Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_supernovae_remnants.thumb.jpg.0a6deb4bf0886533629e2bdc08293bc9.jpg

bomberbaz

Greatest Scientist contributing to Astronomy and Cosmology.

Greatest Scientist contributing to Astronomy and Cosmology.  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Greatest

    • Albert Einstien
      6
    • Isaac Newton
      3
    • Stephen Hawking
      2
    • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
      1
    • Edwin Hubble
      1
    • Someone else, please state.
      5


Recommended Posts

I was thinking about this earlier. The number of amazing minds and great scientists the world has had is amazing, there are without doubt thousands. However there are in my mind a few that really pushed the boundaries. So If you could have dinner with two great cosmologists, astronomers, physicists et al, who would you choose and why?

As a wild card you can add a non scientist but they must add entertainment value.

The winner gets a stock 10mm Skywatcher eyepiece 👍

Edited by bomberbaz
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go with stephen hawking, albert einstien and winston churchill. Both winston and stephen were well known for having a pretty wicked sense of humour although I know less about alberts personality. I think he was a quiet guy except when engaged in conversation about things that interested him that changed. 

I also know winston was passionate about science and technology, obviously stephen and albert were the greatest minds in thier respective times. How much would they have to discuss, relativity, black holes, even imagine being able to tell albert his theory on gravitational waves has been proved by LIGO.

Your going to have winston interjecting and asking so many questions about science and a little banter going on between him and stephen.

So together we would dine and  I think I would sit at the table and probably not need to say very much all evening and just soak it all up. 

What a evening that would be.

You can tell I have thought about this a little eh 😅👍😅

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the great thing about science is that it's cumulative, so one person's contribution is built in response to a predecessor's contribution. Einstein built on Maxwell. In part Relativity arose from his conviction that Maxwell's equations were too beautiful to be wrong. But both Maxwell and Einstein needed the notion of a field, which they drew from the humble Michael Faraday. And so on. 

However, I don't believe that the greatest single scientific theory comes from physics or astronomy. It comes from biology: Darwin's evolution by natural selection. Although it's been edited and refined the essential bulk of the theory really is Darwin's. I think it's the most robust theory in science and will remain so. And I think it has had by far the greatest cultural and philosophical impact because it tells us the single most important thing about ourselves, an insight which triggers other insights branching off in all directions.

So I'm going to conclude that science itself is the hero of the story. The gradual and unseen evolution of scientific method has created humanity's greatest intellectual achievement. It's beauty lies in the fact that it has many authors.

Olly

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the greatest contribution is yet to come.  I humbly suggest those who  grab the interest of the future generations as the future generations will make important advances yet to be made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

However, I don't believe that the greatest single scientific theory comes from physics or astronomy. It comes from biology: Darwin's evolution by natural selection. Although it's been edited and refined the essential bulk of the theory really is Darwin's. I think it's the most robust theory in science and will remain so. And I think it has had by far the greatest cultural and philosophical impact because it tells us the single most important thing about ourselves, an insight which triggers other insights branching off in all directions.

That's quite an anthropomorphic viewpoint; it's difficult to see how theories grappling with the unexplained origin of the Universe 14 billion years ago could be less profound than the supposed events on a random planet 10 billion years later.

A  survey like this was carried out at the end of the 20th century by professional scientists; Newton finished 1st and Einstein 2nd. Perhaps the deciding factor was Newton having less raw material to work with in the 17th century, whereas Einstein had a greater number of shoulders to stand on. (Hawking finished 54th by the way; we need to distinguish between having a high public profile granted by the media, as opposed to actual accomplishment which might go unnoticed in popular circles.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dinner guest line up - Carl Friedrich Gauss, James Clerk Maxwell and anyone able to translate German to English, Scottish to English and difficult sums for numpties.😀

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Georges Lemaitre - author of the Big Bang Theory

Jim 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, saac said:

Georges Lemaitre - author of the Big Bang Theory

Jim 

 

 

 

 

Along those lines I would put H.G.Wells at the top of the tree for inspiration alone.

Alan

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, goodricke1 said:

That's quite an anthropomorphic viewpoint; it's difficult to see how theories grappling with the unexplained origin of the Universe 14 billion years ago could be less profound than the supposed events on a random planet 10 billion years later.

A  survey like this was carried out at the end of the 20th century by professional scientists; Newton finished 1st and Einstein 2nd. Perhaps the deciding factor was Newton having less raw material to work with in the 17th century, whereas Einstein had a greater number of shoulders to stand on. (Hawking finished 54th by the way; we need to distinguish between having a high public profile granted by the media, as opposed to actual accomplishment which might go unnoticed in popular circles.)

Guilty as charged , we are human after all and what constitutes "the greatest contribution"  is a human concern, so guilty as charged. I don't see anything wrong an anthropomorphic view in this respect, I'd go further and say it is built into the question.

Jim 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My someone else is Carl Sagan.     Might surprises many as a choice, but his Cosmos series alone really made a strong impression on people in general, and probably influenced many to take up Astronomy as a hobby. Not to mention the strong influence he had on the thousands of students he taught.

(I hate describing astronomy as a hobby, it's more a way of life)

So 1st Albert. 2nd Carl.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, goodricke1 said:

That's quite an anthropomorphic viewpoint; it's difficult to see how theories grappling with the unexplained origin of the Universe 14 billion years ago could be less profound than the supposed events on a random planet 10 billion years later.

A  survey like this was carried out at the end of the 20th century by professional scientists; Newton finished 1st and Einstein 2nd. Perhaps the deciding factor was Newton having less raw material to work with in the 17th century, whereas Einstein had a greater number of shoulders to stand on. (Hawking finished 54th by the way; we need to distinguish between having a high public profile granted by the media, as opposed to actual accomplishment which might go unnoticed in popular circles.)

Of course its anthropomorphic. How can something have 'cultural impact' without being so? I didn't suggest that cosmological theories were 'less profound,' I suggested they they have less 'cultural and philosophical impact,' than evolution by natural selection and I believe this to be so. Darwin's spin-off takes us into both politics and religion so we'll stop there.

You're perfectly free to feel that a scientific theory doesn't have to be judged on its cultural impact and I might well agree with you, but my response to the OP involved offering one definintion of 'greatest' and testing the theories I know of against that one. 

Olly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we should have a new thread where we can nominate a contender with a short explanation of why we think they deserve the title. After a week say the proposals could be put to a vote.

Regards Andrew 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, andrew s said:

Maybe we should have a new thread where we can nominate a contender with a short explanation of why we think they deserve the title. After a week say the proposals could be put to a vote.

Regards Andrew 

Given the general agreement over the 'greats' I think a thread on 'under-rated or unsung' scientists would be interesting.

In the twentieth century you'll find more mention of Shapley and Hubble than you will of Walter Baader, for instance, but should this be the case? And such a thread might lead to interesting 'further reading.'  I'm mortified to say that your  Emmy Noether was new to me.

(It's rather a shame she didn't work with Michelson and Morely...)*

Olly

*I know, inexcusably bad...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And what can we say about those die hard fellows, who sat at the eyepiece
of their Transit telescopes mapping the stars night after freezing night.
The title hero seems a mite inadequate to describe these guys..
There must be hundreds of the  unsung over the years who contributed  to the whole package  laid at our feet, hands, Eyes today.
Not all received  accolades, although perhaps deserved to.
Perhaps a grateful thanks a lot Gentlemen, and Ladies, could suffice to honour them all.
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.