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.
Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden
21 June 1983
Computer Professional, Former CIA Employee
Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein
14 March 1879

Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla
10 July 1856
Inventor, Father of Radio

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
Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman
11 May 1918

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson
26 August 1918

John Forbes Nash Jr.John Forbes Nash Jr.
13 June 1928

Carl SaganCarl Sagan
09 November 1934
Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Writer
J. Robert OppenheimerJ. Robert Oppenheimer
22 April 1904

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

Grace HopperGrace Hopper
09 December 1906
Computer Scientist

Sally RideSally Ride
26 May 1951
Physicist, Astronaut
Gabe NewellGabe Newell
03 November 1962

Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi
29 September 1901
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Linus PaulingLinus Pauling
28 February 1901
Chemist, Biochemist

James WatsonJames Watson
06 April 1928
Molecular Biologist

Jonas SalkJonas Salk
28 October 1914
Medical researcher
Rachel CarsonRachel Carson
27 May 1907
Marine biologist

Norman BorlaugNorman Borlaug
25 March 1914
Father of the Green Revolution
Kurt GödelKurt Gödel
28 April 1906
Mathematician, Philosopher

Jared DiamondJared Diamond
10 September 1937
Scientist & Author

Ken ThompsonKen Thompson
04 February 1943
Computer Scientist

Tom LehrerTom Lehrer
09 April 1928
American musician
John BardeenJohn Bardeen
23 May 1908
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Zbigniew BrzezinskiZbigniew Brzezinski
28 March 1928
Former Diplomat, Political Scientist

Edward TellerEdward Teller
15 January 1908

Kip ThorneKip Thorne
01 June 1940

Har Gobind KhoranaHar Gobind Khorana
09 January 1922
Stephen Jay GouldStephen Jay Gould
10 September 1941

Continue Reading Below
Venkatraman RamakrishnanVenkatraman Ramakrishnan
1952 AD
Structural biologist

William ShockleyWilliam Shockley
13 February 1910

Robert BallardRobert Ballard
30 June 1942
Deep Sea Explorer

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn
18 July 1922
E. O. WilsonE. O. Wilson
10 June 1929

Tommy RettigTommy Rettig
10 December 1941
Child Actor
Arthur D. LevinsonArthur D. Levinson
31 March 1950

Luis Walter AlvarezLuis Walter Alvarez
13 June 1911

Barbara McClintockBarbara McClintock
16 June 1902
Alan KayAlan Kay
17 May 1940
Computer Scientist

James Harris SimonsJames Harris Simons
1938 AD
Mathematicians & Hedge Fund Manager
Lynn MargulisLynn Margulis
05 March 1938

Manjul BhargavaManjul Bhargava
08 August 1974

Josef Allen HynekJ. Allen Hynek
01 May 1910
Astronomer, Ufologist

John Archibald WheelerJohn Archibald Wheeler
09 July 1911

Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann
15 September 1929
Steven ChuSteven Chu
28 February 1948
Former United States Secretary of Energy

Hans BetheHans Bethe
02 July 1906

David BohmDavid Bohm
20 December 1917

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

Glen T. SeaborgGlenn T. Seaborg
19 April 1912
Franklin DiazFranklin Chang Díaz
05 April 1950
Former NASA Astronaut

Judea PearlJudea Pearl
04 September 1936
Computer Scientist

Peggy WhitsonPeggy Whitson
09 February 1960
Astronaut, Biochemist
Elizabeth BlackburnElizabeth Blackburn
26 November 1948
American-Australian researcher

Lewis Howard LatimerLewis Howard Latimer
04 September 1848
Gertrude B. ElionGertrude B. Elion
23 January 1918
Biochemist, Pharmacologist

Stephanie KwolekStephanie Kwolek
31 July 1923

David BaltimoreDavid Baltimore
07 March 1938
Henrietta Swan LeavittHenrietta Swan Leavitt
04 July 1868

Howard Martin TeminHoward Martin Temin
10 December 1934
Geneticist and Virologist
Ernst MayrErnst Mayr
05 July 1904

Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger
12 February 1918

Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman
15 July 1922

Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence
08 August 1901
Ivar GiaeverIvar Giaever
05 April 1929
Radia PerlmanRadia Perlman
18 December 1951
Computer Network Engineer

Robert Burn WoodworthRobert Burns Woodward
10 April 1917
Organic Chemist

Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes
28 July 1915

Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain
10 February 1902
Joshua LederbergJoshua Lederberg
23 May 1925

Melvin Ellis CalvinMelvin Calvin
08 April 1911

Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee
24 November 1926

Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson
13 December 1923

Roald HoffmannRoald Hoffmann
18 July 1937
Theoretical Chemist
Paul BergPaul Berg
30 June 1926

Arthur Kornberg Arthur Kornberg
03 March 1918
Rosalyn Sussman YalowRosalyn Sussman Yalow
19 July 1921
Medical Physicist

Roger Wolcott SperryRoger Wolcott Sperry
20 August 1913

Elias James CoreyElias James Corey
12 July 1928
Organic Chemist
Ferid MuradFerid Murad
14 September 1936
Physician and Pharmacologist

Willard Frank LibbyWillard Libby
17 December 1908
Physical Chemist
Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow
05 December 1932

Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter
05 February 1915

John Robert SchriefferJohn Robert Schrieffer
31 May 1931

David H. HubelDavid H. Hubel
27 February 1926
Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias
26 April 1933

Robert Woodrow WilsonRobert Woodrow Wilson
10 January 1936
Emilio Gino SegrèEmilio Segrè
30 January 1905

Jack SteinbergerJack Steinberger
25 May 1921
Stanley B. PrusinerStanley B. Prusiner
28 May 1942
Neurologist and Biochemist

Walter GilbertWalter Gilbert
21 March 1932
Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist
Thomas Robert CechThomas Cech
08 December 1947