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

Neil deGrasse TysonNeil deGrasse Tyson
05 October 1958
Astrophysicist

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson
26 August 1918
Mathematician
Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman
11 May 1918
Physicist

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

Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov
02 January 1920
Writer, Professor
Carl SaganCarl Sagan
09 November 1934
Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Writer

J. Robert OppenheimerJ. Robert Oppenheimer
22 April 1904
 
Sergey BrinSergey Brin
21 August 1973
Computer scientist

Jonas SalkJonas Salk
28 October 1914
Medical researcher

John von NeumannJohn von Neumann
28 December 1903
Mathematician

Sally RideSally Ride
26 May 1951
Physicist, Astronaut

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

Zbigniew BrzezinskiZbigniew Brzezinski
28 March 1928
Former Diplomat, Political Scientist

Norman BorlaugNorman Borlaug
25 March 1914
Father of the Green Revolution

James WatsonJames Watson
06 April 1928
Molecular Biologist
Tom LehrerTom Lehrer
09 April 1928
American musician

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

Rachel CarsonRachel Carson
27 May 1907
Marine biologist

Donald KnuthDonald Knuth
10 January 1938
Computer Scientist
Jared DiamondJared Diamond
10 September 1937
Scientist & Author

Kurt GödelKurt Gödel
28 April 1906
Mathematician, Philosopher
Dennis RitchieDennis Ritchie
09 September 1941
Computer Scientist

Stephen Jay GouldStephen Jay Gould
10 September 1941
 

John BardeenJohn Bardeen
23 May 1908
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Josef Allen HynekJ. Allen Hynek
01 May 1910
Astronomer, Ufologist

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Edward TellerEdward Teller
15 January 1908
 
Ken ThompsonKen Thompson
04 February 1943
Computer Scientist

Kip ThorneKip Thorne
01 June 1940
Physicist

Peggy WhitsonPeggy Whitson
09 February 1960
Astronaut, Biochemist

William ShockleyWilliam Shockley
13 February 1910
Physicist
Vannevar BushVannevar Bush
11 March 1890
Engineer
E. O. WilsonE. O. Wilson
10 June 1929
Biologist

Robert H. GoddardRobert H. Goddard
05 October 1882
Physicist

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn
18 July 1922
Physicist

Charles Sanders PeirceCharles Sanders Peirce
10 September 1839
Scientist, Philosopher
David BohmDavid Bohm
20 December 1917
Scientist

Robert BallardRobert Ballard
30 June 1942
Deep Sea Explorer

Alan KayAlan Kay
17 May 1940
Computer Scientist

Arthur D. LevinsonArthur D. Levinson
31 March 1950
Microbiologist

John Archibald WheelerJohn Archibald Wheeler
09 July 1911
Physicist
Norbert WienerNorbert Wiener
26 November 1894
Father of Cybernetics

Lynn MargulisLynn Margulis
05 March 1938
Author
Har Gobind KhoranaHar Gobind Khorana
09 January 1922
 

Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann
15 September 1929
Physicist

Tommy RettigTommy Rettig
10 December 1941
Child Actor
Barbara McClintockBarbara McClintock
16 June 1902
Scientist

Steven ChuSteven Chu
28 February 1948
Former United States Secretary of Energy
James Harris SimonsJames Harris Simons
1938 AD
Mathematicians & Hedge Fund Manager

Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg
03 May 1933
 

Manjul BhargavaManjul Bhargava
08 August 1974
Mathematician

Stephanie KwolekStephanie Kwolek
31 July 1923
Chemist

Judea PearlJudea Pearl
04 September 1936
Computer Scientist
Eugene Paul Eugene Wigner
17 November 1902
Physicist & Mathematician

Hans BetheHans Bethe
02 July 1906
Physicist

David BaltimoreDavid Baltimore
07 March 1938
Virologist

Henrietta Swan LeavittHenrietta Swan Leavitt
04 July 1868
Astronomer
Luis Walter AlvarezLuis Walter Alvarez
13 June 1911
Physicist

Glen T. SeaborgGlenn T. Seaborg
19 April 1912
Chemist
Lewis Howard LatimerLewis Howard Latimer
04 September 1848
Inventor

Venkatraman RamakrishnanVenkatraman Ramakrishnan
1952 AD
Structural biologist

Radia PerlmanRadia Perlman
18 December 1951
Computer Network Engineer
Joshua LederbergJoshua Lederberg
23 May 1925
Geneticist

Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger
12 February 1918
Physicist
Ernst MayrErnst Mayr
05 July 1904
Biologist

Elizabeth BlackburnElizabeth Blackburn
26 November 1948
American-Australian researcher

Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee
24 November 1926
Physicist
Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain
10 February 1902
Physicist

Erwin ChargaffErwin Chargaff
11 August 1905
Biochemist
Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence
08 August 1901
Physicist

Franklin DiazFranklin Chang Díaz
05 April 1950
Former NASA Astronaut

Gertrude B. ElionGertrude B. Elion
23 January 1918
Biochemist, Pharmacologist

Paul BergPaul Berg
30 June 1926
Biochemist
Robert Burn WoodworthRobert Burns Woodward
10 April 1917
Organic Chemist
Ernest Everett JustErnest Everett Just
14 August 1883
Biologist

Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson
13 December 1923
Physicist

Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes
28 July 1915
Physicist

Roger Wolcott SperryRoger Wolcott Sperry
20 August 1913
Neuropsychologist
Harold E. VarmusHarold E. Varmus
18 December 1939
Physician

Roald HoffmannRoald Hoffmann
18 July 1937
Theoretical Chemist

Melvin Ellis CalvinMelvin Calvin
08 April 1911
Biochemist

Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow
05 December 1932
Physicist

Carl Ferdinand CoriCarl Ferdinand Cori
05 December 1896
Biochemist
Willard Frank LibbyWillard Libby
17 December 1908
Physical Chemist

Arthur Kornberg Arthur Kornberg
03 March 1918
Biochemist
Elias James CoreyElias James Corey
12 July 1928
Organic Chemist

Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman
15 July 1922
Physicist
Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias
26 April 1933
Physicists
Ferid MuradFerid Murad
14 September 1936
Physician and Pharmacologist