The 100 Most Influential Scientists

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Explore more Answers. Rate this:. Who are the most important men and women whose notions and theories have changed the world? ISBN: X. The book lists members scientists without regard to which particular denomination they belonged to, whether Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker, Latter-day Saint, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, or otherwise. Secular thought often portrays religion as the enemy of science, but the truth is that many of the world's greatest scientific discoveries were made by persons of faith, seeking to honor God and His creation.


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Scientists of Faith relates the personal stories of forty-eight scientists and provides a brief overview of each person's contribution in their own particular field. As the author writes, "Christians and the Christian worldview were crucial to the formation of the early sciences.

If science, technology, and medical advances, properly used, are examples of God's grace to us, then those who brought them into being should be credited for them. He also serves on a number of editorial boards. Web resource: Pierre Chambon's Home Page. Simon Conway Morris. He is renowned for his work on the Burgess Shale fossils. The Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the world's most productive fossil fields, famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils.

At million years old, it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints. As a paleobiologist, Conway Morris is known for being a devout Christian, one who tries to show that the evidence from paleobiology and evolution supports the existence of God. He is an increasingly active participant in discussions relating to science and religion. In recent years, Conway Morris has been studying evolutionary convergencethe phenomenon whereby unrelated groups of animals and plants develop similar adaptationsthe main thesis of which is put forward in his popular Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe.

Mildred S. During that time she switched from research on superconductivity to magneto-optics, and carried out a series of experiments which led to a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure of semi-metals, especially graphite. A leader in promoting opportunities for women in science and engineering, Dresselhaus received a Carnegie Foundation grant in to encourage women's study of traditionally male-dominated fields, such as physics.

She was also appointed to the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Chair, an Institute-wide chair, endowed to support the scholarship of women in science and engineering. Some of her awards include the Karl T. Petersburg, Russia, in In , Dresselhaus was awarded the prestigious Kavli Institute's prize in nanoscience. In , she received the National Medal of Science in recognition of her work on electronic properties of materials.

Web resource: Mildred S. Dresselhaus passed away February 20, Gerald M. Edelman is a biologist, immunologist, and neuroscientist. He is the founder and director of the Neurosciences Institute, a non-profit research center that studies the biological bases of higher brain function in humans, and he is on the scientific board of the World Knowledge Dialogue project.

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Their research uncovered the structure of antibody molecules as well as the deep connection between how the components of the immune system evolve over the life of the individual and how the neural circuitry of the brain evolves over that same life. By this they laid a firm foundation for truly rational research, something that was previously lacking in immunology.

Their discoveries represent clearly a break-through that immediately incited a fervent research activity the whole world over, in all fields of immunological science, yielding results of practical value for clinical diagnostics and therapy.

Edelman is noted for his theory of consciousness, which he has documented in several technical books, as well as books written for a general audience, including Bright Air, Brilliant Fire , A Universe of Consciousness with Giulio Tononi , Wider than the Sky , and Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge. Ronald M. He is best known for his work in the physiology and the molecular genetics of muscle performance, metabolic disease, inflammation, and cancer, and for using this information to devise small-molecule therapy.

In , he shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with Pierre Chambon 8 on our list and Elwood Jensen for the discovery of the superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors, and for the elucidation of the unifying mechanism that regulates embryonic development and diverse metabolic pathways. Other research of Evans focuses on a new hormone that appears to be the molecular trigger controlling the formation of fat cells. Identifying this trigger represents one of the newest and most important advances in understanding problems arising from obesity and the potential treatment of adult onset Type II diabetes.

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Web resource: Ronald M. Evans's Home Page. Anthony S. He is widely recognized for delineating the precise mechanisms by which immunosuppressive agents modulate the human immune response. Fauci on the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa and Wegener's granulomatosis as one of the most important advances in patient management in rheumatology over the previous 20 years.

Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses, leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections, and he continues to devote much of his research time to identifying the nature of the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body's immune responses to the HIV retrovirus.

He is a member of the U. Fauci has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 1, scientific publications as well as several textbooks. Web resource: Anthony S. Fauci's Home Page. Andrew Z. Fire is a scientist and professor of pathology and genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to his current position, he was on the faculty in the department of biology at Johns Hopkins University. Mello 29 on our list conducted their Nobel Prize winning research, which resulted in the discovery of RNA interference RNAi , a mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information.

100 Scientists Who Shaped World History

Nick Hastie, director of the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit, commented on the scope and implications of Fire's research by stating: "It is very unusual for a piece of work to completely revolutionize the whole way we think about biological processes and regulation, but this has opened up a whole new field in biology. His recent research focuses on the molecular understanding of the RNAi machinery and its roles in the cell, as well as on the identification of other triggers and mechanisms used in the recognition of, and response to, chemical information coming from outside the cell.

Web resource: Andrew Z. Fire's Home Page. Jean M. He also serves as the associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He has noted that most of his projects involve three stages: 1 design; 2 synthesis; and 3 characterization, where the function of the structure and properties are tested.

Web resource: Jean M. Margaret J. She received her PhD in physics from Princeton University and was an assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard University. She made pioneering maps of the large-scale structures of the universe, which led to the discovery of the filamentous galactic superstructure popularly known as the "Great Wall"the largest known superstructure in the universe. Geller has also developed innovative techniques for investigating the internal structure and total mass of clusters of galaxies and the relationship of clusters to the large-scale structure.

In addition, she is a co-discoverer of hypervelocity stars, stars ejected at high velocity from the Galactic center. These stars can travel across the Milky Way and may be an important tracer of the matter distribution in the Galaxy. Geller's current main research interests include a project she leads called the "Smithsonian Hectospec Lensing Survey" SHELS , which uses the phenomenon of gravitational lensing to map the distribution of the mysterious, ubiquitous dark matter in the universe.

She is also investigating the implications of the discovery of hypervelocity stars, as well as heading up a project called "HectoMAP," which uses large databases of information to map clusters of galaxies, and which in turn aids us in understanding how these systems develop over the history of the universe. Geller has made films about science. Her eight-minute video, "Where the Galaxies Are," produced in , was the first graphic voyage through the universe based on observation. The video was displayed at several major science museums, and graphics from it were widely broadcast. Later, a minute film was produced that contains prize-winning graphics, which are on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

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Web resource: Margaret J. Geller's Home Page. Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall is a primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist. She has studied the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees for over 40 years, and is thus considered the foremost expert on chimpanzees. She studied at Darwin College in Cambridge and holds several honorary doctorates from universities such as Syracuse University, Rutgers University, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Toronto, among others.

Goodall has conducted most of her research, starting in with no scientific training, at Gombe Stream National Park, which is located in the western Kigoma region of Tanzania, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Goodall advocates for chimpanzee welfare, the conservation of biodiversity, and general stewardship of the Earth. The research conducted by Goodall at Gombe Stream not only is scientifically important but also benefits the park itself.

Today, Goodall devotes virtually all of her time to advocacy on behalf of chimpanzees and the environment, traveling nearly days a year. It is the world's largest chimpanzee sanctuary outside of Africa. Web resource: The Jane Goodall Institute. Alan Guth. Alan Guth is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who currently serves as the Victor Weisskopf Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Guth is the originator of the inflationary cosmology, a theory of the universe that answers the conundrum posed by the Big Bang of why the universe appears flat, homogeneous, and isotropic, when one would expect on the basis of the physics of the Big Bang a highly curved, heterogeneous, and anisotropic universe.

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His theory, if correct, would explain the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. Guth's first step to developing his theory of inflation occurred at Cornell in , when he attended a lecture by Robert Dicke about the flatness problem of the universe.

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