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Top 5 Greatest Scientists

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Knights View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 06:44
OK I know that these "greatest" or "best" threads are not the most intellectual, but we have not yet had a thread about the greatest scientists throughout history. Here is the place to post 5 particular scientists who you believe were the most brilliant, influential.etc. Everyone will interpret this in their own way, so feel free to disclose how you define "greatest".

I will post some suggestions to spark ideas, and save my top 5 until later (inevitable, lists will change, but that's completely fine). In their description, I have only mentioned a couple of things they were involved with.

Albert Einstein - relativity (special and general), wave-particle duality
Isaac Newton - universal gravitation, classical mechanics
Rosalind Franklin - x-ray diffraction, DNA structure
Gregor Mendel
- factors of inheritance, genetics
Georges Cuvier - paleontological extinction, geological catastrophism, anatomy
Erwin Schrodinger - quantum mechanics, schrodinger equation, complex molecules
Max Planck - quantum theory, black-body radiation
Ibn al-Haytham (al Basri) - intromission theory, inertia and momentum, scientific method
Archimedes - statics, infinite series
Aristotle - zoology, anatomy
Richard Feynman - path integral theory, quantum electrodynamics, superfluids
Stephen Hawking - cosmic inflation, density matrices, quantum gravity
Alan Turing - computer science, cryptology
Charles Darwin - natural selection, evolution
Francis Bacon - Baconian method,
Francis Crick - double helix structure, nucleic acids, biomolecules
James Watson - double helix structure, nucleic acids, biomolecules
Louis de Broglie - wave-particle duality, de Broglie theory/equation
Galileo Galilei - heliocentricity, kinematics
Thomas Edison - electricity, motion picture, fluoroscopy
Michael Faraday - electromagnetism, Faraday's electrochemical laws
Humphrey Davy - isolation of elements, electrochemistry
Dmitri Mendeleev - periodic table, atomic theory
Alessandro Volta - electrochemical series, voltaic pile
Chandra Bose - bose-einstein condensation, microwaves/radiowaves
Louis Pasteur - dispelling of spontaneous generation, pasteurisation
Nikola Tesla - AC current, mechanical resonance, electromagnetism
Robert Koch - Koch's postulates, infection, microbiology
al-Biruni - orthographical astrolabe, geodesy, biomedical sciences
Werner Heisenberg - uncertainty principle, Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics
Thomas Hunt Morgan - sex-linked inheritance, mutation
Walter Sutton - chromosomal inheritance, genomics
Theodor Boveri - chromosomal inheritance, comparative anatomy
al-Khazini - hydrostatic balance, elemental transmutation, gravitational energy
George Beadle - one-gene one-protein hypothesis, transcription/translation
Svante Arrhenius - electorlytic dissociation, acid/base theory
Neils Bohr - surface tension, correspondence principle, Bohr model of the atom
Hypatia - hydrometer, celestial charting


Edited by Knights - 27 Jun 2009 at 07:35
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Hello Knights
 
I think there should be some criteria for chosing who is greatest.
 
Einstein was a genius no doubt about that, I read his his book "Relativity" (don't worry, the book's math is within undergrads grasp) and only a guy with massive imagination and a damn good in maths can derive such theories. But what the hell are you going to do with the relativity theory? You can't use it to build buildings or desing cars because you don't need it (relativity domain is limited).
 
Newton on the other hand is something else altogether. He single handedly changed history more than any other scientists in history. Every single machine was experimental before him. He traslated the language of heaven into mathematics and not a single engineering discipline can work without utilizing one or more of his concepts.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 11:30
I'm missing Maxwell, Gauss and Huygens, from your list. Especially Maxwell was one of the greatest scientists of all times.
Edisson has nothing to do there. He was an inventor but first of all, an entrepeneur. His War of Currents alone disqualifes him from any 'greatest scientist' list. Compare him with Röntgen, who never took any patents nor wanted his discoveries to be named after him (especially the X-rays, though they were named after him in some countries anyway...).

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

 
Einstein was a genius no doubt about that, I read his his book "Relativity" (don't worry, the book's math is within undergrads grasp) and only a guy with massive imagination and a damn good in maths can derive such theories. But what the hell are you going to do with the relativity theory? You can't use it to build buildings or desing cars because you don't need it (relativity domain is limited).
 

Relativistic effects are important in several scientific and techological fields and its importance cannot be underestimated. You wouldn't have any particle accelerators without that, for example. The GPS system would not work without it either, so you can hardly say it's useless for practical purposes.



---
I'm not going to try to rank any though, since any such list is entirely subjective.


