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GreatestScientistsofallTime

Itsalwaysdifficulttoimaginetheexplanationfornaturalphenomena.Theliteratureissparseand
rarelycanhelp.Thus,itsallthemoreremarkablewhensomeonepresentsacogent,wellthought
outandcompleteexplanationforaphenomenathatmankindneverbotheredtoquestionbefore.

However,thesephenomenonwerepartofeverydayexperience.So,inasense,theproblemswere
inplainsight.But,thereareseveralothersthatwereinvisible.Thesearesomeofthem:

Whatsfascinatingisthathumanshavethecapacitytoaskquestionsabouttheirsurroundings.
Someareobviousbutbynomeanseasy:
1. Istheearththecenteroftheuniverse.ScientistslikeKepler,Galileosuffereddearlyfor
thinkingotherwiseeventhoughtheypresentedirrefutableevidence.
2. Whydoesarocksinkbutashipholding100sofpeoplefloat.Archimedesexplanationisa
tributetotheanalyticalwaytoapproachsuchproblems.

Herearesomeofthemtogetherwithwhattheydid.

Archimedes
Hisanalysisofwhyboatsfloatisbreathtakinginitsappealtologic.Also,hispresentationoftheLaw
oftheLeversisanoutstandingexampleofclearandprecisethinking.

Godel:
Hegavetheworldtheincompletenessproof.Thatis,therearesomesystemsinwhichstatements
aretrue,butwhichcannotbeproved.Thisisanartifactofthemathematicalprinciplesthatman
developed.And,theresultsweresobizarrethatittookgeniusjusttorecognizethequestion.Godel
notonlyformulatedthequestion,heprovidedaconvincingexplanation.

Galois:
Hegaveusanewwayatlookingatthesolvabilityofequations.Specifically,heshowed
thatpolynomialsofdegree5orgreatercannotbesolvedinradicals.Themost
puzzlingthingaboutthisiswhy5?What'ssospecialabout5?

IsaacNewton
Discoverythattheforcethatattractsanappletothegroundisthesameonethatcausesplanetsto
orbitthesun.Thisobservationisnotobviousoneiscelestialwhiletheotherisacommoneveryday
occurrence.

Gelfand:
FineRussianMathematician.Hisbooksareadelighttoread.Helooksatsimpleproblems
butforwhichsimpleapproacheswillnotwork.

Galileo
Discoverythatdifferentobjectsthrownfromthesameheightwillreachthegroundatthesametime.
Thisobservationishighlycounterintuitive.Mostpoeplewouldreasonthattheheavierobjectfallsto
thegroundearlier.Thisobservationisincorrect.Theheavierobjectfallswithgreaterforce,but
doesn'tfallearlier.

AlbertEinstein
Discoverythatnothingcantravelfasterthanthespeedoflight.
Again,mostpeoplewouldequatetheireverydayexperienceaboutjumpingoff
movingtrainsandconcludethatalightbeamemittedfromarocketwouldtravelfaster
thanoneemittedfromtheground.But,Einsteinobservedthatlightisan
electromagneticphenomenaamovingelectricfieldcausesamovingmagneticfield
whichinturncausesamovingelectricfield.Thisprocessisselfsustainingand
doesn'tneedanyoutsidehelp(likeamovingtrain)tokeepitgoing.