Norman Borlaug was an American agronomist who played a key role in the Green Revolution, a set of research technology transfer initiatives that increased agricultural production, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. Nicknamed the Father of the Green Revolution, Borlaug was also honored with the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.
Ronald Fisher was a British polymath, statistician, geneticist, mathematician, and academic. He is credited to have single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science. He made important contributions to the field of genetics and is known as one of the three principal founders of population genetics. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1929.
Nettie Stevens was an American geneticist. She is credited with discovering sex chromosomes which later came to be known as the X and Y chromosomes. In 1994, Nettie Stevens was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning geneticist M. S. Swaminathan is best known for his contribution to the Indian Green Revolution. Featured on Time, he introduced high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice seedlings to Indian farmers. He is also known for his administrative work as part of the Indian civil services.
Barbara McClintock was a scientist and cytogeneticist who received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in botany from Cornell University and began her lifelong work in the development of maize cytogenetics. She eventually gained recognition as among the best in the field and was honored with several prestigious awards.
Best known for his theory of Price Equation, American population geneticist, George R. Price, worked as a chemist for more than two decades before shifting to theoretical biology. On reading W.D. Hamilton's paper on kin selection, he eventually started working on it, in the process devising what is today known as Price Equation and also introducing the evolutionarily stable strategy.
Joshua Lederberg was an American molecular biologist best remembered for his work in the field of artificial intelligence, microbial genetics, and the US space program. In 1958, Lederberg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine when he was just 33; he won the prize for discovering bacterial conjugation. In 2006, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Theodosius Dobzhansky was a Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist. He played a key role in shaping modern synthesis in the field of evolutionary biology. His 1937 book, Genetics and the Origin of Species, is a seminal work on modern synthesis. He was the recipient of several awards, including the US National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal.
Massimo Pigliucci is an academician currently serving as a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. A staunch critic of pseudoscience and creationism, he advocates for secularism and science education. He was once the co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast. He often writes on topics, such as climate change denial, pseudoscience, intelligent design, and philosophy.
Carol W. Greider is a molecular biologist who discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984. Her discovery was honored several years later when she received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for their work on telomeres. The trio also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the same work.
Harold E. Varmus is an American scientist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with J. Michael Bishop for their discovery of the retroviral oncogenes' cellular origin. From 1993 to 1999, he served as the director of the National Institutes of Health. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the director of the National Cancer Institute.
Nobel Prize-winning Canadian-American biochemist and geneticist Jack W. Szostak revolutionized medical science with his research on the manipulation of genes. The Cornell alumnus is credited with creating the first yeast artificial chromosome. He has also taught at the Harvard Medical School. In spite of being Polish, he doesn’t speak the language.
14 Ian Wilmut
British biologist Ian Wilmut revolutionized embryology by leading the team of researchers who successfully created the first cloned mammal, the sheep named Dolly. A leading proponent of cryopreservation, he also implanted the first calf embryo, Frostie, in a surrogate cow. He was later knighted for his achievements.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is a German developmental biologist. She studied at the University of Tübingen where she earned a Ph.D. for her research on protein–DNA interactions. Together with biologist Eric Wieschaus and geneticist Edward B. Lewis, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995. She is also a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.
16 Cyril Burt
Cyril Burt was an English geneticist and educational psychologist who also made immense contributions to statistics. A prolific writer, Cyril Burt published several books and articles on topics ranging from psychometrics to parapsychology over the course of his career.
American biochemist and Nobel laureate Marshall W. Nirenberg is best known for his research on solving the genetic code. The son of a Jewish shirtmaker father, Nirenberg showed an early interest in biology. He led the National Heart Institute’s genetics department and was associated with the National Institutes of Health.
German biologist and eugenicist Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer was an advocate of racial hygiene and the mandatory sterilization of the physically and mentally disabled. He also led the Nazi experiments on twins based on body parts made available to him from the inmates of various concentration camps.
Philip Allen Sharp is an American molecular biologist and geneticist best known for co-discovering RNA splicing. In 1993, he received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Sir Richard John Roberts. Philip Allen Sharp has also won several other awards, such as the National Medal of Science, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize.
Francisco J. Ayala is a Spanish-born American evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist, best known for his investigation on the process of genetic variation and natural selection at molecular level. He also undertook research on public health, providing new ideas on the prevention and treatment of diseases and expounded how Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-matched to religious theory of creation.
Renowned population geneticist Spencer Wells is best known for his study of human diversity. His analysis has led him to believe that all humans have descended from a single man from Africa, the Y-chromosomal Adam, who lived around 60,000-90,000 years back. He has also headed National Geographic’s Genographic Project.
Reginald Punnett was a British geneticist who is credited with creating the Punnett square, which is used by biologists even today to evaluate the probability of genotypes of offspring. He is also credited with co-founding the Journal of Genetics alongside William Bateson in 1910. Reginald Punnett’s book Mendelism is considered by some to be the first textbook on genetics.
Nobel Prize-winning biologist Alfred Day Hershey is best remembered for his research on bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. He was associated with the Washington University throughout most of his life. He is also known for his blender experiment, which he conducted with his work partner Martha Chase.