Edited by Styrbiorn - 27 Jun 2009 at 11:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 13:15
Just a couple of names who made contributions to our understanding of the Earth: 
 
Eratosthenes who calculated the circumference of the Earth already in the third century BC.
 
Alfred Wegener whos ideas about continental drift was a precursor to the modern science of plate tectonics. 
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 26 Sep 2009 at 23:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 17:37
Carl von Linne, who sorted up the nomenclature of plants and animals and introduced the binominal nomenclature where organisms have two names, one for their genus and one for their species. One example is Homo sapiens, it means the genus Homo (man and his extinct relatives as Homo erectus and similar) and the species sapiens (the wise, i e our own species).
 
He also revolutionized the study of plants with his sexual system where he sorted plants after characteristics in their reproductive organs (flowers and similar).
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 26 Sep 2009 at 23:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 18:47
Top 5? For me, the top ones are:
 
Pythagoras
Archimedes
Isaac Newton
Maxwell
Albert Einstein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 19:06
In chronological order:
Aristotle (for requiring theory to follow empirical observation, rejecting people like Plato)
 
Galileo (for rejecting received authority)
 
Kepler (for being the first to cross the watershed of abandoning his original premises because his öbservations proved him wrong)
 
Newton (for bringing to fruition on a massive scale the work of the precedent scientists that he stood on the shoulders of, and providing the framework within which his successors worked for nearly 300 years.)
 
Einstein (for proving Newton wrong and overturning the applecart)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 05:38
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello Knights
 
I think there should be some criteria for chosing who is greatest.
 
Einstein was a genius no doubt about that, I read his his book "Relativity" (don't worry, the book's math is within undergrads grasp) and only a guy with massive imagination and a damn good in maths can derive such theories. But what the hell are you going to do with the relativity theory? You can't use it to build buildings or desing cars because you don't need it (relativity domain is limited).
 
Newton on the other hand is something else altogether. He single handedly changed history more than any other scientists in history. Every single machine was experimental before him. He traslated the language of heaven into mathematics and not a single engineering discipline can work without utilizing one or more of his concepts.
 
Al-Jassas

Al Jassas,

In designing this topic, I thought it would be best for each person to share their own definition of greatest, because we are never going to agree on one. I see your definition has an inclination towards most practical discoveries - this is certainly a big factor. In regards to Einstein, I wouldn't say that his work is largely impractical and useless in things like industry, medicine.etc. His work in particle physics, mathematics, atomic chemistry and such, has greatly contributed to many industrial processes and provided a basis for many pieces of modern biomedical technologies. Examples of this are (as Styrbiorn pointed out) particle accelerators, cyclotrons, nuclear reactors and even MRIs. A lot of the time also, experimentation and theorising must be done as a foundation before discoveries can be translated into practical usage - Haber's invention of industrial ammonia production is an example. He devised the process, but it was Bosch that made it into a large-scale industrial process. In this instance, you cannot play down the role of Haber - the same applies for Einstein with many of his discoveries (I know I have been very broad, so I'm sorry about that).

Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

I'm missing Maxwell, Gauss and Huygens, from your list. Especially Maxwell was one of the greatest scientists of all times.
Edisson has nothing to do there. He was an inventor but first of all, an entrepeneur. His War of Currents alone disqualifes him from any 'greatest scientist' list. Compare him with Röntgen, who never took any patents nor wanted his discoveries to be named after him (especially the X-rays, though they were named after him in some countries anyway...).

Styrbiorn,

The list I have provided is merely a sample of suggestions for people, with a very brief overview of each's area of work - I fully understand that it is not a definitive list. For example, there's no Rutherford, Wallace or Imhotep (along with those which you mentioned). To Edison - I don't have such a high opinion of him for a number of reasons. One of those is as you said, the War of the Currents, in which he implemented what was essentially a propaganda campaign to downplay the effectiveness and highlight an apparent huge danger in AC electricity. Thankfully his case lost out in the end.

Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Carl von Linné, who sorted up the nomenclature of plants and animals and introduced the binominal nomenclature where organisms have two names, one for their genus and one for their species. One example is Homo sapiens, it means the genus Homo (man and his extinct relatives as Homo erectus and similar) and the species sapiens (the wise, i e our own species).
 
He also revolutionized the study of plants with his sexual system where he sorted plants after characteristics in their reproductive organs (flowers and similar).

Carcharodon, Carolus Linnaeus was certainly very influential for modern biology and taxonomy. And yes his contribution to science extended beyond just the system of binomial nomenclature, into physiology, behaviour and homology. Of course, his homological basis for classifcation has a host of exceptions and issues, and is largely being superceded by a genetic rather than anatomical system of classification.


