Famous Physicists Of The 20th Century
The 20th century saw the world making tremendous developments in science and technology. Scientists from countries across the world were making newer discoveries and inventing technologies that would ultimately change the course of world history. Albert Einstein—one of the greatest physicists of all time—played a pivotal role in the evolution of quantum theory during the 20th century. Nobel laureate Niels Henrik David Bohr who developed the Bohr model of the atom was another physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory. Nuclear physics as a distinct discipline made an emergence in the late 19th century and 20th century physicist Pierre Curie made pioneering contributions to the fields of crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. The 20th century also saw major collaborative works conducted by teams such as the Curie family of illustrious scientists. Another major collaboration was between Dutch physicist Hendrik Anthony "Hans" Kramers and Niels Bohr which led to important work on how electromagnetic waves interact with matter. Another major figure was Werner Karl Heisenberg who was one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics. Read on to learn more about the life and works of famous Physicists of the 20th Century.
Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking
08 January 1942, British
Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist
Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein
14 March 1879, German, American
Physicist

Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla
10 July 1856, Austrian, American
Inventor, Father of Radio

Marie CurieMarie Curie
07 November 1867, French, Polish
First woman to win a Nobel Prize

J. Robert OppenheimerJ. Robert Oppenheimer
22 April 1904, American
 

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

Werner HeisenbergWerner Heisenberg
05 December 1901, German
Physicist

Sally RideSally Ride
26 May 1951, American
Physicist, Astronaut
Vikram SarabhaiVikram Sarabhai
12 August 1919, Indian
Scientist

Enrico FermiEnrico Fermi
29 September 1901, Italian, American
Nobel Laureate in Physics
Paul DiracPaul Dirac
08 August 1902, British
Physicist

Subrahmanyan ChandrasekharSubrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
19 October 1910, Indian
 

Abdus SalamAbdus Salam
29 January 1926, Pakistani
Theoretical Physicist

Edward TellerEdward Teller
15 January 1908, American
 

Vannevar BushVannevar Bush
11 March 1890, American
Engineer
Klaus FuchsKlaus Fuchs
29 December 1911, German
Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy

Louis SlotinLouis Slotin
01 December 1910, Canadian
Physicist

Robert H. GoddardRobert H. Goddard
05 October 1882, American
Physicist

Kip ThorneKip Thorne
01 June 1940, American
Physicist
John BardeenJohn Bardeen
23 May 1908, American
Nobel Laureate in Physics

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn
18 July 1922, American
Physicist
William ShockleyWilliam Shockley
13 February 1910, American
Physicist

Andrei SakharovAndrei Sakharov
21 May 1921, Russian
The Father of Soviet nuclear bomb’

Wolfgang PauliWolfgang Pauli
25 April 1900, Austrian
Nobel Laureate in Physics
John Archibald WheelerJohn Archibald Wheeler
09 July 1911, American
Physicist

Lev Landau Lev Landau
22 January 1908, Russian
Physicist
Murray Gell-MannMurray Gell-Mann
15 September 1929, American
Physicist

Steven ChuSteven Chu
28 February 1948, American
Former United States Secretary of Energy

David BohmDavid Bohm
20 December 1917, American
Scientist
Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg
03 May 1933, American
 

Continue Reading Below
Eugene Paul Eugene Wigner
17 November 1902, American
Physicist & Mathematician
Hans BetheHans Bethe
02 July 1906, American
Physicist

Luis Walter AlvarezLuis Walter Alvarez
13 June 1911, American
Physicist

John Stewart BellJohn Stewart Bell
28 June 1928, Northern Irish
Physicist

Frédéric Joliot-CurieFrédéric Joliot-Curie
19 March 1900, French
Physicist
Walter Houser BrattainWalter Houser Brattain
10 February 1902, American
Physicist
Ernest LawrenceErnest Lawrence
08 August 1901, American
Physicist

George GamowGeorge Gamow
04 March 1904, Russian
Physicist

Julian SchwingerJulian Schwinger
12 February 1918, American
Physicist

Charles Hard TownesCharles H. Townes
28 July 1915, American
Physicist
Tsung-Dao LeeTsung-Dao Lee
24 November 1926, Chinese, American
Physicist

Philip Warren AndersonPhilip Warren Anderson
13 December 1923, American
Physicist

Felix BlochFelix Bloch
23 October 1905, Swiss
Physicist

Franklin DiazFranklin Chang Díaz
05 April 1950, Chinese, Costa Rican, American
Former NASA Astronaut

