Scientists From Illinois

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Illinois has produced a number of Scientists who have made it big. These include James Watson, Lynn Margulis, J. Allen Hynek, Robert Andrews Millikan, John Robert Schrieffer and others.
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 1 
Lynn Margulis
9
Birthdate: March 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Died: November 22, 2011

Lynn Margulis was an evolutionary theorist, biologist, educator, and science author. She was a modern proponent of the significance of symbiosis in evolution. Along with British chemist James Lovelock, Margulis was the co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis. She was a strong critic of neo-Darwinism. In 2001, she was honored with the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. 

 2 
James Watson
(Molecular Biologist Who Co-discovered the Double Helix Structure of DNA With Francis Crick)
James Watson
13
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 3 
Hilary Putnam
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Hilary Putnam
4
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: March 13, 2016
 4 
Frank Drake
(American astronomer)
Frank Drake
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini

American astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake is best-known for developing Drake equation and for his involvement in search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including founding of modern SETI. He performed Project Ozma, the first SETI experiment for searching signs of life in distant planetary systems. He also designed content of Arecibo message, an interstellar radio message, sent to globular star cluster M13.

 5 
J. Allen Hynek
(Astronomer, Ufologist)
J. Allen Hynek
6
Birthdate: May 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Died: April 27, 1986

When the American government, baffled by unexplained sightings of flying objects, assigned J. Allen Hynek the task of solving the mystery, Hynek was sceptical. However, he later became the first person to scientifically analyze such sightings. He also established the "Close Encounter" classification system to study UFOs.

 6 
David A. Johnston
(American Volcanologist Who was Caught in the Midst of the Eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980)
David A. Johnston
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Died: May 18, 1980

David A. Johnston was an American volcanologist who was caught in the midst of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Johnston was killed during the eruption and his body was never found. David A. Johnston's life and career have inspired several documentaries, docudramas, and films.

 7 
Ed Boon
(Programmer, Engineer, Screenwriter, Computer scientist)
Ed Boon
4
Birthdate: February 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
 8 
C. W. Post
(Nutritionist)
C. W. Post
6
Birthdate: October 26, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: May 9, 1914
 9 
Mason Gamble
7
Birthdate: January 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
 10 
Robert Andrews Millikan
4
Birthdate: March 22, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Died: December 19, 1953

Nobel Prize-winning experimental physicist Robert Andrews Millikan had begun his career as a faculty member at the University of Chicago and penned countless physics books. He later devoted himself to his research on elementary electronic charge and the photoelectric effect. His famous oil-drop experiment is known to all physics enthusiasts.

 11 
Edward O. Thorp
(Mathematician, Writer, University teacher)
Edward O. Thorp
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
 12 
George Ellery Hale
(Astronomer, Journalist)
George Ellery Hale
2
Birthdate: June 29, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died: February 21, 1938

George Ellery Hale was an American solar astronomer. He discovered magnetic fields in sunspots, a discovery that gained him international fame. He played key roles in the planning or construction of several world-leading telescopes, including the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory. He was a major figure in the foundation of the International Union for Cooperation in Solar Research. 

 

 13 
Richard Hamming
(Contributions Include the Hamming Code, The Hamming Window & Hamming Numbers)
Richard Hamming
5
Birthdate: February 11, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: January 7, 1998
 14 
Karl Patterson Schmidt
(American Herpetologist)
Karl Patterson Schmidt
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: September 26, 1957

Karl Patterson Schmidt was a herpetologist. He studied biology and geology at Cornell University and realized his keen interest in herpetology. He later worked as a scientific assistant in herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. He undertook many collecting expeditions for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He died after being bitten by a boomslang snake. 

 15 
Clinton Davisson
(Physicist)
Clinton Davisson
2
Birthdate: October 22, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Died: February 1, 1958
 16 
Saul Perlmutter
(Astrophysicist)
Saul Perlmutter
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo

Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter has been associated with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. Born to a chemical engineering professor, Perlmutter grew up to co-discover the accelerating expansion of the Universe and later introduced innovative Berkeley courses such as Physics & Music.

