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If the greatest mathematicians / physicists where alive today

  1. Jan 24, 2013 #1
    With the tools and knowledge we have today, if the great minds were still alive today, do you think we would be any further ahead of where we are today. What new discoveries could have possibly been solved.

    Also sinse Einstein, who else has revolutionised the way we think about a certain topic? I know there has been great progress in quantum stuff but is there a single person who has done anything which completely amazed the science community?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2013 #2


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    Mathematicians have done tons of things in the interim that have been revolutionary (von Neumann and Grothendieck come to mind). I have no doubt if Gauss were alive today that we would be quite a bit ahead.
  4. Jan 24, 2013 #3
    Why do you think that there are no great minds today anymore??
  5. Jan 24, 2013 #4
    The First post is very crazy.
    If the greatest mathematician/physicists alive today.
    If Einstein were alive, he break the record of marriage by Elizabeth Taylor.
    If Newton were alive, he is not called Physicist & Mathematician but Chemist & Engineer also because at his last he is researching the property of Mercury,Astronomy,Physics and Mathematics already explored.
  6. Jan 25, 2013 #5
    It isn't that I don't think there are any great physicists anymore, I simply do not know, I'm not upto date with the current situation in the mathematics and physics field. I'm merely asking who in the last 30 years has contributed significantely and changed the way we view a particular subject?

    The only person I can think of who I know is Richard Feynman. But is there anyone within the last 20 - 30 years?
  7. Jan 31, 2013 #6
    None. They would all be too busy playing Angry Birds, downloading pictures of naked ladies and streaming low budget action movies from Netflix.
  8. Jan 31, 2013 #7
    It is a loaded question which assumes there are no great minds around today. Please cite a peer-reviewed journal to support your claim.

    PS. Einstein, never revolutionized the way we think about a certain topic. How many time would people pedestalize him to unreasonable heights?

    Oh. So you admit there might be some great minds around today.

    Now if you were not as familiar as me with the current depth of math and physics (well physics atleast) you'd have listed 100 names just like me who are significant enough today.

    I'm sure they would have done this. They would also have played Counter Strike.
  9. Feb 2, 2013 #8
    There are thinkers around today who are just as capable as Einstein or Newton (statistically, there should be lots of them), but their attentions are being diverted by the allure of distracting technology.
  10. Feb 2, 2013 #9
    He revolutionized the way we think about every topic.

    Problems physicists try to solve are getting much more complicated and experiments are becoming more and more expensive. We can't expect as much discoveries as between the years ~1900~1950~ .
  11. Feb 2, 2013 #10
    He certainly did not. Can you explain why you think so with some examples?
  12. Feb 2, 2013 #11
    I agree with some in the way that there aren't brilliant people now as focused on physics & mathematics as in the past... But it cannot distract us about the main point that scientific knowledge is getting more and more complex everyday... I think that an only person cannot significantly progress by his own in any field... You need a group of excellent minds to discover something relevant nowadays...
  13. Feb 2, 2013 #12


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    I'd be interested in the basis of this statement. I've known some pretty sharp minds working in physics and math, and it seems we haven't run out of folks who are awarded the Nobel and similarly presitigious prizes.
  14. Feb 2, 2013 #13
    More now than in the past. Anyway, I'm still alive, so there doesn't seem to be much point to this thread.
  15. Feb 2, 2013 #14
    He certainly did. I will give you a few examples. I will mention only the things that revolutionized the way we think about certain things not his other works like theorizing photons(Since Max Planck was the first to think of quantized EM waves) solving photoelectric effect, etc.

    He did change the way we think about the most fundamental things that classical physics used to describe systems - space and time. Of course Lorentz and Poincare may have found some of the mathematics and some of the physical outcome of SR but they were thinking about aether. They still had the classical notion of simultaneity, time, space etc.
    For me this is a big change in people's thinking. For thousands of years people were thinking that the length of object is independent of movement, change of reference frame or whatever. Classical physicist were thinking about some universal time which "synchronizes" everyone's time. For so many years people were thinking that the right way to find the speed between two objects moving relative to the earth in opposite direction is to just add them up.

    He actualy found the way gravity works. Again for so many years people have been thinking that gravity is some invisible force that instantaniously pulls objects and no one knew what it was. Einstein show that gravitational force is caused by space-time curvature.
    Not only explaining how gravity works but showing that the space the empty space is not nothing but a real thing that has it's own properties.
    Philosophers before Newton (Leibitz was one of them) were thinking about time as something that we just use to describe our expirience that is not real. They were thinking that space is just nothing without objects in it. They were thinking that its just a way to describe the relationship between objects.

    He was the first to come up with the cosmological constant (the energy density in empty space). He was thinking about static universe but at the end of the day even with wrong idea this turned out to be very important. People are getting nobel prizes for mesuring the accelerated expansion of the Universe through observing supernovae (2011) .

    There are many speculative theories about who's idea was relativity but they don't have any proof and I am a fan of the original scenario where Einstein came up with this things. Its Historical Fact that Einstein got to the field equations before Hilbert and it is also a fact that during their entire live they didn't have any argument about that. It's a fact that he was actualy good at math despite the myths.

    You are free to think whatever you want. I am sure that this won't change your mind. I just gave the examples you wanted. I am realy tired of this kind of conversations so this is my last post to this topic.
  16. Feb 3, 2013 #15
  17. Feb 3, 2013 #16
    @Sayajin - he might had done so for a few topics, but certainly not for every topic.
  18. Feb 3, 2013 #17


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    The article is from LiveScience. Even Fox can now and then post good stuff originated by others.

    From LiveScience - http://www.livescience.com/26779-end-scientific-genius.html

    The article states: "Only theoretical physics shows signs of a "crisis," or accumulation of findings that cannot be explained, that leaves it open for a major paradigm shift, he writes." So there is still opportunity.

    Sherrilyn Roush makes several good points.

    The article doesn't prove that genius(es) is(are) extinct, only that an individual may not have the same impact on the state of the art as did Galileo or Einstein. But then there still may be opportunity, e.g., with respect to ToE and determining the nature of DM/DE.

    Of course, we could turn our attention to the mundane, such as a sustainable global economy that enhances the quality of life for all humans or as many as possible, while precluding the destruction of the environment.

    Note the article addresses the field of physics, not math or other areas of science.

    Meanwhile - LiveScience (a popsci organization) published Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds

    I don't agree with some on the list, or the order, or their signficance. This is an expression of the staff at LiveScience.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  19. Feb 3, 2013 #18
    Modern science is based on relativistic and quantum ideas, and he revolutionized those. What else do you want?

    But if you want more there is his ideas of stimulated emission, einstein coefficients, brownian motion, theoretical estimated of avogadros number, the idea of unified field theories, BE statistics, early theories of crystal heat capacities, and more and more.

    He changed the whole land of physics.
  20. Feb 3, 2013 #19
    Scientists in Einstein's day were thinking, "where is the next Newton or Leibniz"?
  21. Feb 4, 2013 #20
    > With the tools and knowledge we have today, if the great minds were still alive today, do you think we would be any further ahead of where we are today.

    Sure. That's why they were great minds.

    > What new discoveries could have possibly been solved.

    Who knows?

    > Also sinse Einstein, who else has revolutionised the way we think about a certain topic? I know there has been great progress in quantum stuff but is there a single person who has done anything which completely amazed the science community?

    Hmmm. Ed Witten and M theory? Ralph Abraham and chaos theory?
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