Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What makes a memorable physicist?

  1. Sep 11, 2006 #1
    Hi:smile:

    This is my first post, and lets start it off with a common question.

    What makes a memorable physicist?

    1. The institution in wich he graduated from
    2. The theories he himself thought of or improved on
    3. Winning a nobel prize
    4. Celebrity status

    These are just some i could think of off the top of my head.

    I personally believe that regardless of these 4 examples, all you need is the passion to thrive in what ever field you love.

    concur?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2006 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you have a passion for what you are doing, you may acheive the last three, but they are not necessarily what it takes to be a memorable physicist, famous yes.
     
  4. Sep 11, 2006 #3

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Sometime one is "memorable" for dubious reasons. I'm sure Fleshmann and Pons would rather NOT be memorable the way they are now.

    Zz.
     
  5. Sep 11, 2006 #4
    who are fleshmann and pons?
     
  6. Sep 11, 2006 #5
    Cold Fusion frauds.
     
  7. Sep 11, 2006 #6

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I remember reading that in one of Asimov's books.

    That was the day I realized that not all scientists were honest and trustworthy. The word "crackpot" naturally came to mind and don't ask me how.
     
  8. Sep 11, 2006 #7
    IMO a physicist is made memorable by the purity of his conviction as it were.

    Anyone who is more interested in their personal status in a research community than they are in the actual research has no place in science, IMO. Or maybe, I just have no patience for people who seem to think that science is more about them, their theories, and their careers than it is about nature.
     
  9. Sep 11, 2006 #8

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I feel the same way.
     
  10. Sep 11, 2006 #9
    It would never occur to me to think of any physicist in terms of memorability. It would seem strange to me to say "Oh, yes! Professor Glutenschlager! A very memorable physicist!" What is that saying about him? It doesn't necessarily mean he was a good or great physicist. He might be memorable for non-professional reasons: for having two thumbs on one hand, or for his habit of dancing a jig at the end of every lecture.
     
  11. Sep 11, 2006 #10
    I'd say it depends on how they impact society! Noone remembers Einstien for his photoelectric effect and I can't say off the top of my head who else won a nobel prize, so it ain't that. Einstien and Eddison etc. all the ones you remember all made a profound effect on today's society - the biggest effects out of all - so definately that.
     
  12. Sep 11, 2006 #11
    Oh, well if we're talking about the general public, than being memorable is not at all something one usually wants, especially if it means having one's name spelled incorrectly on a regular basis.
     
  13. Sep 11, 2006 #12

    Mk

    User Avatar

    For sure in this community we remember the photoelectric effect. :biggrin: But you're right, most people only hear physicists talking, and the media about E=mc2, and general relativity but have no idea what they mean.
     
  14. Sep 11, 2006 #13
    The what?

    .........
     
  15. Sep 11, 2006 #14
    Everyone makes mistakes :tongue:
     
  16. Sep 12, 2006 #15

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I don't even agree with that. Arguably, the physicist that has the MOST "impact" on our lives today is someone most people have never heard before - John Bardeen. The ONLY person to have won the Nobel Prize in physics TWICE, his is hardly a household name. Yet, he made 2 significant contributions that have a direct impact on everyone's lives - the discovery of the transistor, and the BCS Theory of superconductivity.

    So having an impact does not equate to being "memorable", even with 2 Nobel prizes.

    Zz.
     
  17. Sep 12, 2006 #16

    J77

    User Avatar

    Would Hawking be such a memorable physicist had he not been disabled?

    Possibly, to the general public, memorable physicists are those to which people can relate in some way outside of Physics...
     
  18. Sep 12, 2006 #17
    perhaps saying "what makes a memorable physicist" was in my part a wrong doing.

    So to turn the tide, What should one accomplish in physics or in any other science field, to be deemed worthy of saying "he is someone we should look up to".

    Should the general public think that all scientist are prodigies and attend the finest institutions in the world or that they are interested in their work and will do anything to further their knowledge of science. :confused:

    Before anyone asks me if this question pertains to me, no. It was a debate i had with some friends.

    -matt
     
  19. Sep 12, 2006 #18
    Einstein wrote a little known history of physics (with collaborator Leopold Infield) called The Evolution Of Physics in which he characterized physics as an ongoing struggle to align the thoughts of men about what is happening in Nature with what is actually is happening in Nature.

    Anyone who has achieved a more accurate, deeper, or clearer understanding of Nature, therfore, is someone we should emulate.
     
  20. Sep 12, 2006 #19

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think the general public doesn't really think about it unless something makes the news. They don't care where the guy went to school or where he's currently working. So, my answer is "none of the above" for "general public".
     
  21. Sep 12, 2006 #20

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    To me, the most memorable physicists are all of the great professors I had during the course of my education.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: What makes a memorable physicist?
Loading...