You are on page 1of 44

The Giants of Science

Galileo Galilei
February 15, 1564 - January 8, 1642 Born in Pisa. Attended University, studied medicine. Became interested in mathematics and changed subjects. Rened the telescope and improved it.

Galileo Galilei
Discovered Jupiters four largest moons. Championed the idea of heliocentrism. Believed that the tides were caused by the movement of the Earth. Like water sloshing in a tub. Brought before The Inquisition and ordered to recant his beliefs on the Earth not being the center of the universe. Placed under house arrest in 1634 until his death. For "vehement suspicion of heresy"

Galileo Galilei
His interests were wide ranging and Einstein called him the Father of Modern Science. He disproved that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones. He went blind in 1638. In 1992 the Catholic Church apologized to Galileo for putting him on trial.

December 25, 1642 - March 20, 1727 Born in England, 3 months after his father died. When is mother remarried he was left to be raised by his grandmother. He didnt like his step father or his mother for remarrying.

Isaac Newton

When writing a list of sins he included: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." Newton is regarded as one of the most important scientists of all time. A genius in both mathematics and physics. He is credited with being one of the inventors of calculus. Although the calculus Newton invented isnt used as it is deemed too complicated.

Isaac Newton

Until Newton it was general belief the stars and planets stayed in place because God had placed them there.

Isaac Newton

Newton showed how they stayed in place. With his work on celestial mechanics- gravity. Newtons work on planetary motion showed how a satellite could stay in orbit. Newton worked on optics and proposed theories on the nature of light.

Isaac Newton
Newton advanced mathematical knowledge in every branch he studied. He was a difcult man to deal with and was in frequent disputes with other scientists.

Edward Jenner
May 17, 1749 - January 26, 1823 Born in England. At this time small pox was a deadly and wide spread disease. It killed and scarred its victims across the world.

Edward Jenner
In the New World it killed the native populations by the millions. At this time a method of protecting people was used but it was dangerous and difcult. Fresh pus was taken from a infected person and lanced into the person being treated. This could spread sexual diseases found in the blood. Jenner, being a country doctor, knew that those who

had cowpox never got small pox.

Edward Jenner
Jenner found a milkmaid with fresh cowpox lesions on her hands. Using material from these lesions he inoculated an 8 year old boy. (James Phipps.) Today smallpox is listed as extinct and Jenner is credited with saving more lives than any other human being in history.

Charles Darwin
February 2, 1809 - April 19, 1882 Born in England. Went to University to become a doctor. However, he found the lectures boring and surgery upsetting.

Charles Darwin
His annoyed father yanked him out of school and sent to study to become a pastor. His cousin introduced him to the craze (?!) of beetle collecting. He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave. A teacher submitted his name for the position of naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle. The proposed 2 year voyage was self funded.

Charles Darwin
His father thought the voyage was a waste of time but eventually agreed to pay for Charles to go. The 2 year voyage turned into a nearly 5 year one. At stops Darwin would ship cases of specimens back to England with letters and notes. When Darwin returned to England he was already famous due to his letters and specimens.

Charles Darwin
He spent years writing up his ndings and considering what he had seen. His theories on evolution and natural selection changed the world. He spent the rest of his life working to prove his ndings despite attacks on him and his work.

Cartoon from 1871

Charles Darwin
Darwin showed that species change (evolve). Species die out and new ones appear. The world and whats in it is not constant. To this day in the US his teachings are opposed on religious grounds.

Gregor Mendel
July 20, 1822 - January 6, 1884 Born in Austria. He struggled with illness. Became a friar to pay for school. Failed the oral part of exams to become a high school teacher.

Gregor Mendel
He rst studied genetics using mice. But his bishop didnt like a Friar studying animal sex so he switched to plants. He worked on 4.9 acres of land. From 1856 to 1863 he cultivated and tested 29,000 peas plants. He explained and developed theories on inheritance, that form the modern base of the study of genetics. Mendel presented his paper in 1865.

Gregor Mendel
In general it was misunderstood and ignored. Afterwards Mendel worked on bees. But without any great success. He was unable to control the mating of queen bees. When he was promoted to abbot in 1868 his scientic work ended. When he died all his papers were burned. It was only after his death that the genius of his work was realized.

Gregor Mendel
Charles Darwin was unaware of Mendels work. It wasnt until the 1930s and 40s that Darwins and Mendels work was joined and resulted in the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology.

December 27, 1822 - September 28,1895 Born in France. Three of his ve children died of typhoid. This is said to have been his motivation for curing infectious diseases.

Louis Pasteur

Pasteurs experiments showed that germs were introduced to substances and did not spontaneously occur. His ideas were so radical that he was scoffed at by fellow scientists even after demonstrating his research. The idea of microbes in the air causing disease was just too fantastic. His research led to sterile conditions in operating rooms. (Taken for granted now.) Milk is pasteurized to rid it of bacteria.

