focus in understanding our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. [Wikipedia Link]

6. Alan Guth, whose idea of inflationary cosmology has revolutionized our understanding of the Big Bang and the large scale structure of the universe. [Wikipedia Link]

7. Stephen Hawking, whose work on the nature of space and time remains groundbreaking and whose story of personal triumph despite suffering a neuro-muscular dystrophy has inspired millions. [Wikipedia Link]

8. Donald Knuth, whose work on the theory of the algorithm has transformed the field of computer science. [Wikipedia Link]

9. Lynn Margulis, whose ideas about symbiogenesis have vastly enriched conventional ways of understanding biological evolution. [Wikipedia Link]

10. Gordon Moore, who as founder of Intel merged business and science in bringing about the information technology revolution (“Moore’s Law” is named after him). [Wikipedia Link]

11. Roger Penrose, who has broken new ground not only in fundamental physics but also on its connections to human consciousness. [Wikipedia Link]

12. Allan Sandage, who continued the work of the legendary Edwin Hubble to become the world’s greatest living observational astronomer. [Wikipedia Link]

13. Frederick Sanger, whose research first revealed the structure of proteins, work for which he received the first of two Nobel Prizes in chemistry. [Wikipedia Link]

14. Charles Townes, who invented the laser, which is now ubiquitous in technology and ordinary life. [Wikipedia Link]

15. Craig Venter, whose completion of the Human Genome Project and continued work on synthetic genomes and artificially constructed cells is fundamentally challenging our understanding of life. [Wikipedia Link]

16. James Watson, whose codiscovery with Francis Crick of the structure of DNA has revolutionized all of biology and is a landmark of the 20th century. [Wikipedia Link]

17. Steven Weinberg, whose work on unifying the forces of physics and whose exceptionally well-written popular books on science have made him a key public intellectual for interpreting science to the wider culture. [Wikipedia Link]

18. Andrew Wiles, who in resolving the 300-year old Fermat Conjecture of mathematics decisively demonstrated how seemingly irresolvable problems may eventually yield to solution through creative insight. [Wikipedia Link]

19. Edward O. Wilson, whose work on sociobiology has propelled evolutionary thinking into ethics and psychology. [Wikipedia Link]

20. Edward Witten, whose work on the mathematical underpinnings of string theory has made it the theory of everything to beat. [Wikipedia Link]