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
Physicist
Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla
10 July 1856
Inventor, Father of Radio

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

Larry PageLarry Page
26 March 1973
Co-founder of Google

Sergey BrinSergey Brin
21 August 1973
Computer scientist

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

Carl SaganCarl Sagan
09 November 1934
Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Writer

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson
26 August 1918
Mathematician

Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman
11 May 1918
Physicist
J. Robert OppenheimerJ. Robert Oppenheimer
22 April 1904
 

Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov
02 January 1920
Writer, Professor
John von NeumannJohn von Neumann
28 December 1903
Mathematician

Sally RideSally Ride
26 May 1951
Physicist, Astronaut

Grace HopperGrace Hopper
09 December 1906
Computer Scientist
Gabe NewellGabe Newell
03 November 1962
Entrepreneur

Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi
29 September 1901
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Tom LehrerTom Lehrer
09 April 1928
American musician

Jonas SalkJonas Salk
28 October 1914
Medical researcher

Jared DiamondJared Diamond
10 September 1937
Scientist & Author
Rachel CarsonRachel Carson
27 May 1907
Marine biologist

James WatsonJames Watson
06 April 1928
Molecular Biologist
Linus PaulingLinus Pauling
28 February 1901
Chemist, Biochemist

Norman BorlaugNorman Borlaug
25 March 1914
Father of the Green Revolution

Edward TellerEdward Teller
15 January 1908
 

Zbigniew BrzezinskiZbigniew Brzezinski
28 March 1928
Former Diplomat, Political Scientist
Kurt GödelKurt Gödel
28 April 1906
Mathematician, Philosopher
Stephen Jay GouldStephen Jay Gould
10 September 1941
 

Kip ThorneKip Thorne
01 June 1940
Physicist

Venkatraman RamakrishnanVenkatraman Ramakrishnan
1952 AD
Structural biologist

Robert BallardRobert Ballard
30 June 1942
Deep Sea Explorer
Har Gobind KhoranaHar Gobind Khorana
09 January 1922
 

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William ShockleyWilliam Shockley
13 February 1910
Physicist

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

Tommy RettigTommy Rettig
10 December 1941
Child Actor

Luis Walter AlvarezLuis Walter Alvarez
13 June 1911
Physicist
Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn
18 July 1922
Physicist

Josef Allen HynekJ. Allen Hynek
01 May 1910
Astronomer, Ufologist
Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann
15 September 1929
Physicist

James Harris SimonsJames Harris Simons
1938 AD
Mathematicians & Hedge Fund Manager

Franklin DiazFranklin Chang Díaz
05 April 1950
Former NASA Astronaut
Alan KayAlan Kay
17 May 1940
Computer Scientist

Lynn MargulisLynn Margulis
05 March 1938
Author
John BardeenJohn Bardeen
23 May 1908
Nobel Laureate in Physics

Judea PearlJudea Pearl
04 September 1936
Computer Scientist

Barbara McClintockBarbara McClintock
16 June 1902
Scientist

John Archibald WheelerJohn Archibald Wheeler
09 July 1911
Physicist

Manjul BhargavaManjul Bhargava
08 August 1974
Mathematician
Steven ChuSteven Chu
28 February 1948
Former United States Secretary of Energy

David BohmDavid Bohm
20 December 1917
Scientist

Peggy WhitsonPeggy Whitson
09 February 1960
Astronaut, Biochemist

Eugene Paul Eugene Wigner
17 November 1902
Physicist & Mathematician
Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg
03 May 1933
 

Hans BetheHans Bethe
02 July 1906
Physicist
Glen T. SeaborgGlenn T. Seaborg
19 April 1912
Chemist

Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence
08 August 1901
Physicist

Howard Martin TeminHoward Martin Temin
10 December 1934
Geneticist and Virologist
Elizabeth BlackburnElizabeth Blackburn
26 November 1948
American-Australian researcher

Henrietta Swan LeavittHenrietta Swan Leavitt
04 July 1868
Astronomer
John Robert SchriefferJohn Robert Schrieffer
31 May 1931
Physicist

David BaltimoreDavid Baltimore
07 March 1938
Virologist

Stephanie KwolekStephanie Kwolek
31 July 1923
Chemist
Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger
12 February 1918
Physicist

Gertrude B. ElionGertrude B. Elion
23 January 1918
Biochemist, Pharmacologist
Ivar GiaeverIvar Giaever
05 April 1929
Physicist

Radia PerlmanRadia Perlman
18 December 1951
Computer Network Engineer

Ernst MayrErnst Mayr
05 July 1904
Biologist

Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee
24 November 1926
Physicist
Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson
13 December 1923
Physicist
Roger Wolcott SperryRoger Wolcott Sperry
20 August 1913
Neuropsychologist

Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes
28 July 1915
Physicist

Robert Burn WoodworthRobert Burns Woodward
10 April 1917
Organic Chemist

Rosalyn Sussman YalowRosalyn Sussman Yalow
19 July 1921
Medical Physicist
Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman
15 July 1922
Physicist

Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow
05 December 1932
Physicist

Willard Frank LibbyWillard Libby
17 December 1908
Physical Chemist

Gerald EdelmanGerald Edelman
01 July 1929
Immunologist

Melvin Ellis CalvinMelvin Calvin
08 April 1911
Biochemist
Joshua LederbergJoshua Lederberg
23 May 1925
Geneticist

Roald HoffmannRoald Hoffmann
18 July 1937
Theoretical Chemist
Elias James CoreyElias James Corey
12 July 1928
Organic Chemist

Emilio Gino SegrèEmilio Segrè
30 January 1905
Physicist

Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter
05 February 1915
Physicist
Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias
26 April 1933
Physicists

Paul BergPaul Berg
30 June 1926
Biochemist
Arthur Kornberg Arthur Kornberg
03 March 1918
Biochemist

Robert Woodrow WilsonRobert Woodrow Wilson
10 January 1936
Physicist

Ferid MuradFerid Murad
14 September 1936
Physician and Pharmacologist

Edward Mills Purcell Edward Mills Purcell
30 August 1912
Physicist
Samuel Chao Chung TingSamuel C. C. Ting
07 January 1936
Physicist

Kenneth Geddes WilsonKenneth G. Wilson
08 June 1936
Physicist
Walter GilbertWalter Gilbert
21 March 1932
Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist

Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain
10 February 1902
Physicist
Robert B. LaughlinRobert B. Laughlin
01 November 1950
Physicist

William Alfred FowlerWilliam Alfred Fowler
09 August 1911
Nuclear Physicist and Astrophysicist
Maria Goeppert MayerMaria Goeppert-Mayer
28 June 1906
Physicist