scientist, physics, research, theory of relativity - Albert Einstein
He was an essential pioneer for Islamic science,and for the many Arab and Persian mathematicians who followed;and hence also for Europe's eventual Renaissance which was heavily dependenton Islamic teachings.
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Thales' student and successor was Anaximander, who is often calledthe "First Scientist" instead of Thales: his theories were morefirmly based on experimentation and logic, while Thales stillrelied on some animistic interpretations.
(Before his Miracle Year, Einstein had been a mediocreundergraduate, and held minor jobs including patentexaminer.)Altogether Einstein published at least 300 books or papers on physics.
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Poincaré also found time to becomea famous popular writer of philosophy, writing,"Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things;"and "A [worthy] mathematician experiences in his workthe same impression as an artist; hispleasure is as great and of the same nature;"and "If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing,and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living."With his fame, Poincaré helped the world recognize the importance of thenew physical theories of Einstein and Planck.
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Hilbert was warmly regarded by his colleagues and students,and contributed to the careers of several great mathematiciansand physicists including Georg Cantor, Hermann Minkowski, Hermann Weyl,John von Neumann,Emmy Noether, Alonzo Church,and Albert Einstein.
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While Einstein, Newton, and Galileo may be the Top Three,Maxwell is a strong candidate for "fourth greatest scientist ever."Recalling Newton's comment about "standing on the shoulders" ofearlier greats, Einstein was asked whose shoulders stood on; he didn't name Newton: he said "Maxwell."Maxwell has been called the "Father of Modern Physics"; he ranks #24 onHart's list of the Most Influential Persons in History.
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(Muhammed the Prophet of Allah is #1.)Whatever the criteria, Newton would certainly rank firstor second on any list of physicists, or scientists in general,but some listmakers would demote him slightly on a list ofpure mathematicians:his emphasis was physics not mathematics,and the contribution of Leibniz(Newton's rival for the title )lessens the historical importance of Newton's calculus.
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Although this list is concerned only with mathematics,Newton's greatness is indicated by the huge range of hisphysics: even without his Laws of Motion, Gravitation and Cooling,he'd be famous just for his revolutionary work in optics, wherehe explained diffraction, observedthat white light is a mixture of all the rainbow's colors,noted that purple is created by combining red andblue light and, starting from that observation, was first to conceive of a color hue "wheel."Newton almost anticipated Einstein's mass-energy equivalence,writing "Gross Bodies and Light are convertible into one another...