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Tell me the 3 greatest physicist u think

  1. May 5, 2003 #1
    tell me the 3 greatest physicist u think
    and who is the most?? why??
    for my opinion
    i put Newton at the 1st place because i think we start learn physics is Newton's law, that mean it's a foundation of physics
    the second place i put Einstein because Einstein change our veiw for the world and the theory of relativity is great theory, last i put Maxwell at the 3rd place because Maxwell the the most important people on the electromagnetic
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2003 #2


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    Re: physcist

    Many people would agree with you. To make things more interesting I will play the "Devil's Advocate" and argue against
    your conventionally correct choices.

    1) Pythagoras who discovered the first physical law (vibrating strings)

    2) Kepler who discovered geometric and algebraic laws governing the planets

    3) Einstein (I cannot contradict your choice here).

    Pythagoras (c. 600 BC) investigated numerical ratio in music----he related the lengths of vibrating strings to the harmonic series of notes. If physical law is geometry and number in nature then he found the first physical law.

    I will skip over Aristarchus (c.250 BC) who discovered that the earth revolves around the sun and that the earth's rotation causes day and night (Copernicus rediscovered this much later). For 2000 years people modeled the sky with CIRCLES. Kepler was the first to see that the planets moved along ellipses instead.

    Kepler discovered a subtle law: period^2 proportional to distance^3. this was algebraically the most sophisticated law discovered up to that point. The common physical relations are linear or inverse square. But Kepler's third law is not so simple---it involves the 3/2 power. (he called the period the "sesquipotence" of the distance, which means 3/2 power)

    It is hard to understand what motivated Kepler. By comparison, Newton is more "predicatable". Newton had Kepler's laws to try to explain. The real revolution was brought about by Kepler who found the geometrical and numerical patterns in the first place.
  4. May 6, 2003 #3
    I have to put

    1. Newton

    Because of the work he did making calculus, while he did supress some ideas, he still did alot of great work, that we would be in trouble without.

    2. 2. Einstien

    Same reason as everyone else

    3. Wien

    He did alot for physics, astronomy, and chemestry.
  5. May 6, 2003 #4
    Where's the love for Galileo? He only pretty much begat the scientific method and started the study of physics is all. :)
  6. May 6, 2003 #5

    Claude Bile

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    I agree with damgo, Galileo helped break the shackles of religious dogma and incited the intellectual renaissance. I think the freedom to persue knowledge and understanding is more important than any theory.
  7. May 7, 2003 #6
    1. Newton, but only because he was a mental Alchemist who nearly everyone hated.

    2. Dirac.

    3. Einstein

    Questioning the placement of 2 and 3? Well, Dirac *looked* so much cooler than Einstein, and http://physicsweb.org/article/world/13/3/2 gives a good defence of my opinion.
  8. May 7, 2003 #7
    1. Einstein - started relativity and quantum.

    2. Newton.

    3. Fermi. For being a relativity modern physicist able to trancend experimental and theory rather than having any great theories.
  9. May 8, 2003 #8
    because of the mental Alchemist than u put Newton at a 1st place...
    it's that a good reason??
  10. May 8, 2003 #9


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    The fact that Newton invented calculus as a tool for figuring out physics (as if inventing a new branch of math on its own wasn't enough) puts him on top for me.
  11. May 9, 2003 #10
    The fact that he used The Calculus, and in particular differential equations, to describe physical phenomena, not only to describe but predict places Newton at the top spot, simply because he's probably the one person whose discovery and innovation has had the most profound and fundamental effect on all the sciences, not just physics. Just look at the equation F = m(dv/dt), a simple differential equation that we still find useful to solve time and time again, be it in the context of a simple Force acting on a body, an oscillation, or an object moving in a field, no matter what the object or its position in space. It kind of renders the calculation of the harmonic properties of a string trivial in comparison.

    To cite Pythagoras is a bit mental, not least because most people these days are forced, by lack of evidence and extensive historial record, to talk of the discoveries made by the Pythagorian school, rather than the individual. Plus, Pythagoras and Kepler were great and all, but they were basically describing phenomena, it was Newton who went a stage further and introduced the concept of prediction by rigorous mathematical description, and developed the mathematical tools required to make this possible, laying extensive foundations for Science as we know it to be built upon. Kepler's laws are a relatively 'small' topic within science, whereas Newtonian Mechanics represent an entire field within Mathematics and Physics which we study and use to this day.

    As for Newton being 'predictable', dude, the guy jabbed needles into his eyes whilst conducting an investigation into Optics. Kepler's motivation be damned, I'm still baffled by the thought of Newton sitting down one evening, perhaps a little bored, and thinking "Hey! Stabbing myself in the eyes, that will give me the secret, and be fun as well!"

    And including Newton simply because he was a mental alchemist requires no justification, all the reasons to include him are all there in that description.
  12. May 10, 2003 #11
    Galileo died almost completly blind from staring at the sun through a telescope, remember kids, just say no to science, science kills.
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