Tag Archives: Scientists

New and Updated Meta-Lists: Guitarists and Scientists

I recently added two new meta-lists to the Make Lists, Not War website:

Best Guitarists of All Time – Ranked
Best Guitarists of All Time – Chronological

(Spoiler Alert: I did not make it onto the list! But if you want to hear me play and sing, check out this website.)

I also updated the Greatest Scientists of All Time – Ranked meta-list and added a new meta-list: Greatest Scientists of All Time – Chronological.

Feel free to check them out!

They Blinded Us with Science

“So little time – so much to know!”  – Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D.

I’ve been taking a break from blogging about the arts to spend some time with the sciences. I’ve immersed myself in discoveries, inventions, explorations, and observations.  I’ve been learning (or relearning) about black holes, internal combustion engines, photosynthesis, neurotransmitters, planes, trains and automobiles, the Krebs cycle, the ozone layer, dinosaurs, gravitation, the periodic table, inertia, entropy, psychoanalysis, safety pins, parachutes, plate tectonics, washing machines, sewing machines, evolution, radio waves, the speed of light, hydrothermal vents, animal domestication, genetic modification and The Pill.  I watched the rise and fall of catastrophism, vitalism, phlogiston, luminiferous aether, spontaneous generation, the oar-powered submarine and the steam-powered automobile.  For those easily intimidated by science, I promise you that lying just beneath all the names and dates, technical terms and and chemical and mathematical formulas, are lots of fascinating stories and unforgettable characters.  I even sneaked in a couple of jokes here and there – extra points for those who find them.

Here are my four new science lists:

Most Important Scientific Discoveries of All Time
This meta-list contains all the discoveries and inventions on three or more of the 17+ lists I found.  They are organized by rank, with the most-listed discoveries on top.  Accompanying each discovery is an illustration of some kind and a short essay about the topic.

Most Important Scientific Discoveries – Chronological
Similar to the first list, but this one is organized chronologically, so you can get a better sense of the history of science, and it includes all the discoveries/inventions that were on two or more of the 17+ original source lists.  Because this list was so long, I decided not to add illustrations, although I may change my mind on this.

The Greatest Scientists of All Time
If you’ve been following along, you know how this works.  I found lots of ‘greatest scientists of all time’ lists and combined them into a meta-list.  This list is organized by rank, meaning that the scientists on the most lists are at the top.  For each scientist, I’ve included a short description of his or her achievements, as well as birth and death dates, country of origin and a picture.

Timeline of Science and Technology
If you’re short on time and want an overview of scientific knowledge, this is the list for you.  I combined the Scientific Discoveries, Greatest Scientists and Best Inventions lists, mixed in some of the Art and Architecture lists, and then threw in some random information (worst floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; milestones of human evolution; the formation of the universe, our solar system, etc.).  The result is a somewhat eclectic selection of events that have occurred over the last 13.8 billion years, with emphasis on the last 400 years or so.   Each entry is only a sentence long, so this one is perfect for those with short attention spans.  And there are pictures.

I hope you’ll  take a look.  And feel free to leave a comment.

People, People Who List People…

We often hear that one person can make a difference.  I suppose that belief underlies the latest meta-list I’ve created: The Most Influential People of All Time.  Individuals whose actions, ideas, and beliefs have made a significant contribution to the world we live in.  In fact, while most of the 20 lists I found were called “Most Important People” or “Most Influential People”, some of them were called “People Who Changed The World.”  (Note that there is no moral judgment here – for better or for worse, the changes led us to where we are now.)  But as I collected the lists of kings, queens, sultans, politicians, generals, scientists, inventors, authors, activists, revolutionaries and philosophers, I began to question this emphasis on the individual.  The general may be a strategic genius, but it is his troops who do most of the fighting and dying.  The scientist may have made a crucial discovery, but only because of the many earlier discoverers that laid down the path where she took the next step.  Then there is the bizarre phenomenon that throughout history, many important discoveries or inventions occurred simultaneously in multiple locations, completely independent of one another.  There are also changes brought about by communities and cultures, the leaderless masses.  Every individual is affected by these amorphous generalities – community, culture, nation – in countless specific ways that affect the products of his or her mind and hands.  I hope you enjoy the list of influential individuals, but before you give them all the credit or blame for their accomplishments, think about the individuals, communities and cultures that influenced them.

Before you click over to the list, here’s a sneak peek.  I’ve organized the big list chronologically by date of birth, with the rankings tucked away in parentheses at the end of each entry.  For those of you more into rank than chronology, I’ve listed the top 28 most influential people below.

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Karl Marx
  3. Marie Curie
  4. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  5. William Shakespeare
  6. Sir Isaac Newton
  7. Napoleon Bonaparte
  8. Abraham Lincoln
  9. Charles Darwin
  10. Thomas Alva Edison
  11. Adolf Hitler
  12. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  13. Buddha
  14. Confucius
  15. Aristotle
  16. Alexander the Great
  17. Jesus of Nazareth
  18. Christopher Columbus
  19. Leonardo da Vinci
  20. George Washington
  21. Nelson Mandela
  22. Plato
  23. Galileo Galilei
  24. Louis Pasteur
  25. Sigmund Freud
  26. Henry Ford
  27. Winston Churchill
  28. Mao Zedong

Here is the big list: The Most Influential People of All Time