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur
He developed vaccines for rabies and anthrax. His work built on that of Edward Jenner. He is also credited with saving millions of lives. In 1868 suffered a brain hemorrhage and was unable to continue his work.

February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931 Born in Ohio. Sold newspapers on a train. Home schooled. Spent his time reading and tinkering with different experiments. Worked as a telegraph operator.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison
Liked to work nights as it gave him time to read and work on his experiments. One of his rst inventions was a stock ticker. He used the money form his rst inventions to set up a research lab in Menlo Park, NJ. The public was stunned and amazed with the phonograph, a device to record sound. From then on Edison was a star.

Thomas Edison
It was at his lab that the light bulb was created. Perhaps his most important invention was the Kinetograph, the motion picture camera. Edison founded General Electric still on of the worlds most successful companies.

November 7, 1867 - July 4, 1934 Born in Poland. Became a French citizen. In 1903 she won the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1911 she won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. 1st woman to win.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie
Curies research into radioactivity was was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. In fact Curie herself coined the word radioactivity. She discovered radium and researched the atomic structure of elements seeking out those that were radioactive. Curie faced prejudice everyday for being a woman scientist, Polish and an atheist.

Her eldest daughter Irene was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Curie died from leukemia, believed to stem from her constant exposure to radioactive materials. To this day she is most famous woman scientist of all time.

Marie Curie

Nikola Tesla
July 10, 1856 - January 7, 1943. Born in what is now Croatia. June 1884 moved to NY. Worked for Edison. Quit in a pay dispute. Worked as a ditch digger.

Nikola Tesla
Marconi is credited as the inventor of radio, but Tesla sued Marconi for using 17 of his patents, and won. Tesla developed AC the electrical current we use today. (And the electrical motor.) Invented remote control in 1898. Was apparently able to broadcast power. Built the worlds rst hydroelectric plant at Niagara falls.

Nikola Tesla
Became a US citizen in 1891. Could read a book once and remember it word for word. Spoke 8 languages. Never patented much of his work. Suffered from OCD. It was so severe that he could easily be called insane. His own claims and the claims about him by others make it hard to know the extent of his genius.

Nikola Tesla
His life today is surrounded in legend making it difcult to know the real Tesla. The incredible claims surrounding the Philadelphia Experiment. Death rays, teleportation, and messages from Mars. Are all tied to the name Tesla.

March 14, 1879- April 18, 1955 Born in Germany. Without question the most famous scientist in history. Time magazine named him Person of the Century in 1999. His name is synonymous with genius.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Theory of relativity. Showed that the universe was not constant. It was expanding or contracting but not steady. Einstein showed that massive objects could distort space and time, time was not constant! He showed that time slows as objects move at high speed. Became a US citizen in 1940.

Albert Einstein
Contrary to popular belief Einstein did not invent the atom bomb or even work on the Manhattan Project. He did however send President Roosevelt a warning of the dangers of the Germans working on such a device. E=MC 2 is most famous equation in science. It shows that huge amounts of energy can be released from a small amount of matter.

Albert Einstein
Not only is the universe stranger than we think it is stranger than we can think. In his later years he became outspoken on topics related to bigotry and racism.

Alexander Fleming
August 6, 1881 - March 11, 1955 Born in England. Served as a Captain in the medical corp in WWI. There he witnessed many soldiers die from infected wounds. Infection was the great killer.

Alexander Fleming
Prior to WWI Fleming had been doing research of anti-bacterial agents, without success. Before going on vacation in 1928 Fleming left out some dishes with germ cultures he was studying. On return he found some of the dishes were covered in mold. He was prepared to throw them away but he noticed something...

Alexander Fleming
The germ cultures growing in the mold dishes were dead. Fleming had discovered the worlds rst antibiotic. He worked for the next 11 years trying to isolate and grow the penicillin mold. The rst antibiotics were introduced in WWII. Millions of lives have been saved.

Watson & Crick

Watson & Crick


James Watson Francis Crick April 6, 1928 Born in Chicago, Ill. Refused a $1000 raise after his won the Nobel Prize for medicine. In 1990 named as the head of the Human Genome Project. June 8, 1916 -July 28, 2004 Born in England Caused controversy with his negative views on religion. Shared Nobel Prize in 1962.

Watson & Crick


Although DNA was recognized as the structure for transferring genetic material its structure was unknown. Without this information it wasnt possible to understand the inner workings of genes. In 1953 Watson and Crick unveiled their famous model of the DNA molecule. The double helix, or spiral staircase.

Watson & Crick


With the structure on DNA understood it was possible to understand the role of individual genes. It is becoming possible to target and repair genetic disorders. This power is only just starting to be revealed.