APS News

Poll Reveals All-Star Physicists

cartoonAccording to a poll of scientists conducted by Physics World magazine (December 1999),the top ten physicists in history are as follows:
  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. James Clerk Maxwell
  4. Niels Bohr
  5. Werner Heisenberg
  6. Galileo Galilei
  7. Richard Feynman
  8. Paul Dirac
  9. Erwin Schrodinger
  10. Ernest Rutherford

Other highlights of Physics World's millennium canvas: the most important physics discoveries are Einstein's relativity theories, Newton's mechanics, and quantum mechanics. Most physicists polled (70%) said that if they had to do it all over again, they would choose to study physics once more. Most do not believe that progress in constructing unified field theories spells the end of physics. Ten great unsolved problems in physics: quantum gravity, understanding the nucleus, fusion energy, climate change, turbulence, glassy materials, high-temperature superconductivity, solar magnetism, complexity, and consciousness. Physics World is published by the Institute of Physics, the British professional organization of physicists celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

-Philip F. Schewe, AIP Public Information

Disagree with any of the above? Let us know! Because we love a good debate, APS News invites its readers to submit their own thoughts on the top ten physicists and/or physics discoveries of all time. Lists should be submitted to Editor, APS News, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD, 20740, letters@aps.org. Be sure to include concise reasons for your selections.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette