Famous Austrian Scientists

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Think of Austria and the first thing that strikes the mind is the spectacular natural landscape that engulfs pretty much the entire country. From the incredibly beautiful alpine to the narrow backstreet of Vienna, the enchanting castles and palaces to the bustling nightlife, Austria has something to offer for people of all age groups. But this is not all it when it comes to Austria. The country is as popular for its architectural and natural beauty as it is for its exceptionally gifted citizens. Yes, Austria has been home to some of the most talented individuals of the world who with their extraordinary accomplishments and achievements helped the country stand tall in the world forum. And while talking about the talented nationals of Austria, its scientists and inventors top the list. They have, through their pioneering work in their field of study, made valuable contribution for mankind. Be it Gregor Mendel, father of modern genetics, and his revolutionary work that became instrumental in establishing the field of modern genetics or Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, and his influential work in psychology, Austrians have made their worth count in all aspects of science. Not many know that Austria is home to more than eighteen Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Chemistry and Physiology alone. Check out interesting trivia about the life and works of Austrian scientists.
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 1 
Erwin Schrödinger
(Austrian Physicist Who Made Important Contributions to the Development of Quantum Mechanics)
Erwin Schrödinger
9
Birthdate: August 12, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erdberg, Vienna, Austria
Died: January 4, 1961
Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, is best known for the "Schrödinger's cat" experiment, or the Schrodinger equation. His book What Is Life? explored genetics through physics. The Nobel Prize winner also wrote on a variety of topics, such as color theory and thermodynamics, and tried to create a unified field theory.
 2 
Kurt Gödel
(Mathematician, Philosopher and One of the Most Significant Logicians in History)
Kurt Gödel
10
Birthdate: April 28, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brno, Czech Republic
Died: January 14, 1978

Hailed as one of the greatest logicians since Aristotle, Kurt Gödel was Austrian-born American mathematician, logician, and philosopher, who earned international stardom for his incompleteness theorem. Also credited with developing a technique called Gödel numbering, he later started working on Mathematical Platonism, a philosophical theory that failed to attract wide acceptance.

 3 
Gregor Mendel
(Know for Creating the science of Genetics)
Gregor Mendel
35
Birthdate: July 20, 1822
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hynčice, Vražné, Czechia
Died: January 6, 1884

A scientist, meteorologist, mathematician, and biologist, Gregor Mendel is considered the founder of the modern science of genetics. He conducted a series of experiments on pea plants between 1856 and 1863, establishing many rules of heredity. Besides his work on pea plants, he also described novel plant species and conducted experiments with hawkweed and honeybees.

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 4 
Ludwig Wittgenstein
(One of the Greatest Philosophers of the 20th Century)
Ludwig Wittgenstein
6
Birthdate: April 26, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 29, 1951

Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is remembered for his works related to logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of language. He taught at the University of Cambridge for many years. He published only one book during his lifetime. Most of his manuscripts were collected later and published posthumously.

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 5 
Wolfgang Pauli
(One of the Pioneers of Quantum Physics and Winner of 1945 Nobel Prize for Physics)
Wolfgang Pauli
5
Birthdate: April 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 15, 1958

Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli is remembered for his contribution to quantum physics and for laying down the Pauli principle. While he was initially married to a cabaret dancer, the marriage ended in a divorce after a year. His written works are considered classics in science.

 6 
Ludwig Boltzmann
(Physicist)
Ludwig Boltzmann
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1844
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: September 5, 1906

Austrian physicist and philosopher, Ludwig Boltzmann, played a key role in the development of statistical mechanics. As a young man, he was appointed a professor of mathematical physics at the University of Graz. He worked extensively with other physicists over the course of his brilliant academic career. He suffered from bipolar disorder and died by suicide in 1906. 

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 7 
Edmund Husserl
(German Philosopher, Mathematician and Founder of Phenomenology)
Edmund Husserl
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1859
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Prostějov, Czechia
Died: April 27, 1938

Edmund Husserl was a German philosopher of Moravian origin. He established the school of phenomenology. He studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy at the University of Leipzig and worked as an assistant to mathematician Karl Weierstrass. He later became a professor of philosophy and taught for several years. He is considered a major figure in 20th-century philosophy.  

