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Who is/are your favourite physicist(s) and why?

  1. Sep 15, 2006 #1
    I thought it'd just be interesting to see who people's favourite physicists are. I think people often slander physicists for being too 'nerdy' and tunnel-visioned and they don't appreciate that like any other academic discipline, to be a top gun requires a great vigour of mind.

    But anyway, back to the question, here's my answer:

    My two favourites are Einstein and Feynman (hence my username. :tongue:) I love Einstein because he's an absolute genius but more importantly because of his philosophical views of science as a tool to progress society and religion. I love Feynman because he's a 'practical physicist' - although he's incredibly smart (you'd have to be to understand quantum electrodynamics), he can reduce the complex to simple and he's got the gift of being able to teach to the layman.

    That's my two cents... now I'd like to hear yours. :wink:
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2006 #2
    Well I am going to agree with you on those two.

    Einstein because, well because he was einstein :)

    Feynman mostly because he seemed like a very cool character. Who doesnt love a guy that thinks best in a nudebar and smoked marijuana. He seems as far from the geek stereotype thats possible. Maby that was the secret to his intelligence :biggrin:
  4. Sep 15, 2006 #3
    My favourite is Isaac Newton because of the vast contribution that he made to science and to human thought generaly. Except explaining the universal gravitational law and giving the laws of motion, he also discovered the light spectra, and invented calculus. I don't think there will ever be a single person with such huge and diverse contribution.
  5. Sep 15, 2006 #4
    John Bardeen; due to fact that even with his 2 nobel prizes, he is virtually nearly annoymous to the ordinary public. Also, his ideas and inventions (transistor) was highly pragmatic in industry. Also, His preference in teamwork and breaking problems down is also a reason why I like him.
  6. Sep 15, 2006 #5


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    http://qonos.princeton.edu/nbond/smdef6.jpg [Broken]

    You guessed it, Frank Stallone.

    It's the hair.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Sep 15, 2006 #6

    Chi Meson

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    Are we allowed to like Tesla and still be taken seriously? I tend to think of him as an engineer, but he was more af a physicist than Michaelson.

    The Teslamaniacs have kind of marred the perception of the man.
  8. Sep 15, 2006 #7
    Myself, because why not? :rofl:
  9. Sep 15, 2006 #8
    Feynman, for philosophical reasons.
  10. Sep 15, 2006 #9
    i like tesla for his comment on edison which went something like "edison would have saved himself 90% of his work by studying up a bit". i think of him more as an engineer though rather than a physicist.

    my favourite physicist would have to be.... fourier? for inventing the greenhouse effect among other things. :tongue2: i can't really decide who my favourite true physicist would be... heisenberg, schroedinger, einstein.... :uhh: i have no idea.
  11. Sep 15, 2006 #10


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    Penrose for his depth of knowledge and still child like curiosity and enthusiasm and Einstein for his insight into nature beyond where other people could see.
  12. Sep 15, 2006 #11
    Dr. Emmett Brown.

  13. Sep 15, 2006 #12


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    Um... Gauss.
  14. Sep 15, 2006 #13
    Zeno. When you're that smart, you don't need no stinkin' experiments. You use nothing but pure reason to derive an absolutely flawless proof that motion is impossible.
  15. Sep 15, 2006 #14


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    Demokritos. If the world had listened to him instead of Plato and Aristotle it would be a better place today. His late-blooming disciple Lucretius is also a winner.
  16. Sep 15, 2006 #15


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    Who but sA would use the Greek name?!:approve:
  17. Sep 15, 2006 #16
    But Gauss was a mathematician only.
  18. Sep 15, 2006 #17


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    Are you certain?

    He contributed plenty to Astronomy too. Among other things.

    If you are talking strictly physics, you can't include Calculus. That's mathematics.

    If you include Calculus, then you must include all the mathematics that Gauss formulated that you now use in physics. So, in this case, I would assume Gauss surpassed Newton in his contributions.

    I personally don't like to pick and choose. Gauss was great, but so was Godel. I even consider mathematicians such as Halmos to be great too. Why? He brought good character to mathematics, which I appreciate.
  19. Sep 15, 2006 #18
    Now I have checked, I confused Gauss for Leibniz. Leibniz is the one who invented calculus (independently of Newton). So in that new light, I cannot see how can Gauss be compared to newton. What is of so crucial importance that he has discovered?
    I remember reading something about him trying to measure angles in huge triangle trying to see if the sum of the angles is bigger than 180 degrees, which shows ingeniosity, though.
  20. Sep 16, 2006 #19

    Andrew Mason

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    'Favourite' physicists as opposed to 'greatest' physicists is a nice twist. I am not sure what criteria go into choosing a 'favourite', but the significance of their contributions/discoveries is only one factor. I would factor in their humanity, likeability, their creativity, their efforts to communicate and teach, their humility, and the hurdles they had to overcome to make their achievements.

    Using those criteria, I would include Galileo, Planck, Hawking, Bohr, Rutherford, Feynman, Einstein, Wheeler, Fermi and Gell-Mann.

    I would exclude Aristotle, Newton, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Shockley.

  21. Sep 16, 2006 #20
    :bugeye: :eek: :O
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