Aage Niels BohrAage Bohr
19 June 1922, Danish
Physicist
Leon M. LedermanLeon M. Lederman
15 July 1922, American
Physicist

Dennis GaborDennis Gabor
05 June 1900, Hungarian
Father of Holography
Lord KelvinLord Kelvin
26 June 1824, British
Mathematician, Physicist

Arno Allan PenziasArno Allan Penzias
26 April 1933, American
Physicists

Emilio Gino SegrèEmilio Segrè
30 January 1905, Italian, American
Physicist
Ivar GiaeverIvar Giaever
05 April 1929, Norwegian, American
Physicist

Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter
05 February 1915, American
Physicist
Mark OliphantMark Oliphant
08 October 1901, Australian
Physicist

Hideki Yukawa Hideki Yukawa
23 January 1907, Japanese
Physicist

Sheldon Lee GlashowSheldon Lee Glashow
05 December 1932, American
Physicist

Edward Mills Purcell Edward Mills Purcell
30 August 1912, American
Physicist

Jack SteinbergerJack Steinberger
25 May 1921, American
Physicist
Ernest WaltonErnest Walton
06 October 1903, Irish
Physicist

Carlo Rubbia Carlo Rubbia
31 March 1934, Italian
Physicist

John Robert SchriefferJohn Robert Schrieffer
31 May 1931, American
Physicist

Robert Woodrow WilsonRobert Woodrow Wilson
10 January 1936, American
Physicist
Kenneth Geddes WilsonKenneth G. Wilson
08 June 1936, American
Physicist

Walter GilbertWalter Gilbert
21 March 1932, American
Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist
Brian JosephsonBrian Josephson
04 January 1940, British
Physicist

Claude Cohen-TannoudjiClaude Cohen-Tannoudji
01 April 1933, French
Physicist

Walter KohnWalter Kohn
09 March 1923, Austrian
Physicist and Chemist
Ernst RuskaErnst Ruska
25 December 1906, German
Inventor of Electron Microscope

Gerd Binnig Gerd Binnig
20 July 1947, German
Physicist
Leon N CooperLeon Cooper
28 February 1930, American
Physicist

William Alfred FowlerWilliam Alfred Fowler
09 August 1911, American
Nuclear Physicist and Astrophysicist

Samuel Chao Chung TingSamuel C. C. Ting
07 January 1936, American
Physicist
Willis Eugene Lamb Jr.Willis Lamb
12 July 1913, American
Physicist

Frederick ReinesFrederick Reines
16 March 1918, American
Physicist
Heinrich RohrerHeinrich Rohrer
06 June 1933, Swiss
Physicist

Russell Alan HulseRussell Alan Hulse
28 November 1950, American
Physicist

Carl David AndersonCarl David Anderson
03 September 1905, American
Physicist

Pavel Alekseyevich CherenkovPavel Cherenkov
28 July 1904, Russian
Physicist
Robert B. LaughlinRobert B. Laughlin
01 November 1950, American
Physicist
Arthur Leonard Schawlow Arthur Leonard Schawlow
05 May 1921, American
Physicist

Nicolaas BloembergenNicolaas Bloembergen
11 March 1920, American
Physicist

Burton RichterBurton Richter
22 March 1931, American
Physicist

Donald A. GlaserDonald A. Glaser
21 September 1926, American
Physicist & Molecular Biologist
Martin RyleMartin Ryle
27 September 1918, British
Astronomer

Richard Edward Taylor Richard E. Taylor
02 November 1929, Canadian
Physicist

Polykarp Kusch Polykarp Kusch
26 January 1911, German, American
Physicist

Owen ChamberlainOwen Chamberlain
10 July 1920, American
Physicist

Maria Goeppert MayerMaria Goeppert-Mayer
28 June 1906, American
Physicist
Val Logsdon FitchVal Logsdon Fitch
10 March 1923, American
Physicist

Georges Charpak Georges Charpak
01 August 1924, French, Polish, Ukrainian
Physicist
Antony HewishAntony Hewish
11 May 1924, British
Radio Astronomer

James CroninJames Cronin
29 September 1931, American
Physicist
Pierre Gilles de GennesPierre-Gilles de Gennes
24 October 1932, French
Physicist
Louis Eugène Félix Néel Louis Néel
22 November 1904, French
Physicist