How would /sci/ rank the top 5 greatest scientists of all time with respect to the overall impact they had on humanity?
Here's my ranking:
1) Issac Newton
2) Michael Faraday
3) James Clerk Maxwell
4) Louis Pasteur
5) Albert Einstein
But no line has to be drawn. He did physics, because physics, as everything else, is applied mathematics.
Same to you.
Still, he was a mathematician. You go back in time and ask him what he was, he'd say mathematician. What was his job? Mathematician. What did he do? Mathematics What was he paid for? Mathematics. What was his trade? Mathematics. What did he teach at university? Mathematics..
1.) Michael Faraday
for nearly all that he did
2.) Charles Darwin
for laying the groundwork of evolutionary theory
3.) Max Planck
for inventing quantum mechanics
4.) Albert Einstein
for relativity and many other things
5.) Cecilia Payne
for discovering the composition of the stars
That's just a ranking of the impact their discoveries had, really. And totally just my opinion.
Eh, he was a polymath.
It's screwy talking about thinkers from these earlier periods because various fields were intertwined, poorly defined, and/or generally did not have that much formal work done in them. People dabbled in a lot of different topics and were able to make significant advances because no one had either bothered, had bothered but not written it down, or had bothered, written it down, but it was then somehow lost.
Now, everything is recorded. We spend most of our time learning old ideas to build off of them. All that crap is easily accessible so we try not to duplicate effort in areas that are already well explored (speaking of phd level stuff here).
>because physics, as everything else, is applied mathematics
Tell that to Faraday.
>Still, he was a mathematician.
Nobody is disagreeing with that. But he could hardly call himself a physicist since he basically created the field as it is today. In retrospect, he was a mathematician and a physicist, and is honored for his work in both fields.
Hi anti-theism aside, I genuinely believe he's the greatest living Biologist. The Selfish Gene revolutionized our understanding of natural selection and the depths of genetics.
As a Bio major, I'm probably a little biased though.