Two scientists who are often ignored, but I greatly admire, are al Basri (Alhazen) and al Biruni. Both were Islamic scientists from the 10th/11th century, and both made discoveries centuries before Western counterparts. Examples include the precursor formulation to Baconian method, gravitational laws, numerous optical laws and celestial patterns and behaviour.

I think a topic has been made about al Basri before, on the old forum. The sheer extent of their works are breathtaking,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Biruni

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham

Regards,

- Knights -


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 08:35
Originally posted by Knights Knights wrote:



Styrbiorn,

The list I have provided is merely a sample of suggestions for people, with a very brief overview of each's area of work - I fully understand that it is not a definitive list. For example, there's no Rutherford, Wallace or Imhotep (along with those which you mentioned).


Aye, it wasn't criticism, I just wanted to add those guys.

About Edison: there was never a chance he would have succeeded with his War - a better technology always win in the end -  it was just that it clearly demonstrated that he foremost was a money-grubber, not a scientist.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 10:09
Hello to you all
 
Almost 90% of the technology we use right now is Newtonian physics. Even in most space and aviation application the use of relativity is little and the part of relativity used isn't even Einstein's work (Lorentz transforms which account for the changes in the physical shape of  were well known before Einstein used them). Einstein's work only appear when we talk nuclear and in astronomical theories. That is not to discredit the guy, he is a genius and only one of two guys in the world at that time who had the brains, but the other guy (Hilbert) not the interest, to do a work similar to his.
 
Turing is an extremely important figure that should not be forgotten. The guy simply invented computing theory and it was his theories that every computer on the planet uses.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 11:30
The question was about great scientists, not great technologists or engineers. Scientists - great ones  anyway - are people who bring us closer to the truth - in the sense of being better able to make accurate predictions about the universe.
 
And the greatest scientists are those that perfected the scientific method, not those who merely followed their path.
 
Missing from my list incidentally was someone from the quantum area, but I couldn't think of a single outstanding individual.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 12:55
There are just too many greats, so it's difficult to narrow it down to five!
I'll just make the list according to fame!
 
Aristotle (Father of Science? Some say that's Galileo, but I disagree)
Newton (He just got to be on a list like this)
Einstein (A bit unfair, since there are just so many revolutionary scientists from around the same time)
Mendel (could also be Darwin or Linné)
Alhazen* (first "true" scientist? Also called the father of Science just like Aristotle and Galileo)
 
*I suppose he's also known as al-Basri, and his real name is on the list by the OP!
 
 


Edited by Jams - 28 Jun 2009 at 12:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 15:32

Originally posted by Knights Knights wrote:


Carcharodon, Carolus Linnaeus was certainly very influential for modern biology and taxonomy. And yes his contribution to science extended beyond just the system of binomial nomenclature, into physiology, behaviour and homology. Of course, his homological basis for classifcation has a host of exceptions and issues, and is largely being superceded by a genetic rather than anatomical system of classification.

 

Linné also forwarded knowledge by sending out several of his students round the world on missions of discovery and collection. These travels contributed to increased knowledge in fields like botanics, zoology, geography, ethnography and other fields of knowledge. The collections of plant and animal specimens, the geological specimens and also the etnographica that the students brought home became very important for science and for the understanding of the world.

Many of the students also wrote books and essays about their travels and discoveries, writings that are of great value for schoolars of today and which also many times are rather exciting to read.
 
 
Se also the thread about the greatest explorers:
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 28 Jun 2009 at 18:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 16:00
Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:



About Edison: there was never a chance he would have succeeded with his War - a better technology always win in the end -  it was just that it clearly demonstrated that he foremost was a money-grubber, not a scientist.


Unfortunately Nikola Tesla found that out in an uncomfortable way as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 17:48
Would the Guiness family count as scientists?
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 19:12
Alec? And the white suit?
 
Sorry, that was just a movie Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 19:17
No, these guys:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinness_family

The original Guinness family!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 21:41
For whom I have the greatest respect.
 
But it doesn't taste the same over here.
 
Anecdote: Back in 1982 I was in Donegal with a friend and we deided to picnic in the harbour. We bought some incredibly cheap smoked salmon and went into an off-licence to buy some beer, deciding to ask for Guinness because of where we were.
 
I told the man we wanted to picnic but he asked "Would you like draught or bottled?"
 
"No," I said, "We're going to picnic so draught won't be much use."
 
"Ah," he said. "Sure, but we have draught Guinness in the bottle now."
 
I have to admit I thought "Only in Ireland", but yes it transpired Guinness had just introduced a porter you poured from the bottle into a glass, and used a disc thing that came with it to 'pull up' the head.
 
Nice town, Galway.
 
