Scientists & Inventors
The 10 Most Influential Scientists of the 20th Century
Scientists look at the world and ask, "Why?" Albert Einstein came up with most of his theories just by thinking. Other scientists, like Marie Curie, used a lab. Sigmund Freud listened to people talk. No matter what tools these scientists used, they each discovered something new about the world we live in and about ourselves in the process.
Awarded two Nobel Prizes, Marie Curie is perhaps the most universally known female scientist in history. Curie was a pioneer researcher of radioactivity, discovering both polonium and radium.
Enrico Fermi made important discoveries about the atom which led to the splitting of the atom (atomic bombs) and the harnessing of its heat into an energy source (nuclear energy).
J. Robert Oppenheimer
J. Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Manhattan Project, the U.S.'s attempt during World War II to create an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer's struggle after the war with the morality of building such a massively destructive weapon epitomized the moral dilemma that faced scientists who worked to create the atomic and hydrogen bombs.
There are not many inventors who were as massively successful as Nikola Tesla. Tesla not only created hydroelectric power, which we still use today, he had inventions as varied as lasers, x-rays, and speedometers, just to name a few. With over 700 patents, Tesla remains one of the most important inventors of the 20th century.
Marie Curie made huge advances in science with her discoveries of two new elements: polonium and radium. Marie Curie also became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the first person ever to win it twice. Learn more about this amazing woman in this short biography of Marie Curie.