Famous British Physicists

Imagine the world without the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell, Michael Faraday, Paul Dirac or James Maxwell! Insane, isn’t it? Though we do not have them all in person today, their discoveries have inventions have made them immortals so much so that their presence is perennially felt in their discoveries and inventions. Each of them and many other British physicists have greatly contributed to the world, through their intensive research of the physical phenomenon and natural science, involving the study of matter and related concepts. It is through their discoveries and invention that natural forces like gravity, electromagnetism and nuclear interaction have been best understood. The pioneering work of these great British physicists has been acting as a source of inspiration for budding new-generation scientists who, through their intensive study and research, have made a name for themselves, be it Roger Penrose and his contribution to general relativity and cosmology or Brian Edward Cox and his career in high-energy particle physics, David Bohm and his study of quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of the mind or Paul Davies and his findings in the field of cosmology, quantum field theory and astrobiology. Check out the life and works of some famous British physicists.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Physicists

 1 Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking
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Famous As: Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who despite being afflicted motor neurone disease that severely limited his physical abilities, was able to build a phenomenally successful career. He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking was ranked 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2002.

 2 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

 3 Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday
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Famous As: Physicist & Chemist
Birthdate: September 22, 1791
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: August 25, 1867

Michael Faraday was an English scientist known for his contribution to the study of electrochemistry and electromagnetism. Considered one of the most influential scientists ever, Faraday's inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices established the basis for electric motor technology. His research also helped understand the concept of the electromagnetic field. Ernest Rutherford called him one of the greatest scientific discoverers ever.

 4 James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: June 13, 1831
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: November 5, 1879
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 5 Robert Hooke

Robert Hooke
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 28, 1635
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: March 3, 1703

Scientist Robert Hooke, also called England's Leonardo, initially gained recognition as an architect, conducting surveys following the Great Fire of London. He also taught geometry and was part of the Royal Society. He assisted Robert Boyle and eventually developed his own microscope, thus becoming the first to visualize micro-organisms.

 6 J. J. Thomson

J J Thompson
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Famous As: Physicist, Nobel Prize Winner
Birthdate: December 18, 1856
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: August 30, 1940

 7 Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British, American
Died: February 28, 2020
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 8 Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: October 20, 1984

 9 Lord Kelvin

Lord Kelvin
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Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist
Birthdate: June 26, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: December 17, 1907

 10 Peter Higgs

Peter Higgs
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 29, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 11 James Chadwick

James Chadwick
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Famous As: Discoverer of Neutron
Birthdate: October 20, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: July 24, 1974

 12 Stephen Wolfram

Stephen Wolfram
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Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist, Computer scientist, Businessperson, University teacher, Patent inventor, Writer
Birthdate: August 29, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British

 13 Henry Moseley

Henry Moseley
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 23, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: August 10, 1915

 14 Henry Cavendish

Henry Cavendish
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 10, 1731
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: February 24, 1810

 15 Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell
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Famous As: Astronomer, Astrophysicist
Birthdate: July 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British

 16 Thomas Young

Thomas Young
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 13, 1773
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: May 10, 1829

 17 James Prescott Joule

James Prescott Joule
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: December 24, 1818
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: October 11, 1889

 18 Brian Cox

Brian Cox
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 3, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 19 Andre Geim

Andre Geim
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 21, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Dutch, British

 20 Robert Watson-Watt

Robert Watson-Watt
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Famous As: Developer
Birthdate: April 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: December 5, 1973

 21 William Crookes

William Crookes
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: June 17, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: April 4, 1919

 22 Fred Hoyle

Fred Hoyle
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: June 24, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: August 20, 2001

 23 John Polkinghorne

John Polkinghorne
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Famous As: Physicist, Theoretical physicist
Birthdate: October 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 24 Arthur Eddington

Arthur Eddington
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: December 28, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: November 22, 1944

 25 Joseph Swan

Joseph Swan
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Famous As: Chemist, Physicist, Inventor
Birthdate: October 31, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: May 27, 1914

 26 Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside
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Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy
Birthdate: May 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: February 3, 1925

 27 David Deutsch

David Deutsch
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 18, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Israeli, British

 28 William Gilbert

William Gilbert
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Famous As: Astronomer, Physicist and Physician
Birthdate: May 24, 1544
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: November 30, 1603

 29 David Thouless

David Thouless
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, American, Scottish
Died: April 6, 2019

 30 George Paget Thomson

George Paget Thomson
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: September 10, 1975

 31 Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell

Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell
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Famous As: Physicist, Politician, University teacher
Birthdate: April 5, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: July 3, 1957

 32 Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 13, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: February 1, 1903

 33 Derek J. de Solla Price

Derek J. de Solla Price
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British, American
Died: September 3, 1983

 34 Duncan Haldane

Duncan Haldane
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: September 14, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Slovenian, British, American

 35 Lord Rayleigh

Lor Rayleigh
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Famous As: Discoverer of Argon
Birthdate: November 12, 1842
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: June 30, 1919

 36 William Whewell

William Whewell
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Famous As: Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: March 6, 1866

 37 David Brewster

David Brewster
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: December 11, 1781
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: February 10, 1868

 38 Dennis W. Sciama

Dennis W. Sciama
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Famous As: Physicist, Astrophysicist
Birthdate: November 18, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: December 18, 1999

 39 Joseph Black

Joseph Black
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Famous As: Chemist, Physicist, Scientist, University teacher
Birthdate: April 16, 1728
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French, British, Scottish
Died: December 6, 1799

 40 David J. C. MacKay

David J. C. MacKay
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Famous As: Physicist, Computer scientist, Professor
Birthdate: April 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: April 14, 2016

 41 Konstantin Novoselov

Konstantin Novoselov
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, Russian

 42 James Dewar

James Dewar
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 20, 1842
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: March 27, 1923

 43 William Henry Bragg

William Henry Bragg
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Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Physics
Birthdate: July 2, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: March 10, 1942

 44 John Ambrose Fleming

John Ambrose Fleming
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 18, 1945

 45 George Green

George Green
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: July 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: May 31, 1841

 46 John Cockcroft

John Cockcroft
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 27, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: September 18, 1967

 47 J. Michael Kosterlitz

J. Michael Kosterlitz
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: June 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British, American

 48 Antony Hewish

Antony Hewish
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Famous As: Radio Astronomer
Birthdate: May 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

 49 George Biddell Airy

George Biddell Airy
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: July 27, 1801
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: January 2, 1892

 50 Peter Mansfield

Peter Mansfield
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 9, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: February 8, 2017