Virologist Howard Martin Temin won his Nobel Prize for co-discovering the enzyme reverse transcriptase. His initial research was in the area of animal cancers, as he was also a PhD in animal virology from Caltech. He spent almost his entire academic career teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
25 Andrew Fire
Geneticist Andrew Fire is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning work on the double-stranded RNA. The MIT alumnus did most of his research under the guidance of Nobel laureate Philip A. Sharp. His discovery of the RNAi later aided scientists work on the cure for ailments such as AIDS and cancer.
British embryologist C.H. Waddington had studied paleontology before turning to biology. A professor of zoology and embryology, he later also taught animal genetics. His interests also included poetry, painting, and Marxism. He introduced concepts such as epigenetic landscape and genetic assimilation, and penned books such as Principles of Embryology.
Nobel Prize-winning physician Baruch Samuel Blumberg is best remembered for his research on the antigen-antibody reaction. His study of an antibody response against hepatitis B helped later scientists develop a vaccine for the disease. He died soon after delivering a speech at the NASA Ames Research Center.
American molecular geneticist Joseph L. Goldstein was born to clothing store owner parents in South Carolina. He ended up winning a Nobel Prize for his research on cholesterol metabolism, which later helped researchers develop statin drugs. He currently chairs the molecular genetics department of the University of Texas.
Alfred Sturtevant was an American geneticist. He is credited with constructing a chromosome's first genetic map in 1911. Throughout his career, Sturtevant did extensive research on Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) and his research on the Drosophila genome allowed other geneticists to map chromosomes of higher organisms like human beings. Alfred Sturtevant received the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1967.
32 Werner Arber
Werner Arber is a Swiss geneticist and microbiologist whose discovery of restriction endonucleases earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978; he shared the award with Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith. Arber's work alongside Nathans and Smith led to the progression of recombinant DNA technology. Werner Arber is also credited with co-founding the World Cultural Council.
Edward B. Lewis was an American geneticist who helped found evolutionary developmental biology, a field that compares the developmental processes of various organisms. In 1995, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Eric Wieschaus and Christine Nüsslein-Volhard. He also won several other prestigious awards like the National Medal of Science and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize.
Walter Sutton was an American physician and geneticist best remembered for his Boveri-Sutton chromosome theory, which is widely regarded as one of the most important contributions to present-day biology. Walter Sutton is also credited with improving several medical and surgical practices, such as anesthetic techniques.
George Wells Beadle was an American geneticist who served as the president of the University of Chicago from 1961 until his retirement. In 1958, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the role played by genes in controlling the biochemical events within cells. George Wells Beadle also won other awards like the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal.
Edmund Beecher Wilson was an American geneticist and zoologist. He is credited with writing a textbook titled The Cell which is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important books in modern biology. Regarded as America's first cell biologist, Wilson is also credited with discovering the XY sex-determination system which is used to classify several mammals, including humans.
Michael S. Brown is an American geneticist who received the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His research on cholesterol metabolism along with Joseph L. Goldstein paved the way for the development of statin drugs, which are used today by 16 million Americans. For his contributions to medicine, Brown was honored with the National Medal of Science in 1988.
Calvin Bridges was an American scientist best remembered for his work in the field of genetics. Bridges was part of the famous Fly Room experiments along with other popular scientists like H.J. Muller and Alfred Sturtevant. The experiments were the first in a series of other experiments that conducted research on Drosophila melanogaster.
42 Carl Correns
Richard Goldschmidt was a geneticist best remembered for becoming the first person to attempt to integrate evolution, genetics, and development. He pioneered understanding of genetic assimilation, reaction norms, sex determination, dynamical genetics, and heterochrony. He is also credited with describing a nematode's nervous system.
George D. Snell was an American basic transplant immunologist and mouse geneticist. In 1980, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Jean Dausset and Baruj Benacerraf. In 1978, Snell was honored with the William B. Coley Award for his research in immunology.
45 Curt Richter
Curt Richter is best remembered for his pioneering study on biorhythms. Born to a German immigrant engineer, Richter initially studied engineering but later switched to biology and then psychology. He later taught psychobiology and also worked on concepts such as the biological clock and circadian rhythms.
George Harrison Shull gained fame not just as a plant geneticist but also for his pioneering discovery of hybrid corn, or maize. He also coined the term heterosis. He taught at Princeton for 27 years and also established the journal Genetics, serving as its managing editor.
47 E. B. Ford
Ecological geneticist B. Ford is remembered for his extensive research on natural selection. An Oxford professor, he had also penned books such as Mendelism and Evolution and Genetic Polymorphism. The Darwin Medal winner introduced the technique of marking animal specimens to determine their population. Single for life, he was considered eccentric.
48 Ruth Sager
Though renowned geneticist Ruth Sager was involved in pioneering research on cytoplasmic genetics, her contribution wasn’t validated till the 1970s, largely due to gender bias. She later focused on cancer genetics. While she was initially interested in liberal arts, she later decided to join medical school but eventually settled for research.
Biologist C. D. Darlington is remembered for his pathbreaking research on chromosomes, which later contributed to further research on evolution. He had a poverty-stricken childhood but later became an Oxford professor of botany. He penned books such as The Evolution of Man and Society, which claimed intelligence was hereditary.
Zoologist Theophilus Painter made some groundbreaking studies on chromosomes, with special focus on the X and Y chromosomes and chromosomes of the salivary glands of the Drosophila fly. The Yale alumnus was associated with the University of Texas, where he eventually became the president.