The 10 contemporary scientists that changed today’s world
Some of the most influential scientist from the last decades
Living in the 21st century gives us the privilege to avail ourselves of all the scientific and technical advantages achieved in the past. Nowadays, we have almost effortless access to unlimited opportunities. We travel faster than ever, we could enter into the endless flow of information and search the world wide web just by clicking few buttons on our laptop or even more, on the screen of the mobile computer in our pocket. Every new theory and all the technical advancements expand our perception of the world and grant us new prospects. Thanks to these unnumerable thinkers, scholars, and practitioners. To people from all kinds of spheres and disciplines who devoted their lives to the ideas of knowledge and progress. We are now capable to enjoy our lives better, and moreover, to explore the universe in ever-growing detail and depth. Our human world was slowly shaped throughout thousands of years but, now and then, there was a single person whose activities pushed the evolution of civilization with the speed of light.
Unfortunately, we cannot mention all that deserve it but here is a shortlist of the most influential scientist in the last decades:
1. Stephen Hawking
Arguably the world's most famous scientist today, Stephen Hawking is known for his landmark contributions to our understanding of the big bang, black holes, and relativity. He is also renowned for his work as a science popularizer, writing the best-selling book "A Brief History of Time".
The British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Hawking is acclaimed for his ideas on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, dubbed "Hawking radiation."
Hawking's remarkable accomplishments are also an inspiration for people living with disabilities as he has suffered paralyzing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) from early in his life.
2. Ashoke Sen
An Indian theoretical physicist, Ashoke Sen won numerous international awards for his work including the Fundamental Prize in Physics in 2012. He has made significant contributions in string theory, with field-changing research.
Photo credit: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize.
Here you can expand your knowledge on string theory:
3. Timothy Berners-Lee
It would be hard to argue against the guy who invented a little something called "the world wide web" being on this list. Timothy Berners-Lee is a British computer scientist, knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work.
He is especially famous for his proposal to share information by using the technology of hypertext, the cornerstone of the world wide web. Berners-Lee also made the world's first website in 1991.
4. Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is a British primatologist, known as the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. She has studied social and family interactions with wild chimps for over 55 years. Her revolutionary work showed that chimpanzees, and not only humans, can learn to make and use tools.
She also made pioneering observations on the violent nature of chimpanzees, finding some to hunt and eat smaller monkeys.
Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, Goodall is a tireless advocate for conservation, biodiversity and other environmental causes.
5. Alan Guth
An American theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Guth developed the theory of cosmic inflation. Winner of the Fundamental Physics Prize and the Kavli Prize, Guth came up with groundbreaking ideas in inflationary theory, discovering why the cosmos is as large as it is.
6. James Watson
James Watson is an American molecular biologist and geneticist, known as the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of the DNA in 1953 - a fact for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize.
You can watch this Ted talk on how James Watson along with his colleague Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA:
7. Noam Chomsky
U.S. linguist and firebrand political activist, Noam Chomsky has influenced the world in many fields. Described as "the father of modern linguistics," Chomsky is also one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. While writing over a 100 books and leading a broad intellectual life, Chomsky is known as an outspoken critic of American foreign policy.
8. Shinya Yamanaka
Yamanaka is a Japanese Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher. He received the prize in 2012 for his co-discovery that existing cells of the body can be converted to stem cells. He also received the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, worth $3 million.
9. Elizabeth Blackburn
An Australian-American molecular biologist, Blackburn won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for her research on anti-aging, in particular on the benefits of lengthening telomeres - a structure capping and protecting chromosomes. Blackburn co-discovered an enzyme called telomerase that replenishes the telomere.
10. Tu Youyou
Tu Youyou became the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize in 2015 for her work in creating an anti-malaria drug that saved millions of lives in Asia and Africa. She relied on traditional Chinese medicine in her discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, which have helped significantly improve the health of people living in tropical climates.