If Famous Physicists Had Logos

Visualised by Dr Prateek Lala and the Perimeter Institute.

1. Galileo Galilei.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the first person to turn a telescope on the moon, the planets, and the stars, discovering four of Jupiter’s moons.

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2. Isaac Newton.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is one of the most famous scientists who ever lived. He invented calculus (see Leibniz), formulated the laws of motion, and proposed the new idea of universal gravitation.

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3. Gottfried Leibniz

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) invented calculus independently of Isaac Newton, though Newton and is more widely credited as the field’s founder. It’s Leibniz’s notation we use today, though.

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4. Johannes Kepler.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a mathematician and astronomer, best known for discovering three rules that describe the orbits of planets. His second law states that a line joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time.

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5. Joseph Fourier.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) was a pioneer in theories of heat and vibration. The technique he invented for this work – representing complex waves by adding together simpler waves – is now used everywhere in science and engineering.

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6. Thomas Young.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Thomas Young (1773-1829) pioneered the “double-slit” experiment that showed the dual wave-particle nature of light by shining a light through two narrow slits, producing a interference pattern.

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7. Michael Faraday.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) proposed the idea of electromagnetic fields extending through space – at the time a radical notion – after conducting research into the relationships between electricity and magnetism.

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8. Nikola Tesla.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a physicist, electrical engineer, and inventor who designed the modern AC electrical supply system as well as a method to send electricity wirelessly through the air through the use of Tesla coils that produced giant lightning bolts.

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9. Max Planck.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Max Planck (1858-1947) showed that light could only come in packets of certain sizes. It was the first step on the road to quantum mechanics.

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10. William Henry and William Lawrence Bragg.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) and William Lawrence Bragg (1890-1971) were the father-son team behind Bragg’s law, which describes how X-rays diffract inside crystals.

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11. Marie Curie.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Marie Skłodowska-Curie (1867-1934) developed the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), learned to isolate radioactive isotopes, and discovered two new elements, radium and polonium.

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12. Niels Bohr.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Niels Bohr (1885-1962) laid the groundwork for developing subatomic physics and quantum mechanics. His Bohr model of the atom was the first to place a large atomic nucleus at the centre and the small electrons around it.

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13. Ernest Rutherford.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) theorized that atoms have their charge concentrated in a very small nucleus. By bombarding atoms with high energy particles and mapping how they bounced back, or didn’t, he discovered (and named) the proton.

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14. Albert Einstein.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) came up with relativity, one of the pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).

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15. Erwin Schrödinger.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) famously proposed a thought experiment, now known as Schrödinger’s Cat, to point out the apparent paradox of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics: if a particle can really be in two states at once, what of a cat whose fate depends on the particle’s state?

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16. James Clerk Maxwell.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) formulated the equations that describe electricity, magnetism, and optics as manifestations of the same phenomenon – the electromagnetic field. He’s also the namesake of Maxwell’s demon, a thought experiment in which a hypothetical demon violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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17. Louis de Broglie.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Louis de Broglie (1892-1987) suggested that all matter also has wave-like properties. This concept is known as wave-particle duality, or the de Broglie hypothesis, and became central to quantum mechanics.

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18. Richard Feynman.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) made ground-breaking contributions to many branches of physics. He’s lives on in Feynman diagrams, a visual system for figuring out what happens when particles interact. Feynman painted them on his van.

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19. Rosalind Franklin.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) was a biophysicist who used X-ray diffraction data to determine the structures of complex minerals and living tissues, including – famously – DNA.

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20. Peter Higgs.

Dr. Prateek Lala / Perimeter Institute

Peter Higgs (born 1929) was one of several physicists to propose that elementary particles acquire mass by interacting with a new kind of field, now known as the Higgs field. In 2012 the Cern particle physics lab announced they had discovered a Higgs boson, confirming the existence of Higgs’ field.

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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