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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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.

By Tara Yarlagadda

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.

By Dave Roos

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

By Jesslyn Shields


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.

By Kate Kershner

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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.

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.

By Nicholas Gerbis


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?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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?

By Shanna Freeman

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.

By Nathan Chandler

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.

By Gerlinda Grimes


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.

By John Perritano

"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.

By Shanna Freeman