A Look at Five Great Scientific Thinkers. The great scientists in history either changed the world, their science or both. This group of top scientists made a big impact on their science.
From the first tier of great scientists, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Kepler, and Copernicus, one could observe that many science revolutions occurred because of their influence. Their impact on the human race already changed man’s view of himself in the world.
These next five scientists are not as dramatic as the first five. Their effect was more on their science, though scientists like Louis Pasteur and Edwin Hubble made advances that changed life worldwide. This group of scientific thinkers were methodical, detail oriented, thinkers “outside of the box.” They made many innovations in the field of technology.
Chemist and Biologist Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur was a scientist whose work affected ordinary citizens medically. He proposed the germ theory of disease urging the use of clean medical instruments.
Pasteur developed the “vaccination” process to prevent illness including rabies and chicken cholera. He also invented pasteurization, which is a form of mild heating to kill micro-organisms. He is one of humanities greatest benefactors.
Chemist Dimitri Mendeleev
Dimitri Mendeleev organized the periodic table of elements according to their mass. Consequently, he made predictions about elements and identified their structure before they were discovered.
Then, after they were discovered, they indeed had the chemical properties the Mendeleev said they would have.
Physicist Paul Dirac
After Quantum Mechanics was invented around 1900, (the theory of the atom), Paul Dirac re-invented it with a new theory of the electron that took into account special relativity.
He predicted anti-matter. Even though anti-matter may sound like something out of Star Trek, hospitals use it every day to perform PET scans of the brain.
Astronomer Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble cataloged distant stars and realized that they were galaxies. Moreover, in his observations he saw that they were moving away from the Milky Way Galaxy.
His science was so profound about the size of the universe that he even challenged the General Theory of Relativity. Einstein responded with the Cosmological Constant and added it into his equations. Einstein later said it was his “biggest blunder.” From Hubble, one knows that the universe is expanding.
Physicist James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell studied electricity and magnetism. He is famous for his equations that showed how those two physical phenomena are related.
Without Maxwell’s equations there would be no electrical transformers, or energy units, no energy conversion technologies, or even electrical technology. The 20th Century would have looked like the 13th Century; indeed it would look very primitive.
This list has shown how science and its practitioners were changing the world by changing the area of study they were involved in. That is not to say that there cannot be more change to come, because there will be. But will it be as dramatic as Darwin’s theory or Copernicus? Today, if a scientist found a way to make humans immortal, or to bring people back from the dead, that certainly would be important and even change our way of looking at the human race.