View Poll Results: The smartest man (or woman) of science?

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  • Aristotle

    0 0%
  • Ptolemy

    0 0%
  • Galen

    0 0%
  • Da Vinci

    4 28.57%
  • Galileo

    0 0%
  • Newton

    1 7.14%
  • Pasteur

    0 0%
  • Enstein

    3 21.43%
  • Hawking

    0 0%
  • Other

    6 42.86%
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Thread: Science's greatest mind?

  1. #1
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    Science's greatest mind?

    Who do you thnk was the smartest man of science ever?

  2. #2
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    It is quite impossible to determine who was the smartest since they did their work in diverse fields and in very different times. We can try and rate who had the most impact on modern science. Tesla, Planck, Euler and Gauss (mathematicians are important) would need to be on the list then. And yes, Darwin as well (regardless of how many people disbelieve him in America )

    And while Hawking is a great man, there are far too many who can be on the list ahead of him.
    Last edited by Firestorm; 30 Nov 12, at 08:09.

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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    A subjective endeavor since knowledge is both borrowed and interconnected.

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    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Leibniz, by a country mile. So far ahead of the field the very best are only now beginning to understand what he was on about in his more abstract moments.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

    Leibniz

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Leibniz, by a country mile. So far ahead of the field the very best are only now beginning to understand what he was on about in his more abstract moments.
    That may be so, but his mother's maiden name really sucked...

    I'd have to go with Da Vinci, simply because his field was so diverse, from mechanics to biology to art and everything in between.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Tesla?
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  7. #7
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Tesla?
    ...can't draw...
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  8. #8
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
    It is quite impossible to determine who was the smartest since they did their work in diverse fields and in very different times. We can try and rate who had the most impact on modern science. Tesla, Planck, Euler and Gauss (mathematicians are important) would need to be on the list then. And yes, Darwin as well (regardless of how many people disbelieve him in America )

    And while Hawking is a great man, there are far too many who can be on the list ahead of him.
    Can't comment on the rest, but Darwin wouldn't be in contention. A fine & very important scinetist no doubt, but very much a 'first among equals' for his field & his era. The ideas he developed were an extension of existing thinking that might easily have been achieved by another contemporary. Had he not been around creationists might be demonizing Wallace instead of Darwin.


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    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Have to mention Maxwell, Bohr, Feynman and Fermi

    Yes to Gauss, Tesla, Liebnitz and Einstien

    No to Darwin and Hawking
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
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  10. #10
    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    I have to vote other. There are no Russians in your Poll. For example, the Russian mathematician Alexander Alexandrovich Friedmann solved Einstein's relativistic field equations which unequivocally proved to Einstein that his concept of a static universe was virtually impossible. The three Friedmann space-curvature models (1924) are still used today by physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists.

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    I admire the work of Marie and daughter Irene Curie and thought Richard Feynman outstanding.

  12. #12
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    Honorable mention in my field - Chemistry.

    Dmitri Mendeleyev - Russian - Devised the Periodic table of elements. Predicted that several more elements would be discovered. His understanding of how the elements related to each other was decades ahead of any of his peers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Can't comment on the rest, but Darwin wouldn't be in contention. A fine & very important scinetist no doubt, but very much a 'first among equals' for his field & his era. The ideas he developed were an extension of existing thinking that might easily have been achieved by another contemporary. Had he not been around creationists might be demonizing Wallace instead of Darwin.
    Disagree, at least partially. Wallace certainly got the main idea right, but if you read the Origin of Species it's amazing how much of modern biology Darwin anticipated. He wasn't just about natural selection- his ecological concepts were ground breaking as well. You can feel the framework for biological thinking coming together as he brings in new ideas.

    That said, I would agree that Darwin was a first among equals. But that also applies to most, if not all great scientific geniuses. Newton? Amazing, but he had his shoulders of giants- the basic ideas of mechanics were there, he simply gave them a rigorous basis. Calculus was a great invention, but of course Leibniz matched him there. The fact that he also made huge contributions to optics places him up there as one of the true greats for me- I place high value on polymathism.

    For special relativity, Einstein's main contribution was taking Lorentz's ideas and getting rid of useless stuff like the aether (this is something of a gross exaggeration possibly but Lorentz's work was absolutely essential to the theory). For general relativity...well, that was pretty much Einstein, although his famous field equations were first discovered by Hilbert.

    Agree with the Maxwell shout out by USSWisconsin, very underrated. Maxwell's equations just have an out of the blue feeling for me- everything before feels very Newtonian, everything after you can just sense the rumblings of a scientific upheaval coming...

    Other options: Lavoisier, often considered to be to chemistry what Newton was to physics and Darwin to biology. Henry Cavendish, one of the greatest experimentalists of all time, and also notable for the breadth of his advances. Archimedes is a personal favorite- first and foremost he was a mathematician, but he kept wandering into applied mathematics, and what is an applied mathematician but a scientist? And lastly, in the modern era, two giants: R.A. Fisher, who is known to mathematicians as a great statistician who dabbled in biology, and to biologists as a great geneticist who incidentally invented modern statistics; and also Alan Turing, father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

    My vote goes to a tie between Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Turing, with Lavoisier as an honorable mention (It is possible that if I knew more of the history of chemistry I would find Lavoisier more impressive.)

    Also hi folks. I'm still alive.
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  14. #14
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Welcome back, nice to have you with us again.

    Now, go back to the GW thread
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Welcome back, nice to have you with us again.

    Now, go back to the GW thread
    Oh Lord. Avoiding unfinished business in that hellhole was one the reasons I was avoiding this place...
    Last edited by ArmchairGeneral; 02 Dec 12, at 20:50.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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