 17 
Owen Daniels
(US Meteorologist and Former American Football Player)
Owen Daniels
0
Birthdate: November 9, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
 18 
Donald Johanson
(Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist, University teacher)
Donald Johanson
3
Birthdate: June 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer

Donald Johanson is a paleoanthropologist. He collaborated with Yves Coppens and Maurice Taieb to discover the fossil of a female hominin australopithecine in the Afar Triangle region of Hadar, Ethiopia. This fossil was named “Lucy". As an academician, he established the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley. He is the recipient of several awards and honors. 

 19 
David Blackwell
(Statistician)
David Blackwell
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Died: July 8, 2010
 20 
Robert Axelrod
(Mathematician, Professor, Political scientist)
Robert Axelrod
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
 21 
John Robert Schrieffer
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: July 27, 2019
 22 
David Patterson
(Computer scientist)
David Patterson
0
Birthdate: November 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
 23 
Edward Mills Purcell
3
Birthdate: August 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Died: March 7, 1997
 24 
Jerome Isaac Friedman
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
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 25 
Anita Borg
(Computer scientist)
Anita Borg
2
Birthdate: January 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: April 6, 2003
 26 
Thomas Cech
(Chemist)
Thomas Cech
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
 27 
James Cronin
(Physicist)
James Cronin
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Died: August 25, 2016
 28 
Gregory Chaitin
(Argentine-American Computer Scientist and Mathematician Who is Regarded as One of the Founders of 'Algorithmic Complexity')
Gregory Chaitin
2
Birthdate: June 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer

Gregory Chaitin is an Argentine-American computer scientist and mathematician. He is best known for his immense contributions to metamathematics and algorithmic information theory. Gregory Chaitin is regarded as one of the founders of algorithmic complexity along with Ray Solomonoff and Andrei Kolmogorov. Chaitin is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Leibniz Medal.

 29 
George Gaylord Simpson
(Paleontologist)
George Gaylord Simpson
2
Birthdate: June 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: October 6, 1984

George Gaylord Simpson was an American paleontologist. He was one of the 20th century's most influential paleontologists. Simpson, who wrote extensively on the taxonomy of extant mammals and fossils, is credited with coining the word hypodigm. From 1945 to 1959, he served as the curator of the Department of Paleontology and Geology at the American Museum of Natural History.

 30 
Mark Weiser
(Computer scientist)
Mark Weiser
2
Birthdate: July 23, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: April 27, 1999
 31 
Susan Solomon
(chemist)
Susan Solomon
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
 32 
Lester Frank Ward
(American Paleontologist, Botanist, and Sociologist Who Promoted Bringing Sociology Courses Into the Higher Education System in America)
Lester Frank Ward
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: April 18, 1913

Lester Frank Ward was an American paleontologist, botanist, and sociologist. He is best remembered for his service as the American Sociological Association's first president. Lester Frank Ward played an important role in bringing Sociology courses into the higher education system in America. 

 33 
Martin Chalfie
(American scientist)
Martin Chalfie
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
 34 
Bruce Beutler
(American Immunologist and Geneticist Known for His Discoveries Concerning the Activation of Innate Immunity)
Bruce Beutler
2
Birthdate: December 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn

Immunologist Bruce Beutler is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the innate immune system of the human body. The son of a scientist and physician, he was a child prodigy and graduated at age 18. He grew up to be associated with institutes such as the Scripps Research Institute.

 35 
Bruce Alberts
(American Biochemist Best Known for Having Served as President of the National Academy of Sciences (1993 - 2005))
Bruce Alberts
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries

Bruce Alberts switched to biophysics at Harvard after getting bored with physical chemistry. He later led the NAS as its president and co-wrote iconic text books such as Molecular Biology of the Cell. Apart from teaching at Princeton and Harvard, he worked to improve science education in schools.

