1) Dorothy Hodgkin
Born in Egypt, Dorothy was a British Biochemist. She was awarded Nobel Prize in chemistry for her work with Vitamin-B12 in the year 1964. It was not only her interest in the field but also great support from her parents which led her to be the great chemist that she became. She had to suffer being a women in later stages, she wasn’t allowed to attend research meetings despite being a faculty member. She even had to climb a rickety spiral staircase every day to get to a window that allowed sufficient light for her microscope.
Dorothy was the first to discover the structure of a complex inorganic element, cholesterol iodide, through X-ray crystallography. Dorothy with other scientists, worked to determine the structure of penicillin during World War II, and they succeeded. In 1948, she started her work in determining the structure of vitamin-B12 where she helped scientists better understand how the vitamin is used in the body to prevent pernicious anemia.
2) Neil deGrasse Tyson
Born in American, Tyson is a renowned astrophysicist today. He earned his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. Neil has a huge contribution in bringing astronomy to the public. He can be credited to the new flow of astronomy enthusiasm among commoners today. He has hosted educational television show NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS. He also hosted the sequel of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” last year.
“Manhattanhenge” is a word popularized by Tyson, describing the bi-annual occurrence where in the evening sun aligns with the street grid in Manhattan. In 2001, George Bush appointed Tyson to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and in 2004 to serve on the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. He was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA. Currently he is the Frederick P.Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and also a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.
3) Andre Konstantin Geim
Born in 1958, Geim is a professor of physics at the Manchester University. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on graphene in 2010. He devised a simple method for isolating single atomic layers of graphite, known as graphene, in collaboration with researchers at the Manchester University. Graphene is a super-conductive form of carbon, made from single-atom-thick sheets. It is the thinnest material in the world, as well as one of the strongest and hardest. He was involved in the research of diamagnetic levitation which led to the discovery of direct diamagnetic levitation of water.
Geim was also involved in the development of biomimetic adhesive which became known as gecko tape. It’s hoped that its further development will allow humans to scale ceilings, like spider-man. Though very knowledgeable, Geim cannot be considered very consistent. He says “Many people choose a subject for their PhD and then continue the same subject until they retire. I despise this approach. I have changed my subject five times before I got my first tenured position and that helped me to learn different subjects.”
4) Paul Dirac
Paul was an English physicist who was involved in the early development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He is said to have laid the foundations for more than one study of physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics along with Erwin Schrodinger for their work in the formulation of one of the earliest version of the atomic theory. He also formulated a famous equation known as the Dirac Equation and has also contributed significantly to the discovery on anti-matter.
He held many positions across many renowned universities around the world. He prominently was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami. Paul also quantized the gravitational field, and developed a general theory of quantum field theories with dynamical constraints, which forms the basis of the gauge theories and superstring theories of today. Immediately after Dirac’s death in 1984, two organizations of professional physicists established annual awards in Dirac’s memory.
5) Chien-Shiung Wu
Wu was a Chinese-American physicist with expertise in radioactivity techniques and experimental physics. She graduated under the supervision of Ernest O.Lawrence who was the world’s leading Physicist and the Nobel Prize for Physics winner in 1939. During World War ll, Wu joined the Manhattan Project where she helped develop the process to enrich uranium ore to produce the fuel for the atomic bomb.
While still teaching in the Columbia University in 1944 she continued her research work, through which, she helped to disprove the law of conservation of parity. This law has been assumed to be a fundamental law of nature until then. Wu further also showed that beta particles were most likely to be emitted in a particular direction, using atoms of cobalt-60.
She received numerous awards for her work. She also became the first women to be elected the president of the American Physical Society and to receive the Cyrus B. Comstock Award of the National Medal of Sciences. Wu was the first recipient of the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978.