Big Thinkers

A few incredible individuals are responsible for some of the biggest innovations. Learn about those who changed the world by thinking outside the box.


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Jerry Lawson Forever Changed the Video Game Industry

If you're a gamer, you've got Jerry Lawson to thank for inventing the first commercial home video game console with interchangeable game cartridges.

Eugenics Overshadows the Legacy of Scientific Genius Francis Galton

Galton was a pioneer in meteorology, psychology, statistics, biometrics, forensics and anthropology. But all of that is overshadowed by his promotion of and work on eugenics.

Jane Goodall: A Global Face for Global Peace

In her legendary 60-year career, Jane Goodall has made being an intrepid scientist, environmentalist, writer and teacher look easy.

Atomic Bombs, Asteroids and JFK: The Wild Ideas of Physicist Luis Alvarez

Alvarez won the Nobel Prize for his work in particle physics. But he also created a detonator for atomic bombs, and even thought the U.S. should make a hydrogen bomb.

Lego Will Create a 'Women of NASA' Set

The set of pioneering real-life scientists beat out other fan proposals including "Voltron," "Star Wars" and "Spaceballs" characters.

13 Super Fun Facts and Quotes From Our Instagram

Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, "No one is dumb who is curious." Curious to see what else you'll find besides that great quote on HowStuffWorks' Instagram account?

Greatest Tech Masterminds of All Time

These techno-wizards shaped our world with their inventions and ideas. Get to know some of our favorite tech masterminds, from Babbage, Turing and Lovelace to their modern equivalents.

What device did Douglas Engelbart invent?

If this were trivia night, your team could probably summon this answer without breaking a sweat. But in true polymath style, Engelbart's signature invention is only part of his computer genius. Meet him.

How MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowships Work

Although the MacArthur Foundation never intended to promote them that way, the financial awards it doles out have come to be known as "genius" grants. How are the recipients chosen?

What computer defeated a champion chess player?

Human beings seem to love building machines that can beat us at our own game -- sometimes literally. How can chess computers vanquish human chess masters -- and which machine was the first to do so?

10 Nobel Laureates Whose Work Changed the World

Sure, Nobel Prize winners get money, a medal and bragging rights, but the rest of us often benefit from their accomplishments, too. Meet 10 of these game-changing people.

Who popularized the term 'virtual reality'?

The concept of virtual reality is nothing new, but we bet you didn't know that a quirky, math-loving, dreadlocked dude is famous for coining the term. Meet Jaron Lanier.

5 Technologists Who Have Benefited Humankind

Technology has paved the way for all sorts of changes in our world. These are five of the people behind some of the greatest technological changes to benefit humankind.

Who is the 'Mother of the Internet'?

"Father of the Internet" is a term you might have heard, but does the Internet have a founding mother, too? Meet the engineer behind the moniker -- and find out what she thinks of the title.