(February 15, 1564 – January 8, 1642)

Skilled in mathematical physics, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the “father” of modern science. His insistence on facts (rather than myths) incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church. But he weathered the storm admirably; thus, ushering-in this contemporary age of scrutiny, research and candor. If all scientists are like Galileo, the truth and nothing but the truth, would be the lot of science. A young Isaac Newton adored him; and was greatly influenced by his excellent investigative methodologies. He would later describe him as the giant on whose shoulders he stood in order to see farther. Apart from defending science resolutely in the face of ruinous consequences, Galileo made other enduring contributions. His experiments on optics, astronomy and mechanics are well-documented. He conclusively proved the uniform acceleration of falling bodies. He is also credited with inventing thermoscope: the forerunner of thermometer. In 1625, Giovanni Faber coined the term “microscope”, while watching Galileo work with an assembled set of magnifiers. And in 1656, Christiaan Huygens developed the pendulum clock after studying his works. Even after three centuries, a grateful Albert Einstein praised him and Newton for indirectly introducing the concept of Relativity. Now, he is revered above all else for entrenching probity: through careful observations, meticulous experimentations and analyses, as the bedrock of science. A spacecraft, an asteroid and four Jupiter moons are named after Galileo. Among his notable students is Vincenzo Viviani: the scientist who influenced Isaac Barrow (Cambridge’s first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics) who later mentored Isaac Newton.


  1. It appears like your website ate my first comment. It was super long, so, I guess I’ll just sum up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your wonderful blog.

  2. Any reason why Darwin name is missed in this list. He may not be a physicist, but without him the idea of evolution in living things would have taken lot more time for humans understand. He is the first to explore the uncharted territory ripe with oppositions from all religious groups. Just the attempt of writing it as a book was a bold step. In that sense I would say Darwin is as important or greater than Galileo

    • Hi Karthick
      It is unfortunate that one of your favorites failed to make the list. Our limit is 100, and the four evaluative criteria are: overall ability, versatility, productivity and developmental influences. Neither myths nor hypes were allowed any role.
      Thank you!

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