Top 10 Scientists Who Weren't Appreciated At Their Time

Tags: #NikolaTesla ,   #GalileoGalilei ,   #HeddyLamarr ,   #Science

Mark Kirchman

Mark Kirchman

Last updated:  2023-05-13 06:00:06

We live in a much more technologically progressive world than the generations before us. That's all because some geniuses were diligent and came up with innovations and thought of remarkable scientific theories. Sadly, some of them never got recognition for their groundbreaking work. Nevertheless, we now acknowledge many of them and couldn't imagine our existence without their works. So, here's the list of the top 10 scientists whose efforts people didn't appreciate during their lives.

10. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)

A life of an important man

We start our list with a Reinassance man, someone we're grateful for pushing knowledge about our galaxy. Today people know about Giordano as an astronomer and a leader in heliocentric theory back in the day. Contrary to the general view at the time and uneducated public highly influenced by the Church dogma, he kept his beliefs.

Thus, Bruno was one of the astronomers working to prove that the Earth is not standing in one place and the rest of the galaxy is turning around it. Instead, he promoted the theory of the Sun being in the center with Earth and other planets circling around. In the end, he paid it with his life because the Church officials gave an order for him to get burned alive!

9. Galileo Galilei (1564-1641)

Truly an inspiration

Here's another Reinassance man who lived for science, but you weren't supposed to publish or read his books. Just like Giordano Bruno, Galileo was a supporter of a heliocentric theory. Besides this, we remember him as someone who influenced astronomy by using telescopes more than anyone before and discovered satellite moons.

Eventually, the Roman Inquisition accused Galileo of rewriting the Bible because he was spreading the word about his discoveries. Therefore, the Church ordered him to be on house arrest and read parts of the Holy Book daily for three years! However, today we know that Galileo was correct, and we expanded our knowledge deeply in this scientific field.

8. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

If we could just thank him more for all of his inventions

Next is the man whose name you have probably heard, not necessarily because of his achievements, but because of the famous car company. Nikola Tesla was born in Austrian Empire, in a humble family in modern-day Croatia. He became one of the most prolific scientific inventors of his generation, ending his life alone and broke in one hotel in New York City.

Today we have more than 700 inventions in the field of the electromagnetic branch left by this genius. After him, we call magnetic flux density, but Tesla also influenced radio-remote control and many other areas. The Nobel committee nominated him for the prize, but he didn't want to share it with Thomas Edison, who also worked in this scientific field.

7. Jonas Salk (1914-1995)

Very humble scientist

We're grateful to this man for inventing the first polio vaccine, which saved countless lives. Jonas didn't even patent it so that the vaccine could get distributed globally more easily. First, he tested it on his family and afterward did a major control group involving two million kids!

Half of them got the vaccine, and the other half placebo. It was a sudden success, and the rate of infected kids dropped 90% just after two years! Nevertheless, we can imagine many people who would want financial gain from a situation like this. Yet, Jonas was pure-hearted, and while he did get a lot of attention during his life, he deserved more!

6. John Snow (1813-1858)

Helpful video about this man's work

Reread the name - it's not JON Snow from "Game of the Thrones"! Instead, here we have a leading 19th-century physician who helped develop anesthesia. John will be remembered as the man who stepped up his game by changing medical hygiene and modern epidemiology! What would he do with the COVID pandemic, we wonder?

His life work was finding the source of a cholera outbreak in London in 1854. Once he removed the water pump handle, the problem started disappearing. Later, according to his ideas, changes happened to the wastewater system in Britain's capital, later adopted by other cities around the globe.

5. Rosalin Franklin (1920-1958)

Excellent TED-Ed clip about this astonishing woman

This lady hugely impacted science in the first half of the 20th century but sadly died of young age and never got fully recognized. However, today her work is much appreciated, and we can find several scientific centers, and competitions, named after her. The movie "Life Story" from the 1980s is about her revolutionary work.

Franklin worked on understanding the structures of DNA and RNA, for which a group of three scientists won a Nobel Prize for Science just four years after her death. That's one out of two (!) Nobel Prizes she's part of. Before her passing, she did pioneer work on structures of viruses, and in 1982 her colleague won a Nobel Prize for continuing and finishing this research!

4. Emmy Noether (1882-1935)

She was indeed a genius!

At the dawn of the 20th century, not many people even heard about this astonishing woman, especially her work. Yet, Emmy now represents one of the most influential women in the history of mathematics and algebra. Because of her Jewish background, Nazis in Germany forbid her work, so she moved to America.

She developed Noether's theorem, which was very influential and used in mathematics. Even legendary Albert Einstein employed this theorem in his groundbreaking work! Sadly, Emmy died of cancer in her 50s, so we can only wonder how much more helpful stuff she would produce if she had more time!

3. Leo Szilard (1898-1951)

Interesting movie about Leo!

This Hungarian-American scientist is one of the most important people behind the powerful Manhattan project! Scholars know Leo best for developing nuclear reactors and describing nuclear chain reactions. But he didn't have much luck in his life because of the two World wars, which required him to flee several times.

Firstly, he studied in Hungary when he moved away because of WWI. Secondly, when Hitler came to power, he moved to the USA, where he continued his work. Furthermore, he helped many of his colleagues escape the Nazi regime. Later in his life, he even worked on cloning the first human cell!

2. Ida Noddack (1896-1978)

Ida stands side-by-side next to legendary Marie Curie!

Next on our list is a woman nominated three (!) times for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry! Furthermore, she's one of the people who worked to figure out the idea of nuclear fission and a new element, rhenium! She spent her whole career in German laboratories and scientific centers.

Due to the Wall Street crash in 1929, many job positions were in danger. Furthermore, the new law forbids married women from working to become housewives. However, Ida managed to continue her work as an unpaid collaborator. Still, many male colleagues looked down on her because of that. We wonder how many women never fulfilled what they wanted to achieve in science.

1. Heddy Lamarr (1914-2000)

She managed to combine Hollywood glamor and the brains!

First on our list is a woman with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a place in the Nationals Inventors Hall of Fame! She starred in several movies during the 1930s and 1940s, with the most recognized being "Samson and Delilah." However, she had a turbulent life, which included six divorces.

George Antheil and her developed a radio guidance system to help the Allies in WWII. Unfortunately, the army didn't acknowledge this effort until the 1960s. Nevertheless, GPS and WIFI work on the same principle today! We should all be extremely grateful to this lady for her fantastic work!

We live unaware of many brave and successful scientists who work countless hours to develop a theory or patent. Those inventories can undoubtedly change our lives, and that's why everyone should keep better attention and have more understanding of science! Unfortunately, in many cases, people neglect the work of individuals because of their religion, genre, or greed. Hopefully, we passed that point in history, and we see the difference in how technology and science can improve our lives for the better!

Do you know some scientists that people didn't fully appreciate during their lives? Do you have your favorite scientist?

Photo: geralt/Pixabay



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