 36 
Susan Lindquist
(American Molecular Biologist Who Made Key Discoveries Concerning Protein Folding)
Susan Lindquist
4
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: October 27, 2016

Cell biologist and MIT professor Susan Lindquist is best remembered for her research on protein folding and its impact on diseases. The Harvard alumna had also taught at the University of Chicago for 23 years. She was also the first female director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

 37 
Ben Roy Mottelson
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer

Nobel Prize-winning Danish-American physicist Ben Roy Mottelson is best known for his research on asymmetrical shapes of atomic nuclei. A Harvard alumnus, he later taught at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Nuclear Physics in Copenhagen. He has been named to the American Philosophical Society, too, among other honorary organizations.

 38 
Paul Sereno
(American Paleontologist)
Paul Sereno
2
Birthdate: October 11, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra

Paul Sereno is an American professor of paleontology who works at the University of Chicago. Sereno also serves as an explorer-in-residence for National Geographic and is credited with discovering many new dinosaur species, including an almost complete specimen of SuperCroc. Over the years, Paul Sereno and his discoveries have been featured in several documentaries. 

 39 
Paul Flory
(Chemist)
Paul Flory
2
Birthdate: June 19, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: September 9, 1985
 40 
H. Robert Horvitz
2
Birthdate: May 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
 41 
Alfred Sturtevant
(Geneticist)
Alfred Sturtevant
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Died: April 5, 1970

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.

 42 
Robert W. Holley
(Biochemist)
Robert W. Holley
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: February 11, 1993

Biochemist and Nobel laureate Robert W. Holley is best known for his research on the genetic code and its impact on protein synthesis. The Cornell alumnus focused on studying RNA after his year-long stint at Caltech in the mid-1950s. He has also worked at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

 43 
Edmund Beecher Wilson
(American Zoologist and Geneticist Known for His Researches in Embryology and Cytology)
Edmund Beecher Wilson
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Died: March 3, 1939

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.

 44 
Andrew E. Lange
(Astrophysicist)
Andrew E. Lange
2
Birthdate: July 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: January 22, 2010
 45 
Herman Goldstine
(Mathematician)
Herman Goldstine
2
Birthdate: September 13, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Died: June 16, 2004
 46 
Grote Reber
(Amateur Astronomer)
Grote Reber
2
Birthdate: December 22, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: December 20, 2002

Grote Reber is remembered as a pioneer of American radio astronomy. The radio engineer made the world’s first radio telescope, which helped detect celestial signals. He won several awards for his research, including the Elliott Cresson Medal. The asteroid 6886 Grote was named after him.

 47 
Vincent du Vigneaud
1
Birthdate: May 18, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Died: December 11, 1978

Vincent du Vigneaud was a biochemist who won the 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is remembered for his extensive work on the cyclic peptide oxytocin. He also conducted considerable research on insulin, biotin, transmethylation, and penicillin. He studied at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Rochester and proceeded to have a brilliant academic career.  

 48 
Agnes Meyer Driscoll
(Cryptologist)
Agnes Meyer Driscoll
1
Birthdate: July 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: September 16, 1971
 49 
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
(US Geologist and Educator Who Suggested the Planetesimal Hypothesis)
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Died: November 15, 1928

US geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin proposed the theory of planetesimal hypothesis. Initially the chief geologist of the Wisconsin Geological Survey, he later joined the US Geological Survey. An educator, too, he was associated with the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was also the founder-editor of The Journal of Geology.

 50 
Étienne de Boré
(Agriculturalist)
Étienne de Boré
1
Birthdate: December 27, 1741
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: February 1, 1820

Étienne de Boré was a Creole French planter best remembered for producing Louisiana's first granulated sugar. His innovation encouraged planters to cultivate sugar cane in large quantities as it helped make sugar cane profitable as a commodity.