The 20th century America was one of the major hubs of scientific and technological developments in the world. In the early part of the century, many prominent European scientists including Hans Bethe, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Leó Szilárd, Edward Teller, and Felix Bloch migrated to the United States where they accomplished several important achievements. During this era, scientists in the US made one highly controversial yet commendable accomplishment—the harnessing of nuclear energy. Gerald Woodrow Johnson, William Howard Arnold, and Charles Kincaid Bockelman were some of the established nuclear scientists of 20th century. America was also a pioneer in computer technology and information technology. Pioneers like John McCarthy who was one of the founders of the discipline of artificial intelligence played a major role in accelerating America’s progress in the area of computer science. Grace Brewster Murray Hopper, born in the early 20th century, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. Americans have led the world in physics as well with the likes of Alan Harvey Guth, Steven Weinberg, and Sam Bard Treiman making important contributions to the field. Read on to learn more about the life and works of famous American scientists of the 20th century.
Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein
14 March 1879
Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla
10 July 1856
Inventor, Father of Radio

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson
26 August 1918

Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden
21 June 1983
Computer Professional, Former CIA Employee

J. Robert OppenheimerJ. Robert Oppenheimer
22 April 1904

Larry PageLarry Page
26 March 1973
Co-founder of Google
Sergey BrinSergey Brin
21 August 1973
Computer scientist

Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov
02 January 1920
Writer, Professor

Neil deGrasse TysonNeil deGrasse Tyson
05 October 1958
John Forbes Nash Jr.John Forbes Nash Jr.
13 June 1928

Carl SaganCarl Sagan
09 November 1934
Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Writer
Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman
11 May 1918

John von NeumannJohn von Neumann
28 December 1903

Sally RideSally Ride
26 May 1951
Physicist, Astronaut

Grace HopperGrace Hopper
09 December 1906
Computer Scientist

Gabe NewellGabe Newell
03 November 1962
Jonas SalkJonas Salk
28 October 1914
Medical researcher

Linus PaulingLinus Pauling
28 February 1901
Chemist, Biochemist

James WatsonJames Watson
06 April 1928
Molecular Biologist

Josef Allen HynekJ. Allen Hynek
01 May 1910
Astronomer, Ufologist
Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi
29 September 1901
Nobel Laureate in Physics

Tom LehrerTom Lehrer
09 April 1928
American musician
Norman BorlaugNorman Borlaug
25 March 1914
Father of the Green Revolution

Rachel CarsonRachel Carson
27 May 1907
Marine biologist

Kurt GödelKurt Gödel
28 April 1906
Mathematician, Philosopher
Jared DiamondJared Diamond
10 September 1937
Scientist & Author

Zbigniew BrzezinskiZbigniew Brzezinski
28 March 1928
Former Diplomat, Political Scientist
Ken ThompsonKen Thompson
04 February 1943
Computer Scientist

Stephen Jay GouldStephen Jay Gould
10 September 1941

Edward TellerEdward Teller
15 January 1908
Vannevar BushVannevar Bush
11 March 1890

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Lewis Howard LatimerLewis Howard Latimer
04 September 1848
Robert H. GoddardRobert H. Goddard
05 October 1882

Kip ThorneKip Thorne
01 June 1940

Har Gobind KhoranaHar Gobind Khorana
09 January 1922

Robert BallardRobert Ballard
30 June 1942
Deep Sea Explorer
John BardeenJohn Bardeen
23 May 1908
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Charles Sanders PeirceCharles Sanders Peirce
10 September 1839
Scientist, Philosopher

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn
18 July 1922

E. O. WilsonE. O. Wilson
10 June 1929

William ShockleyWilliam Shockley
13 February 1910
Arthur D. LevinsonArthur D. Levinson
31 March 1950

Alan KayAlan Kay
17 May 1940
Computer Scientist

Norbert WienerNorbert Wiener
26 November 1894
Father of Cybernetics

Lynn MargulisLynn Margulis
05 March 1938

Barbara McClintockBarbara McClintock
16 June 1902
John Archibald WheelerJohn Archibald Wheeler
09 July 1911

Manjul BhargavaManjul Bhargava
08 August 1974
James Harris SimonsJames Harris Simons
1938 AD
Mathematicians & Hedge Fund Manager

Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann
15 September 1929

Steven ChuSteven Chu
28 February 1948
Former United States Secretary of Energy
Glen T. SeaborgGlenn T. Seaborg
19 April 1912

David BohmDavid Bohm
20 December 1917
Judea PearlJudea Pearl
04 September 1936
Computer Scientist

Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg
03 May 1933

Eugene Paul Eugene Wigner
17 November 1902
Physicist & Mathematician

Peggy WhitsonPeggy Whitson
09 February 1960
Astronaut, Biochemist

Erwin ChargaffErwin Chargaff
11 August 1905
Hans BetheHans Bethe
02 July 1906

Stephanie KwolekStephanie Kwolek
31 July 1923

Luis Walter AlvarezLuis Walter Alvarez
13 June 1911

Tommy RettigTommy Rettig
10 December 1941
Child Actor
Henrietta Swan LeavittHenrietta Swan Leavitt
04 July 1868

Radia PerlmanRadia Perlman
18 December 1951
Computer Network Engineer
Ernest Everett JustErnest Everett Just
14 August 1883

Harold E. VarmusHarold E. Varmus
18 December 1939

Ernst MayrErnst Mayr
05 July 1904
Elizabeth BlackburnElizabeth Blackburn
26 November 1948
American-Australian researcher

Gertrude B. ElionGertrude B. Elion
23 January 1918
Biochemist, Pharmacologist
Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain
10 February 1902

David BaltimoreDavid Baltimore
07 March 1938

Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence
08 August 1901
Venkatraman RamakrishnanVenkatraman Ramakrishnan
1952 AD
Structural biologist

Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger
12 February 1918
Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes
28 July 1915

Willard Frank LibbyWillard Libby
17 December 1908
Physical Chemist

Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee
24 November 1926

Joshua LederbergJoshua Lederberg
23 May 1925
Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson
13 December 1923
Arthur Kornberg Arthur Kornberg
03 March 1918

Franklin DiazFranklin Chang Díaz
05 April 1950
Former NASA Astronaut

Roald HoffmannRoald Hoffmann
18 July 1937
Theoretical Chemist

Melvin Ellis CalvinMelvin Calvin
08 April 1911
Robert Burn WoodworthRobert Burns Woodward
10 April 1917
Organic Chemist

Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman
15 July 1922

Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias
26 April 1933

Emilio Gino SegrèEmilio Segrè
30 January 1905

Ivar GiaeverIvar Giaever
05 April 1929
Paul BergPaul Berg
30 June 1926

Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter
05 February 1915
Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow
05 December 1932

Edward Mills Purcell Edward Mills Purcell
30 August 1912
Jack SteinbergerJack Steinberger
25 May 1921
Rosalyn Sussman YalowRosalyn Sussman Yalow
19 July 1921
Medical Physicist