 8 
Konrad Lorenz
(Austrian Zoologist, Ethologist, Ornithologist and Winner of 1973 Nobel Prize in Medicine)
Konrad Lorenz
4
Birthdate: November 7, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 21, 1989

Nobel Prize-winning Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz is remembered as a pioneer of ethology. The son of a surgeon father and a physician mother, Lorenz was a qualified physician himself. A university degree awarded to him was rescinded posthumously due to his association with the Nazi party

 9 
Ernst Mach
(Physicist)
Ernst Mach
5
Birthdate: February 18, 1838
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brno, Czech Republic
Died: February 19, 1916

Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach is remembered for his contributions to the study of shock waves. He is also credited for discovering a non-acoustic function of the inner ear that helps control human balance. As a philosopher of science, he is considered a major influence on logical positivism and American pragmatism. 

 10 
Albert Szent-Györgyi
(Physiologist)
Albert Szent-Györgyi
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died: October 22, 1986

Born in Budapest, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi shot himself in the arm while serving in World War II, so that he could be sent back home, and then studied medicine. While he is remembered for first isolating vitamin C, unknown to many, he was also a skilled pianist.

 11 
Christian Doppler
(Mathematician & Physicist)
Christian Doppler
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1803
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: March 17, 1853

Christian Doppler was an Austrian physicist and mathematician best remembered for describing a phenomenon which came to be known as the Doppler effect. The color of binary stars was explained by Doppler with the help of the Doppler effect. Christian Doppler's discovery of the Doppler effect is considered an important contribution to physics.

 12 
Paul Ehrenfest
(Austrian Theoretical Physicist Who Made Major Contributions to the Field of Statistical Mechanics)
Paul Ehrenfest
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 25, 1933

Paul Ehrenfest was an Austrian-Dutch theoretical physicist. A close associate of Albert Einstein, whom he had met during his visit to Prague in 1912, Ehrenfest frequently hosted Einstein in Leiden where he was serving as a professor. Paul Ehrenfest is best remembered for his work in the field of statistical mechanics.

 13 
Viktor Schauberger
(Forester, Inventor, Writer)
Viktor Schauberger
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1885
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Schwarzenberg am Böhmerwald
Died: September 25, 1958

Austrian forest caretaker, naturalist, pseudoscientist, biomimicry experimenter, inventor and philosopher, Viktor Schauberger came up with his own concepts based on his observations of nature. He mentioned in the Implosion magazine that the propeller was incorrectly designed by the aeronautical and marine engineers.

 14 
Karl von Frisch
(German-Austrian Ethologist and 1973 Winner of Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine)
Karl von Frisch
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 12, 1982

Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Karl von Frisch is best remembered for his research on communication among bees. He was the first to observe that bees communicate the location of food to other bees by a form of “dance.” He penned down his studies in books such as The Dancing Bees.

 15 
Martin Hairer
(Mathematician)
Martin Hairer
9
Birthdate: November 14, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Geneva

Austrian-British mathematician and Imperial College London professor Martin Hairer specializes in stochastic analysis and is a master of pure and applied math and theoretical physics. The Fermat Prize and Fields Medal winner also designs an audio editing software for Macintosh and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

 16 
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
(Biologist known as one of the founders of general systems theory)
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Atzgersdorf, Vienna, Austria
Died: June 12, 1972

Austrian-Canadian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy is best remembered as one of the pioneers of the general systems theory (GST). While he initially studied philosophy and history, he later switched to biology. It is believed his allegiance to the Nazi Party helped him become a professor at the University of Vienna.

 17 
Richard von Mises
(Mathematician, Physicist, Philosopher, Engineer, University teacher)
Richard von Mises
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1883
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lviv
Died: July 14, 1953

Richard von Mises was an Austrian Jewish scientist and mathematician. He is known for his work on solid mechanics, aerodynamics, aeronautics, fluid mechanics, and probability theory. He was the Gordon McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He is the one who proposed the now-famous "birthday problem" in probability theory. He was married to mathematician Hilda Geiringer.  

 18 
Fred Singer
(Physicist)
Fred Singer
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 6, 2020

Austrian-American physicist and University of Virginia environmental sciences professor Fred Singer was one of the first to deny the harmful effects of global warming and second-hand smoking. He co-authored books such as Climate Change Reconsidered and pioneered numerous studies on space research and atmospheric physics. He also established the SEPP.

 19 
Max Perutz
(Molecular Biologist)
Max Perutz
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 6, 2002

Molecular biologist Max Perutz won a Nobel Prize for his research on the structure of hemoglobin. While working at Cambridge, he co-founded the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology. He also studied glaciers and their velocity distribution. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society.