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I think that we need to be careful here. There is a tendency to conflate 'great' with 'influential'. The word great has moral and ethical implications. Not that that is inappropriate. Science is not value-free, but we need to recognize that just because someone's work was influential, does not mean they are 'great'.

And science is path dependent. There have been many 'great' scientists whose ideas just didn't catch on. And catching on has to do with 'actor networks' (see Bruno Latour -Science In Action).

There also seems to be a lot of conflation here between 'science' and 'technology'. I'm not suggesting they are unrelated, or even separable in many (perhaps most) cases. Just that often, scientists are revered because of the implications of the technology that their thinking has enabled, and it's pervasiveness within our society, not because they were necessarily the greatest investigators.
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Beyond that, and I know some of you might chafe at this, social science is science. And I don't see many social scientists here. If we are talking about influence, how about Marx, Freud, Hobbes, or Adam Smith?
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Finally, I don't see Descartes, without whom the reductionist science practiced by many on the original list would not be possible. 
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Welcome, DownBabylon, a fellow Michgander!  I like your first post.  Please check out our Archive( http://www.allempires.net/forums.html ), and also our Library (http://www.allempires.info/).  Some amazing stuff there....  Also take few minutes to read our Code of Conduct (http://www.allempires.net/forum/ae-code-of-conduct-terms-of-use_topic123940&FID=1&PR=3.html) and you amy introduce to yourself to us more formal way if you choose to(http://www.allempires.net/forum/introduce-yourself_topic123957.html), but not required though.  Alrighty then, fire it away and hopefully we leearn some and teach some from eachother while we are gain mutual respect and appreciation for eachother.  I welcome you again full heartedly.  See you around

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King Kang of Mu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2009 at 08:35
Originally posted by DownBabylon DownBabylon wrote:

Beyond that, and I know some of you might chafe at this, social science is science. And I don't see many social scientists here. If we are talking about influence, how about Marx, Freud, Hobbes, or Adam Smith?
 
 
Although I agree with you on that comment but we are talking about in rather traditional sense here I think.  I'm pretty sure there are many other sub-forums and threads you can discuss the influence of Marx, Freud, Hobbes, Smith and Descartes, if not you can make one.Wink  Come to think of it though Freud and Descartes might be suited for this thread.....Ermm
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Originally posted by Jams Jams wrote:

There are just too many greats, so it's difficult to narrow it down to five!
I'll just make the list according to fame!
 
Aristotle (Father of Science? Some say that's Galileo, but I disagree)
Newton (He just got to be on a list like this)
Einstein (A bit unfair, since there are just so many revolutionary scientists from around the same time)
Mendel (could also be Darwin or Linné)
Alhazen* (first "true" scientist? Also called the father of Science just like Aristotle and Galileo)
 
*I suppose he's also known as al-Basri, and his real name is on the list by the OP!
 
Pretty good selection. No matter I would change Aristotle by Archimedes who, in my oppinion, contributed a lot more to science than Aristotle. (At least, Archimedes pointed in the right direction LOL)
I am impressed you included Alhazen. The Middle Ages muslim genious most of the west ignores, but who is the father of optics. I wonder how perspective, the camera obscura and telescopes would have developed without this forgotten genious.


Edited by pinguin - 26 Sep 2009 at 12:45
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Originally posted by Styrbiorn Styrbiorn wrote:

I'm missing Maxwell, Gauss and Huygens, from your list. Especially Maxwell was one of the greatest scientists of all times.

Yes, Maxwell should be among the greatest.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia) 
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Ludwik Kowalski author of Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

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hi !! i am feeling great to join in this educational site Big smile 
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you are all famouse scientist name but not in reality so please dont  copy the namess of the famouse and greatest names in scientist world
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote limin456789 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 05:11
We also know that some visitors may jeer at any assessment of the gold industry that clues at a€?conspiracya€?. Wea€?re not dealing with fringe movement right here nonetheless; wea€?re dealing with absurdity. Following all, European main financial institutions are probably below the impact that the gold theya€?ve changed and/or given out remains lawfully theirs, which officially it may be. But if what we're suggesting Diablo iii Gold changes out to become appropriate, and these supplies aren't actually theirs; not actually in their possessiona€| then all wagers are off concerning the future of our monetary strategy.

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Robert Baird View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert Baird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Mar 2016 at 03:27
I saw some good names but I did not read all the posts. Were Tesla and Bucky Fuller mentioned. Fuller explained how Einstein arrived at his Theory of Relativity to Einstein who sent Fuller's book to his publisher. The publisher sent it to top physicists who said Fuller did not understand Relativity.

Einstein said there were only seven people who did and Fuller was one of them.

I would add Hecateus and a person he met who I doubt was mentioned - Abaris.
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