Famous Scientists

You may have heard the names Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie before, but do you know what they contributed to science? Here you can learn about some of the most famous scientists in the world.


Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia Helena (1900-1979) was a British-born astronomer who became an authority on variable stars (stars that change in brightness) and the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Young, Charles Augustus (18341908), a United States astronomer noted for his spectroscopic studies of the sun.

Abbot, Charles Greeley (1872-1973), a United States astrophysicist and authority on solar radiation.

Mason, Charles (1730-1787), an English astronomer and surveyor. In addition to surveying the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, Jeremiah Dixon and he fixed the precise measure of a degree of latitude in America.

Messier, Charles (1730-1817), a French astronomer, discovered or independently codiscovered some 20 comets, earning him the nickname the “ferret of comets” by King Louis XV.

Tombaugh, Clyde William (1906-1997) was an American astronomer who discovered the dwarf planet Pluto.

Levy, David H. (1948) is an amateur astronomer who helped discover the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet.

Rittenhouse, David (1732-1796), a United States astronomer and mathematician. Next to Benjamin Franklin, he was the most respected American man of science of his time.

Rosse, William Parsons, Third Earl of (1800-1867), a British astronomer and engineer.

Halley, Edmund (1656?1743), an English astronomer and scientist. He is best known for his studies of thehcomet that bears his name.

Barnard, Edward Emerson (1857-1923), a United States astronomer. He discovered 16 comets, Jupiter's fifth satellite, and many dark nebulae.

Hubble, Edwin P. (Powell) (18891953), a United States astronomer. Hubble revolationized astronomy by showing that the universe is much larger than had been previously believed and by providing observational evidence for the theory of an expanding universe.

Eudoxus of Cnidus (NY duhs or kuh NY duhs) (400 B.C.?-350 B.C.?) was a Greek astronomer who made important contributions to the field of geometry.

Pease, Francis Gladheim (18811938), a United States astronomer and optician. Pease made photographic and spectrographic studies of the moon, the planets, star clusters, and nebulae.

Smith, Francis Graham (1923-) is a British astronomer and one of the leading authorities on radio astronomy, the branch of astronomy that studies celestial bodies by measurement and analysis of the electromagnetic radiation they emit in the wavelength range from 1 mm to 30 mm.

Hoyle, Sir Fred (19152001), a British astronomer, noted for research on the development of stars.

Whipple, Fred Lawrence (1906-) was an American astronomer who was the first to suggest that the nucleus of a comet resembled a “dirty snowball.” His research led to insights regarding the behavior of meteors and the nature of the upper atmosphere and helped establish the modern view of comets.

Argelander, Friedrich Wilhelm August (1799-1875) was a Finnish-German astronomer and professor of astronomy who compiled the Banner Durchmusterung, a catalog which recorded the positions and magnitudes of 324,198 stars of the northern celestial hemisphere.

Bessel, Friedrich Wilhelm (1784-1846), a German astronomer, was the first to measure stellar parallax, an apparent change in a star's position as a result of the earth orbiting the sun.

Davidson, George (1825-1911), a United States geographer and astronomer. He was born in Nottingham, England, and came to the United States in 1832.

Hale, George Ellery (18681938), a United States astronomer. He was a pioneer in the field of astrophysics, which uses the techniques of physics to study the physical qualities of the sun and other stars, and was especially noted for his studies of the sun.

Kuiper, Gerard Peter (1905-1973), a Dutch-American astronomer. An authority on the earth's moon, he directed the research on selection of sites for the manned moon landings of 1969-72.

Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginia (18351910), an Italian astronomer. He is best known for his studies of Mars, begun in 1877, in which he described in detail the Martian canals.

Shapley, Harlow (1885-1972), a United States astronomer. His studies of stars in globular clusters and of Cepheid variable stars led to a new understanding of the structure of the universe.

Hogg, Helen Sawyer (1905-1993) was an American-born Canadian astronomer. She became known for her research on variable stars —stars whose light regularly varies in brightness because of their pulsating atmospheres.