 20 
Emil Artin
(Austrian Mathematician Best Known for His Work on Algebraic Number Theory)
Emil Artin
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 20, 1962

Considered a pioneer in the field of abstract algebra, Austro-German mathematician Emil Artin reached great heights in academics in spite of losing his father to syphilis at age 8. He's best remembered for his contribution to the class field theory and his theorems and concepts such as the Artin rings.

 21 
Karl von Terzaghi
(Best Known as the 'Father of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering')
Karl von Terzaghi
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: October 25, 1963

The pioneer of soil mechanics, Karl Terzaghi was the son of an army lieutenant-colonel and studied in a military boarding school, where he developed his passion for geography. He eventually graduated as a mechanical engineer. He later also taught at MIT and penned iconic works such as Erdbaumechanik.

 22 
Walter Kohn
(Physicist and Chemist)
Walter Kohn
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1923
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 19, 2016

Walter Kohn was an Austrian-American theoretical physicist and theoretical chemist. He and fellow theoretical chemist John Pople were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998. Kohn made a major contribution to the development of density functional theory. He had an illustrious academic career and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

 23 
Martin Karplus
(Nobel Prize-Winning Austrian-American Theoretical Chemist)
Martin Karplus
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-American theoretical chemist Martin Karplus has been associated with Harvard University as a professor of chemistry. The Vienna-born scientist had escaped the Nazis to move to the US. Best known for developing multiscale models for complex chemical systems, he has also worked at Columbia University and the University of Strasbourg.

 24 
Anton Zeilinger
(Physicist, Quantum physicist, Academic, University teacher, Non-fiction writer)
Anton Zeilinger
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ried im Innkreis

Anton Zeilinger, a noted Austrian quantum physicist who mostly researches in the area of fundamental aspects and applications of quantum entanglement, was conferred with the Inaugural Isaac Newton Medal by the Institute of Physics for his significant contributions in the field. He presently serves as Senior Scientist at the IQOQI and as professor of physics at the University of Vienna.

 25 
Heinz von Foerster
(Scientist, Physicist, University teacher)
Heinz von Foerster
2
Birthdate: November 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: October 2, 2002
 26 
Walter Munk
(US Geophysicist and Physical Oceanographer Known for his Pioneering Research on Ocean Currents)
Walter Munk
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 8, 2019

US geophysicist and physical oceanographer Walter Munk is remembered for his path-breaking research on ocean currents and wave propagation. He had been part of the faculty of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He was also a member of the elite panel of scientists, JASON.

 27 
Hans Hass
(Legendary Austrian Diver and Marine Biologist Who Pioneered Underwater Filmmaking)
Hans Hass
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 16, 2013

Pioneering Austrian diver Hans Hass was a skilled marine biologist and underwater filmmaker who was considered one of the first to film marine life such as coral reefs, stingrays, and sharks. Known for his award-winning documentary Under the Red Sea, he also personally investigated the disappearance of prime minister Harold Holt at Portsea.

 28 
Victor Weisskopf
(Physicist)
Victor Weisskopf
2
Birthdate: September 19, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 22, 2002
 29 
Eduard Suess
(Paleontologist, Politician, University teacher, Scientist, Geologist)
Eduard Suess
2
Birthdate: August 20, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: April 26, 1914
 30 
Paul Kammerer
(Biologist)
Paul Kammerer
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 23, 1926
 31 
Josef Stefan
(Physicist and Mathematician Known for Deriving the 'Stefan-Boltzmann Law')
Josef Stefan
2
Birthdate: March 24, 1835
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: January 7, 1893

Best known for originating the Stefan-Boltzmann law, Josef Stefan was an Austrian physicist, who published nearly eighty scientific papers in his life time. Starting his career as a lecturer in mathematical physics at University of Vienna, he rose to become director of Physical Institute, meanwhile empirically deriving the Stefan-Boltzmann law, thus paving the way for further work on blackbody radiation.

