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View Poll Results: Who was the most important?
Imhotep (2600 BC) 1 2.56%
Archemedes (287-212 BC) 0 0%
Johannes Gutenberg (1395-1468) 1 2.56%
Issac Newton (1642-1726) 16 41.03%
James Watt (1736-1819) 1 2.56%
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) 2 5.13%
Thomas Edison (1847-1941) 1 2.56%
Nikolai Tesla (1856-1943) 11 28.21%
Albert Einstein(1879-1955) 6 15.38%
John Von Neuman (1903-1957) 0 0%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-21-2013, 05:06 AM #31
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Wow, there are so many great people who have contributed to the progress of humanity. I am going to go with Isaac Newton for all his contributions in optics, gravity, and mathematics. He laid the foundation for classical physics. During that time there was this big effort to try to understand the motion of the heavenly bodies. I believe he added mass to Kepler's equations for planetary motion, so we understood why objects adhered to Kepler's equations of planetary motion. It's like, they needed to use the records of observations of guys like Tycho Brahe or Galileo. They used those observation records to model the motion of objects through the sky. I mean, the first of three physics classes is pretty much based on everything he Newton did. The first physics for engineers is mechanics, then electricity & magnetism, and then optics. Like one dude said, Gauss is pretty important. I know he was a mathematician, but I saw his contributions in Physics II with Gaussian Surfaces with regard to Electric Fields. Yuk. It's been a while since that class, so I won't bother trying to remember what the hell Gaussian surfaces are for. Let's see, I believe it has to do with figuring out electric fields for different charge distributions, not just point charges. I remember flux and q enclosed. Son of a b*tch. I am pretty proud of myself for passing that class. It sucks that I forget everything I've ever learned in math and physics within 2 weeks of having completed those classes. Einstein is great, too. However, most of the world is governed by Newton's laws, with respect to mechanics. Yes, they break down under extreme conditions, such as speed of light. That's where Einstein comes in. But, Newton's laws are good for planet earth stuff.

But all these guys "have seen further, by standing on the shoulders of giants." There was a great foundation laid in mathematics and natural philosophy for thousands of years. There are so many great mathematicians and scientists. All of this stuff is wonderful and is for the purpose of understanding the universe. I really like the fact that Newton worked vigorously in trying to understand the Universe because he wanted to understand how God worked. I like to study these things, as well, because I want to get into God's brain. I want to know how he thinks. Math, Science, and Engineering are number 1. JS Bach is number 2.

It is all a collective effort. Science and math is a collective effort. The sole purpose of these disciplines is in seeking out truth in the universe. It's beautiful. Everybody has benefited from the foundation laid before them. It is their responsibility to contribute to our understanding of the universe. The Universe.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:54 AM #32
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in before squeelpiggy votes for himself........... Rockin'
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:55 AM #33
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in before squeelpiggy votes for himself........... Rockin'
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Shots fired

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:07 AM #34
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Newton.

This is a guy who invented calculus as a side project because he once asked himself a Larry-esque type question: Does the moon also fall

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:18 AM #35
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in before squeelpiggy votes for himself........... Rockin'
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:20 AM #36
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Originally Posted by deliveryman View Post
Newton.

This is a guy who invented calculus as a side project because he asked himself a Larry-esque type question: Does the moon also fall
I thought someone else asked him a question.

Maybe it was Larry?
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:46 AM #37
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This guy wins:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shen_Kuo
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:10 AM #38
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Originally Posted by Uncle Kadyo View Post
I have my own biases and I say the greatest genius of all time is Karl Friedrich Gauss. Not many may have heard of him but that dude was one of a kind.

Regarded as one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time, Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) made influential contributions to the study of electricity and magnetism, number theory, astronomy, differential geometry, and many other fields.

Special mentions would be Evariste Galois, Srinivasa Ramanujan and Kurt Kodel.

Newton and Leibniz wouldn't have discovered Calculus independently had it not been for the discoveries of Descartes and Fermat. As newton said, "If I have seen farther than the others, it is beacuse I was standing on the shoulders of giants."
If you're putting Gauss then I'm firing in James Clerk Maxwell.

Quote:
ames Clerk Maxwell FRS FRSE (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish[1] theoretical physicist.[2] His most prominent achievement was formulating classical electromagnetic theory. This unites all previously unrelated observations, experiments, and equations of electricity, magnetism, and optics into a consistent theory.
He was kind of a big deal. It's unanimously agreed uniting forces is a hard thing to do.

Quote:
In the millennium poll—a survey of the 100 most prominent physicists—Maxwell was voted the third greatest physicist of all time, behind only Newton and Einstein.
Quote:
Einstein himself described Maxwell's work as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton."[8] Einstein kept a photograph of Maxwell on his study wall, alongside pictures of Michael Faraday and Newton.[9]

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:38 AM #39
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I feel obliged to mention Paul Dirac as well.

It takes a huge amount of brains to use an equation you developed to predict anti-matter before it has even been observed.

In reality, most who attended the Solvay Quantum Physics Conference in 1927 is also in with a shout: Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg(especially), Plank, Lorentz.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:46 AM #40
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Einstein is great, too. However, most of the world is governed by Newton's laws, with respect to mechanics. Yes, they break down under extreme conditions, such as speed of light. That's where Einstein comes in. But, Newton's laws are good for planet earth stuff.
Not strictly true, Einsteins relativity is the reality behind Newtonian gravity which is in reality a very good approximation. Einstein doesn't "come in" at extreme conditions General Relativity is just a better version of Newtons gravity. The best way of showing Newtons gravity is through the eclipse experiment which shows that light bends when mass(energy, they are equivalent) distorts space time. Newtons equation of Universal Gravitation predicts that massless light will not experience any change due to gravity.
It is proven by a star appearing in a different position from it's actual position, where the line "B" is the perceived position (as our senses result in the perception that light always travels in straight lines), and the line "A" is the actual position. It actually means you can see stars behind objects when this takes place.

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Einsteins greatest achievement wasn't even Relativity, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the Photoelectric effect particularly, which demonstrated the particulate nature of light. This was a massive deal as people like Maxwell and co. were just done demonstrating that light was a wave.

Last edited by Barn; 01-21-2013 at 08:48 AM.
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