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Science Forum

  1. 17 Nov '11 18:02
    Long version: I got into a friendly argument with a fellow student the other day about who the most influential scientist of all time was. My thought was Isaac Newton. He said Michael Faraday. We debated this for around an hour, went off on many tangents, and learned a few things I think. This process was interesting enough that I would like to continue it and bring more people in. So, who do you think the most influential scientist of all time is, considering only his/her contribution to science, and not necessarily society at large?

    Short version:Who do you think the most influential scientist of all time is, considering only his/her contribution to science, and not necessarily society at large?
  2. 17 Nov '11 18:12
    Originally posted by amolv06
    [b]Long version: I got into a friendly argument with a fellow student the other day about who the most influential scientist of all time was. My thought was Isaac Newton. He said Michael Faraday. We debated this for around an hour, went off on many tangents, and learned a few things I think. This process was interesting enough that I would like to co ...[text shortened]... time is, considering only his/her contribution to science, and not necessarily society at large?[/b]
    I agree with you. It is Newton.
    He was a brilliant genius, probably more brilliant than Einstein but impossible to prove.
  3. 17 Nov '11 18:15
    I would say Newton. He laid the foundation of modern physics, basically.
  4. Subscriber joe shmo
    Strange Egg
    17 Nov '11 22:10
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I would say Newton. He laid the foundation of modern physics, basically.
    But could Newton have done what he did without his scientific predecessors, I doubt it...So it could be argued that the most brilliant scientist was the first scientist..whoever that was.
  5. 17 Nov '11 23:00
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    But could Newton have done what he did without his scientific predecessors, I doubt it...So it could be argued that the most brilliant scientist was the first scientist..whoever that was.
    Early Microbiologists

    http://www.newspaperarchive.com/SiteMap/FreePdfPreview.aspx?img=108301401

    Expand the page, it's at the bottom.
  6. 18 Nov '11 00:14
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    But could Newton have done what he did without his scientific predecessors, I doubt it...So it could be argued that the most brilliant scientist was the first scientist..whoever that was.
    Before Newton was Galileo, but you could do that endlessly. Everybody builds on other peoples work at some point. You could go back to ancient Greece. I guess you could say they are all influential, but you have to pick one.
  7. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    18 Nov '11 00:47
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Before Newton was Galileo, but you could do that endlessly. Everybody builds on other peoples work at some point. You could go back to ancient Greece. I guess you could say they are all influential, but you have to pick one.
    I think the first and possibly most important for the legacy he left was in ancient Egypt:

    Imhotep, designer of the first pyramids, first physician, he postulated treatments and wrote down the results, starting the whole medical science thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imhotep
  8. Subscriber joe shmo
    Strange Egg
    18 Nov '11 00:49
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Before Newton was Galileo, but you could do that endlessly. Everybody builds on other peoples work at some point. You could go back to ancient Greece. I guess you could say they are all influential, but you have to pick one.
    I would argue that unless the "compared" are of the same time, the comparison is meaningless.
  9. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    18 Nov '11 00:58
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    I would argue that unless the "compared" are of the same time, the comparison is meaningless.
    Except when there is a real first person to do something, like my Imhotep.
  10. 18 Nov '11 09:56
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Except when there is a real first person to do something, like my Imhotep.
    Except he is only the first person on record to do a given thing. But who is to say he was the first, and who is to say what he did was more important than what others did?
    And doing something first, doesn't always make you more influential. Sometimes it is independently discovered elsewhere at a later date, but the influence is wider.
  11. 18 Nov '11 14:51
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    But could Newton have done what he did without his scientific predecessors, I doubt it...So it could be argued that the most brilliant scientist was the first scientist..whoever that was.
    But Newton made some really big steps. Of course he couldn't have made his discoveries without the invention of fire, agriculture or the wheel, but is it really relevant to regress so far back?
  12. 18 Nov '11 17:55
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    But Newton made some really big steps. Of course he couldn't have made his discoveries without the invention of fire, agriculture or the wheel, but is it really relevant to regress so far back?
    Sure it's relevant. Without the wheel, kiss it all goodbye.
  13. Subscriber joe shmo
    Strange Egg
    18 Nov '11 23:15
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    But Newton made some really big steps. Of course he couldn't have made his discoveries without the invention of fire, agriculture or the wheel, but is it really relevant to regress so far back?
    I feel its relevant, you don't have to...

    I would argue that the leap someone made to make the first written language is comparable to Newton inventing his language (calculus)...but who is credited with that? We don't know? Hstorical recording using language probably wasn't the prime objective for its invention, it was something we slowly found we could use the invented language for. Who was more influential Newton or that other guy? I feel because of the time difference meaningful comparison is not important, other than noting the fact that they both invented a language.
  14. 21 Nov '11 12:22
    Originally posted by joe shmo
    I would argue that the leap someone made to make the first written language is comparable to Newton inventing his language (calculus)...but who is credited with that? We don't know?
    The thing is, as far as we know, no single person made that leap. It was gradually evolved from iconic pictures, which were evolved from cave paintings, which were evolved from smudges of coloured earth. All this went gradually, in many places, over the course of centuries and millennia.
    Newton, OTOH, did make some giant advances all by himself. Standing on the shoulders of giants, yes - but he himself looked further ahead than any of the giants before him did. And after him, except for Einstein - but Einstein has, I believe, not yet had quite the influence on society that Newton had. Of course, Newton has the temporal advantage by a few centuries.

    Richard
  15. Subscriber joe shmo
    Strange Egg
    23 Nov '11 00:30
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    The thing is, as far as we know, no single person made that leap. It was gradually evolved from iconic pictures, which were evolved from cave paintings, which were evolved from smudges of coloured earth. All this went gradually, in many places, over the course of centuries and millennia.
    Newton, OTOH, did make some giant advances all by himself. Standi ...[text shortened]... ety that Newton had. Of course, Newton has the temporal advantage by a few centuries.

    Richard
    but all science now will be but a "smuge of color on the earth" when compared with the science of the future ( pending progression )