Most influential scientists ever

In another thread, Dopers are eliiminating down to detemine the Most Influential Human Ever.

Still in contention are
[li]8 scientists (Einstein, Darwin, Euclid, Newton, Kepler, Pasteur, Planck, Faraday)[/li][li]7 inventors (Fleming, van Leeuwenhoek, Jenner, Watt, Gutenberg, Edison and Ts’ai Lun)[/li][li]9 leaders (Genghis, Washington, Stalin, Lenin, Napoleon, Sui Wen Ti, Wm the Conqueror, two Caesars)[/li][li]7 thinkers (Adam Smith, Aristotle, Confucius, Locke, Marx, Plato, Shakespeare)[/li][li]4 religious (Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, St. Paul)[/li][/ul]

For me the most interesting part of the list is Scientists. The “perfect list”, in my opinion, would add Galileo and Maxwell to get a plausible Top Ten. I’d then remove Kepler, Planck and Euclid to get The Top Seven. Except for eliminating Galileo and Maxwell too early, I think Dopers did a good job here, notably replacing Copernicus with Kepler as the important heliocentrist.

With very few possible exceptions none of the inventors or thinkers seem to have the same immense importance as the Top Seven scientists. The leaders seem relatively unimportant also (with China’s important First Emperor, Shi Huang Di, missing altogether).

Well, that’s My Humble Opinion. What do others think? Be sure to join the other thread to voice your opinion.

It seems to me that the question of who’s the most influential human ever is self-evident from reading the Straight Dope Message Board. One rarely sees any theads dedicated to Confucius, Locke, or Lenin. Even Shakespeare is lucky if he’s got a thread on the first page of any forum at any given time. But there are typically several threads dedicated to Jesus Christ in Great Debates alone. He wins easily.

For most important scientist I’d choose Pasteur simply because so many other persons including contenders for the title of most influential might not be alive without him.

Cecil Adams?

Euclid definitely qualifies as influential, but I don’t think he qualifies as a scientist.

How about Da Vinci?
His autopsy diagrams, heck he invented the ‘exploded diagram’.
Maybe he’s more of an engineer.

Except that it’s often argued that “Christianity” is really more “Paulism”. In general, you’d have to look at the person or people who spread Christianity, not Jesus; in himself he’s a pretty generic cult leader who got himself killed long before his religion made much difference to the world. There’s nothing especially profound in Christianity; what made it matter is how it spread and achieved power.

In terms of scientific importance, I’d probably put Darwin and Newton at the top. Their contributions were not just important in themselves, but involved extremely profound changes in how we thought about the world. “Paradigm shifts”, to use the overused phrase.

Mathematics isn’t a science?

Not in the most commonly used sense, no.

But Euclid is surely the most influential in the whole list. He basically handed the axiomatic method to us. His book was still being used as a text book in schools in this country within living memory (and probably is still used elsewhere).

Most influential scientist? Newton, hands down.

Newton invented the calculus. Described the 3 laws. Made groundbreaking observations in optics and the nature of light. As an alchemist, he made important chemistry discoveries.

Newtonian principles got us to the moon.

Can you imagine what he could have accomplished if you could go back in time and give him books on relativity and quantum mechanics? He’d probably invent time travel so that you would be able to go back in time and complete the infinite loop :slight_smile:

Newton was one of those once in a thousand year intellects, like Aristotle. We have not seen his equal since in my opinion, except possibly Einstein - who comes in a close second.

It may be due to lore, but I’ve always been a fan of Tesla.

He’s less “influential” than “interesting”, however.

Twas a judgment call. I had 100 names to break down into 5 roughly-equal categories, and since “science” was a better fit than “inventor”, “philosopher”, etc, there Euclid went.

For those of you debating this here… why don’t y’all participate in the game? :slight_smile:

I would have said Newton until I saw this video. Gotta be Tesla.

I clicked just a few minutes after you posted but just get:

Does the link still work for you? Is it a geography-based thing?

Dash. Sorry, I copy and pasted from my email without checking that the link still worked. Try this. Very funny.