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History'sGreatestThinkersintheSciences

Whatsfascinatingisthathumanshavethecapacitytoaskquestionsabout
theirsurroundings.Someareobviousbutbynomeanseasy:
1. Istheearththecenteroftheuniverse.ScientistslikeKepler,
Galileosuffereddearlyforthinkingotherwiseeventhoughthey
presentedirrefutableevidence.
2. Whydoesarocksinkbutashipholding100sofpeoplefloat.
Archimedesexplanationisatributetotheanalyticalwayto
approachsuchproblems.

However,thesephenomenonwerepartofeverydayexperience.So,ina
sense,theproblemswereinplainsight.But,thereareseveralothers
thatwereinvisible.Thesearesomeofthem:

Itsalwaysdifficulttoimaginetheexplanationfornaturalphenomena.
Theliteratureissparseandrarelycanhelp.Thus,itsallthemore
remarkablewhensomeonepresentsacogent,wellthoughtoutandcomplete
explanationforaphenomenathatmankindneverbotheredtoquestion
before.

Herearesomeofthemtogetherwithwhattheydid.

Archimedes
Hisanalysisofwhyboatsfloatisbreathtakinginitsappealtologic.
Also,hispresentationoftheLawoftheLeversisanoutstandingexample
ofclearandprecisethinking.

Godel:
Hegavetheworldtheincompletenessproof.Thatis,therearesome
systemsinwhichstatements
aretrue,butwhichcannotbeproved.Thisisanartifactofthe
mathematicalprinciplesthatmandeveloped.And,theresultswereso
bizarrethatittookgeniusjusttorecognizethequestion.Godelnotonly
formulatedthequestion,heprovidedaconvincingexplanation.

Galois:
Hegaveusanewwayatlookingatthesolvabilityofequations.
Specifically,heshowed
thatpolynomialsofdegree5orgreatercannotbesolvedinradicals.The
most
puzzlingthingaboutthisiswhy5?What'ssospecialabout5?

IsaacNewton
Discoverythattheforcethatattractsanappletothegroundisthesame

onethatcausesplanetstoorbitthesun.Thisobservationisnotobvious
oneiscelestialwhiletheotherisacommoneverydayoccurrence.

Gelfand:
FineRussianMathematician.Hisbooksareadelighttoread.Helooksat
simpleproblems
butforwhichsimpleapproacheswillnotwork.

Galileo
Discoverythatdifferentobjectsthrownfromthesameheightwillreach
thegroundatthesametime.
Thisobservationishighlycounterintuitive.Mostpoeplewouldreason
thattheheavierobjectfallstothegroundearlier.Thisobservationis
incorrect.Theheavierobjectfallswithgreaterforce,butdoesn'tfall
earlier.

AlbertEinstein
Discoverythatnothingcantravelfasterthanthespeedoflight.
Again,mostpeoplewouldequatetheireverydayexperienceaboutjumping
off
movingtrainsandconcludethatalightbeamemittedfromarocketwould
travelfaster
thanoneemittedfromtheground.But,Einsteinobservedthatlightisan
electromagneticphenomenaamovingelectricfieldcausesamoving
magneticfield
whichinturncausesamovingelectricfield.Thisprocessis
selfsustainingand
doesn'tneedanyoutsidehelp(likeamovingtrain)tokeepitgoing.