Important Figures and Milestones in Physics and the Sciences

Nicolas Copernicus 1473 - 1543 CE -- Formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at the center of the universe.

Tycho Brahe 1546 - 1601 CE -- Astronomer, and writer known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical observations.

Johannes Kepler 1571 - 1630 CE -- Best known for his laws of planetary motion.

Galileo Galilei 1564 - 1642 CE -- The "father" of observational astronomy.

Isaac Newton 1643 - 1727 -- formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation. He is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution.

Charles Darwin 1809 - 1882 -- Author of The Origin of Species 1859.

Max Planck 1858 - 1947 -- Originator of quantum theory.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt 1868 - 1921 -- discovered the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variables. Leavitt's discovery provided astronomers with the first "standard candle" with which to measure the distance to faraway galaxies.

Ernest Rutherford 1871 - 1937 -- discovered the concept of radioactive half-life, the radioactive element radon, and differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation.

Karl Schwarzschild 1873 - 1916 -- Schwarzschild provided the first exact solution to the Einstein field equations of general relativity, for the limited case of a single spherical non-rotating mass, which he accomplished in 1915, the same year that Einstein first introduced general relativity.

Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955 -- Developed the theories of Special (1905) and General relativity (1915). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect." General relativity and Quantum mechanics remain the pillars of modern science.

Emmy Noether 1882 - 1935 -- German mathematician who made many important contributions to abstract algebra. She has also a famous theorem in mathematical physics known as Noether's theorem.

Niels Bohr 1885 - 1962 -- made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

Erwin Schrödinger 1887 - 1961 -- Nobel Prize-winning physicist who developed a number of fundamental results in quantum theory: the Schrödinger equation provides a way to calculate the wave function of a system and how it changes dynamically in time.

Edwin Hubble 1889 - 1953 CE -- Hubble proved that many objects previously thought to be clouds of dust and gas and classified as "nebulae" were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way, and provided evidence that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with its distance from the Earth, a property now known as "Hubble's law".

Georges Lemaître 1894 - 1966 -- He was the first to identify that the recession of nearby galaxies can be explained by a theory of an expanding universe (1927). His theory was observationally confirmed soon afterwards by Edwin Hubble.

Werner Heisenberg 1901–1976 -- known for the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which he published in 1927. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the creation of quantum mechanics".

Paul Dirac 1902 - 1984 -- formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory". He also made significant contributions to the reconciliation of general relativity with quantum mechanics.

Sir Roger Penrose 1931 -   -- mathematical physicist, mathematician, philosopher of science and Nobel Laureate in Physics.

Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018 -- Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. > Black Book > Physics and the Sciences