Americans have always been leaders in the world of science and technology. Since achieving independence in the late 18th century America has made tremendous strides in scientific fields, especially in the 20th century. While one of the greatest physicists to have ever lived-- Albert Einstein—was born in Germany, he later shifted to the US where he made several important discoveries. Another prominent European-born physicist who made America his home was Enrico Fermi who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Among the major physicists born in America, J. Robert Oppenheimer was the chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission. Americans have also played a key role in the development of theoretical physics. Nobel laureate Richard Phillips Feynman made vital contributions to quantum mechanics and particle physics. Science and technology in the United States received a major boost in the post-World War II period, providing dynamic opportunities for emerging physicists to explore. Julian Seymour Schwinger, recognized as one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century performed vital research following the war. Read on to learn more about the life and works of famous American Physicists of the 20th Century.

Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman

11 May 1918

Carl SaganCarl Sagan

09 November 1934

Sally RideSally Ride

26 May 1951

Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi

29 September 1901

William ShockleyWilliam Shockley

13 February 1910

Edward TellerEdward Teller

15 January 1908

Kip ThorneKip Thorne

01 June 1940

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn

18 July 1922

John BardeenJohn Bardeen

23 May 1908

Steven ChuSteven Chu

28 February 1948

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David BohmDavid Bohm

20 December 1917

Hans BetheHans Bethe

02 July 1906

Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann

15 September 1929

Eugene Paul Eugene Wigner

17 November 1902

Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg

03 May 1933

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Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger

12 February 1918

Ivar GiaeverIvar Giaever

05 April 1929

Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence

08 August 1901

Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee

24 November 1926

Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman

15 July 1922

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Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow

05 December 1932

Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson

13 December 1923

Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias

26 April 1933

Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes

28 July 1915

Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter

05 February 1915

Emilio Gino SegrèEmilio Segrè

30 January 1905

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Walter GilbertWalter Gilbert

21 March 1932

Robert Woodrow WilsonRobert Woodrow Wilson

10 January 1936

Samuel Chao Chung TingSamuel C. C. Ting

07 January 1936

Kenneth Geddes WilsonKenneth G. Wilson

08 June 1936

Edward Mills Purcell Edward Mills Purcell

30 August 1912

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Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain

10 February 1902

Chen Ning YangChen Ning Yang

01 October 1922

Robert B. LaughlinRobert B. Laughlin

01 November 1950

Leon N CooperLeon Cooper

28 February 1930

Jack SteinbergerJack Steinberger

25 May 1921

Carl David AndersonCarl David Anderson

03 September 1905

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William Daniel PhillipsWilliam Daniel Phillips

05 November 1948

Frederick ReinesFrederick Reines

16 March 1918

Allan McLeod Cormack Allan McLeod Cormack

23 February 1924

Edwin Mattison McMillanEdwin McMillan

18 September 1907

Burton RichterBurton Richter

22 March 1931

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William Alfred FowlerWilliam Alfred Fowler

09 August 1911

Donald A. GlaserDonald A. Glaser

21 September 1926

Val Logsdon FitchVal Logsdon Fitch

10 March 1923

Willis Eugene Lamb Jr.Willis Lamb

12 July 1913

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James RainwaterJames Rainwater

09 December 1917

James CroninJames Cronin

29 September 1931

Polykarp Kusch Polykarp Kusch

26 January 1911

Abraham PaisAbraham Pais

19 May 1918

Owen ChamberlainOwen Chamberlain

10 July 1920

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Martin Lewis PerlMartin Lewis Perl

24 June 1927

Ben Roy MottelsonBen Roy Mottelson

09 July 1926

Russell Alan HulseRussell Alan Hulse

28 November 1950

Hans Georg DehmeltHans Georg Dehmelt

09 September 1922

Melvin SchwartzMelvin Schwartz

02 November 1932

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Clifford ShullClifford Shull

23 September 1915

Douglas D. OsheroffDouglas D. Osheroff

01 August 1945

Daniel Chee TsuiDaniel Chee Tsui

28 February 1939

David Morris LeeDavid Morris Lee

20 January 1931

Michio KakuMichio Kaku

24 January 1947

Freeman DysonFreeman Dyson

15 December 1923

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Edwin HubbleEdwin Hubble

20 November 1889

Ronald McNairRonald McNair

21 October 1950

Bernhard Caesar EinsteinBernhard Caesar Einstein

10 July 1930

Edward WittenEdward Witten

26 August 1951

Mark AdlerMark Adler

03 April 1959

Lawrence M. KraussLawrence M. Krauss

27 May 1954

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Brian GreeneBrian Greene

09 February 1963

Randall MunroeRandall Munroe

17 October 1984

Max TegmarkMax Tegmark

05 May 1967