Widely regarded as the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer has won the most number of men's Grand Slam singles titles. He is the only person to be honored with the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award on four occasions. Despite enduring several injuries, Federer continues to dominate the tennis court.
Leonhard Euler was a Swiss physicist, mathematician, logician, geographer, astronomer, and engineer. He is credited with making influential and important mathematical discoveries, such as graph theory and infinitesimal calculus. Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most prolific mathematicians of all time, Leonhard Euler also made pioneering contributions to analytic number theory and topology.
Born into a family of drug merchants, Jacob Bernoulli was forced to study theology by his father but later deviated to math. He taught math and laid down the Bernoulli’s equation and calculus of variations. Apart from him and his brother, Johann Bernoulli, his family later produced more great mathematicians.
Swiss footballer and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka wasn’t just part of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning Swiss team but has also been part of 2 FIFA World Cups. In 2022, he posted an apology on social media following his red-card exit in a game against Liverpool.
Brother and colleague of Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli and part of the famous Bernoulli family of mathematicians, Johann Bernoulli was initially pushed to join his family business of drug and spices. He later took up medicine, eventually deviating to math and contributing to infinitesimal calculus, along with Jacob.
Swiss cultural historian and historiographer Jacob Burckhardt is best remembered for his work on the history of Italian Renaissance, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. Born to a Protestant clergyman, he initially studied theology but later switched to history. He was associated with the University of Basel for most of his life.
Though born to a silk trader, Arnold Böcklin ditched his family business and deviated toward art instead. Initially part of the Düsseldorf school of painting, the Symbolist painter later found inspiration in Rome and infused mythological elements in his art. Isle of the Dead and Pan in the Bulrushes remain his best-known works.
Marthe Keller is a Swiss actress best known for her portrayal of Elsa Opel in the 1976 film Marathon Man, for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination under the Best Supporting Actress category. Marthe Keller is also renowned for her theater and opera work. She made her debut as an opera director with Dialogues des Carmélites in 1999.
Apart from being the first to discover nucleic acid, Swiss biochemist Friedrich Miescher also isolated protamine, a protein associated with nucleic acid. Born to a scientifically rich family, he initially wished to become a doctor, but rendered partially deaf due to typhoid, he later chose physiological chemistry.
Swiss theologian Karl Barth is best remembered for his iconic work The Epistle to the Romans. His opposition to the German National Socialism got him suspended as a professor at the University of Bonn. Along with Eduard Thurneysen, he revolutionized Protestant ideals. He also delivered sermons to prisoners in Basel.
Swiss-born German philosopher and metaphysician Frithjof Schuon was a major figure of the Traditionalist School of thought. He also propagated Religio Perennis and wrote extensively about his belief in God, the absolute principle. Most of his work was penned in French and very few in his mother tongue, German.
A close associate of Isaac Newton, Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, was, according to many, the reason for Newton’s nervous breakdown after they fell apart. He is best remembered for co-discovering the phenomenon of zodiacal light and for inventing the shadow theory of gravitation.
Best known as the lead vocalist of the Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie, Christian Oliver Glanzmann, or Chrigel Glanzmann, is also skilled in playing a number of instruments, such as the bagpipes, the mandola, the bodhrán, and the tin whistle. Glanzmann had first formed his band as a studio project.
Swiss-born American chemist Jean Piccard and academic had been associated with various institutes, such as the universities of Chicago, Minnesota, and Lausanne. He was also a passionate balloonist and conducted balloon flights for his research on cosmic rays and the stratosphere. He also collaborated with his balloonist wife on many inventions.
Born to a Spanish mother and a Slovak father in Switzerland, Rebeka Masarova was first inspired to take up tennis after watching Roger Federer in the 2003 Wimbledon final. She first gained attention after winning the 2016 French Open junior championship. While she initially played for Switzerland, she later switched to representing Spain.
Once world number 7 in singles, former Swiss tennis star Patty Schnyder has defeated the who’s who of tennis, including Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, and Serena Williams. Shortly before retiring from tennis, she became the oldest female to qualify for a Grand Slam, by making it to the US Open.
Marc Allégret was a French photographer, screenwriter, and film director. He is credited with helping numerous actors achieve popularity. Performers like Simone Simon, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Michèle Morgan, and Brigitte Bardot were able to establish themselves as bankable and famous actors after appearing in films directed by Marc Allégret.
Born to a French physician in Switzerland, Gaspard Bauhin was a qualified physician himself and later made some of the most significant contributions to the classification of plants. Known for his Pinax theatri botanica, he also provided one of the initial descriptions of the ileocecal (or Bauhin’s) valve.
One of the greatest 20th-century pianists, Edwin Fischer is best remembered for his renditions of German legends such as Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven. He not only established his own chamber orchestra, but also taught in Lucerne and launched a foundation to help young and underprivileged musicians.
Though born in Switzerland, engraver Matthäus Merian mostly worked in Germany. Best remembered for his topographical works, he also worked for the publishing house of J. T. de Bry and later married his daughter, taking over the business. His work took him to places such as Paris, Basle, and Nancy.
While his marriage to Maja Stehlin, the widow of the sole heir of the pharmaceutical giant Hoffmann-La Roche, made him the world’s third-richest man, Paul Sacher was a talented composer in his own right. Apart from a chamber orchestra and a choir, he also founded a music academy.
Dani Levy is a Swiss filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, and theatrical director. He is credited with directing critically acclaimed films like Stille Nacht and Mein Führer – Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler. Dani Levy is also credited with co-founding a German production company named X Filme Creative Pool.
Nobel Prize-winning physicist K. Alex Müller was the son of a budding musician and was sent to an Evangelical college after his mother’s death. He later joined ETH Zurich and then continued his research at the IBM Research laboratory. He is best known for his joint discovery of superconductivity in ceramic material.