 32 
Carl Auer, Freiherr von Welsbach
(Austrian Chemist and Inventor Who Was Behind the Development of the Modern Light Bulb )
Carl Auer, Freiherr von Welsbach
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: August 4, 1929
 33 
Georg Joachim Rheticus
(Austrian Mathematician and Astronomer Best Known for His 'Trigonometric Tables')
Georg Joachim Rheticus
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1514
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Feldkirch, Austria
Died: December 4, 1574

Having lost his doctor father to an execution after he was charged with stealing from his patients, Georg Joachim Rheticus ditched his paternal surname. The Austrian-born mathematician is best remembered for his tables of trigonometric functions. He was also one of the first to propagate the Copernican heliocentric theory.

 34 
Erich von Tschermak
(Austrian Botanist Who Developed Several New Disease-Resistant Crops)
Erich von Tschermak
1
Birthdate: November 15, 1871
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 11, 1962

Austrian botanist and agronomist Erich von Tschermak is remembered for his research on seed breeding and his illustrious teaching career at the Academy of Agriculture. He studied the garden pea extensively and developed disease-resistant variants of wheat and oats. He was also part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture.

 35 
Richard Adolf Zsigmondy
(Austrian-born Chemist Who Won Nobel Prize in Chemistry for His Research in Colloids)
Richard Adolf Zsigmondy
2
Birthdate: April 1, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 23, 1929

Richard Adolf Zsigmondy was an Austrian-born chemist. He is best remembered for winning the 1925 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in colloids. Richard Adolf Zsigmondy is also credited with co-inventing the slit-ultramicroscope.

 36 
Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti
(Zoologist, Herpetologist)
Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti
1
Birthdate: December 4, 1735
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 17, 1805
 37 
Gottlieb Haberlandt
1
Birthdate: November 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ungarisch-Alternburg, Hungary
Died: January 30, 1945
 38 
Fritz Pregl
(Nobel Prize-Winning Slovenian-Austrian Chemist Known for His Research on Quantitative Organic Microanalysis)
Fritz Pregl
1
Birthdate: September 3, 1869
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Died: December 13, 1930
 39 
Clemens von Pirquet
1
Birthdate: May 12, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 28, 1929
 40 
Herman Francis Mark
(Austrian-American Chemist Who Made Immense Contribution to the Progression of Polymer Science)
Herman Francis Mark
1
Birthdate: May 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 6, 1992

Herman Francis Mark was an Austrian-American chemist. He is best remembered for his immense contributions to the progression of polymer science. He is also remembered for formulating an equation along with Houwink: the Mark–Houwink equation. Herman Francis Mark was the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the National Medal of Science, Harvey Prize, and William H. Nichols Medal.

 41 
Joseph Loschmidt
(Scientist)
Joseph Loschmidt
1
Birthdate: March 15, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Austrian Empire
Died: July 8, 1895
 42 
Angelika Amon
(Molecular biologist)
Angelika Amon
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 29, 2020
 43 
Róbert Bárány
(Otologist)
Róbert Bárány
1
Birthdate: April 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 8, 1936
 44 
Paul Alfred Weiss
1
Birthdate: March 21, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 8, 1989
 45 
Karl Herzfeld
(Physicist)
Karl Herzfeld
1
Birthdate: February 24, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: June 3, 1978
 46 
Georg von Peuerbach
(Austrian Astronomer and Mathematician Known for His Streamlined Presentation of ‘Ptolemaic Astronomy')
Georg von Peuerbach
1
Birthdate: May 30, 1423
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Peuerbach, Austria
Died: April 8, 1461

Georg von Peuerbach was an Austrian mathematician and astronomer, best known for reviving the views of the second-century astronomer, Ptolemy. Possibly educated in humanities, he later established a solid reputation in mathematics and astronomy, writing New Theories of the Planets. Published in 1454, it later became a university textbook, appearing in fifty Latin and vernacular editions by late 17th century.

 47 
Wilhelm Blaschke
(Mathematician)
Wilhelm Blaschke
1
Birthdate: September 13, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: March 17, 1962

Born to a mathematician, Wilhelm Blaschke followed in his father’s footsteps and revolutionized the field of differential and integral geometry. A math professor, he worked extensively on kinematic mapping and is remembered for his iconic works such as Circle and Sphere and Foundations of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

 48 
Leopold Auenbrugger
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1722
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: May 17, 1809
 49 
Edwin Ernest Salpeter
(Astrophysicist)
Edwin Ernest Salpeter
1
Birthdate: December 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 26, 2008
 50 
Johann Palisa
(Austrian astronomer)
Johann Palisa
1
Birthdate: December 6, 1848
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Opava
Died: May 2, 1925