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Famous Scientists Of The 20th Century

Updated on October 22, 2011

The only word that simply defines the 20th century is “revolution”. The change brought to the world during the 100 years of this century was so huge, that by the time it ended the whole face of the earth had completely changed.

Everything went through a revolution at an extremely rapid rate. By the time it started, new ideas of science and technology were already being brought into consideration, and as the 20th century proceeded these ideas went through practical applications and were reshaped into modern science and technology.

The discoveries and the inventions made and the theories formulated during this century changed the whole concept of physical, theoretical and applied sciences forever.

The 20th Century Scientific Revolution

Progression of science and technology would have been impossible without the effort put in by the genius figures known as the scientists. The contribution of these scientists to the world of knowledge is commendable.

Throughout the ages discoveries and inventions made by scientist all over the world changed the lives of people not only of their time, but the people of the generations to come too. During the 20th century, as stated before, the world was going through a revolution in general.

Scientists all over the world were busy finding much better and new ways to develop the field of science. Out of the list of many of such great scientists of the 20th century, following are the name of some scientists whose contribution to the world of science is unprecedented.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, is not only a great scientific figure of the 20th century but is one of the biggest theorists and intellectuals of all time. Einstein was born on the 14th of March 1879 in the state Ulm of the German empire, but within a year of his birth his family moved to Munich. As a child he had problems in speech and learning but as he grew he proved to be a mastermind at mathematics and physics.

He was a theoretical scientist and his work consists of theories and ideas rather then practical work. He is well known for his theory of relativity and for explaining the perihelion advance of Mercury.

His work further includes: Explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules, the photon theory , wave-particle duality theory, the quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, the zero-point energy concept, the semi classical version of the Schrödinger equation, and the famous photoelectric law. He also won a Nobel Prize in 1921 for photoelectric effect law.

Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford is also called the father of nuclear physics and chemistry. He was born in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1871.

In the early 20th century he gained the world’s attention by the giving the concept of radioactive half life, proving that radioactivity involved the transmutation of one chemical element to another; he also differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation. In 1908 he won a Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery he made.

In 1911 he gave his famous model of atomic structure. He proposed that that an atom is composed of a central nucleus around which positive and negative particles.

The Rutherford atomic model gave basis for the further research on the atomic structure.

Group photo of some of the top scientists of the 20th century.
Group photo of some of the top scientists of the 20th century.

Neil Bohr

Neil Bohr Was born in Denmark in 1885 and considered to be one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century.

His gave birth to the quantum mechanics with his famous quantum theory. Quantum theory was a great contribution to the world of physics.  It explained the movement of electrons in the orbital around the nucleus.

In 1922 he won a Nobel Prize in physics for the quantum theory.

Pierre and Marie Curie
Pierre and Marie Curie

Marie Curie

Marie curie was a Polish woman physicist and chemist. She is the only scientist ever to win two Nobel prizes, one in 1903 and one in 1911 in physics and chemistry respectively. 

Her work includes: the creation of radioactivity theory, inventing techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium.

J.J Thompson
J.J Thompson
Statue of Isaac Newton
Statue of Isaac Newton

J.J Thomson

Sir J.J Thomson was born in Manchester on 18th October 1856. He was a great physicist. In 1906 he was given the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of electron.

He is also famous for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases. His famous cathode ray experiment had lead to the discovery of electron, the negatively charged particle revolving around the nucleus.


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    • profile image

      josh collins 

      7 years ago

      cool info its useful for mwa projet.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      so good thnx

    • profile image

      liizzzo 2248 

      7 years ago

      koool thanks because i have to use this for a project

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      it is good information to the technical students

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      cool and amazing-_-

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago


      thanx a lot

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      its interresting

    • Hugh Williamson profile image

      Hugh Williamson 

      9 years ago from Northeast USA

      Good information and informative. Thanks for writing this.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this usefull information wid us .. really gud job husaam !!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I really appreaicate your approach in this field. I must say that these information are elligent and pretty inclusive at the same time. I hope more important information about the various other scientific deeds would also be put forward....

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Pakistan

      Well they sure are great names, but this hub was intended for the famous names of 20th century! I am definitely planning to write about more famous scientists belonging to the 18th and 19th century.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Interesting hub, hassam. I think you have left out quite a few who should have qualified, though. Such as Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley, Joseph Banks, John Hunter, Christopher Wren, Edward Jenner, Henry Cavendish, Joseph Priestley, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, Kingdom Brunel, William Thomson, James Maxwell, Watson Watt, Alan Turing, Frank Whittle, Alexander Fleming, Paul Dirac, James Watson, Francis Crick, Fred Hoyle and Bill Hamilton. Perhaps another hub?

    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for adding that info! This photo certainly portrays one of the best minds of the 20th century, together at one place.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      9 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Liked it and thanks for sharing. I have seen the group photo that you have attached above. I saw that in a documentary, it said all eminent physicist, mathematician and scientist around the world had gathered (I do not remember the place where) to debate and discuss on the validity of uncertainty principle proposed by Heisenberg. Einstein did not believe in this principle but was not able to defend his ground. This photo was taken after that event!!


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