I'm the first to admit when i have a bias when it comes to my favourite scientific discoveries. The discoveries i list here are ones that should be known. They have caused paradigm shifts, creating the very scientific framework we are taught, teach and live with everyday.
Almost every century there are a number of great scientific discoveries and here we celebrate the TOP 10 SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES (THEORIES) THAT YOU MUST KNOW.
10. Information theory: Claude Shannon, 1948
Close your eyes and imagine a world without computers or sophisticated electronics...Difficult one?
Whilst not really considered by many as a revolutionary theory. Shannon's Information Theory had provided the mathematical foundation for a lot of other revolutionary developments involving electronic communication and computer science.
I guess you could say Shannon laid the foundation for people to add bits and bobs...Get it ?
9. Game theory: John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, 1944 (with important embellishments from John Nash in the 1950s)
First developed for Economics, where it didn't really make a revolutionary step. Although, Game Theory was widely accepted by many other social sciences.
It Applies to everyday games such as American Football and Poker.
It also lent hand in the field of Biology where "Evolutionary Game Theory" was coined.
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers. It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic and computer science. Originally, it addressed zero-sum games, in which one person's gains result in losses for the other participants. Today, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioural relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in humans, animals, and computers.
Fun Fact : John Nash received a Noble Prize for his contributions to Game Theory.
8. Plate tectonics: Alfred Wegener, 1912; J. Tuzo Wilson, 1960s
Wegeners work was considered what most would call a "fringe theory" (BS) for around 50 YEARS.
IN 1912 he theorised that the worlds continents slowly drifted around the earth. Of course this is stuff we learn in school now. But for 1912 this was disregarded and titled pseudo science.
Tuzo Wilson would later contribute massively to Plate Tectonics. A larger than land comprehensive theory surrounding Wegeners work would later be published.
Fun Fact : Alfred Wegener died before wilsons work was published and accepted by the wider community.
7. Oxygen theory of combustion: Antoine Lavoisier, 1775
He didn't exactly discover oxygen...
Though he did figure out that there was a gas that combined with substances as they burned.
Lavoisier shot down phlogiston theory and was the key proponent in the development of modern chemistry.
Fun Fact : Lavoisier was also a tax collector. He took part in the French Revolution. He would later be made prisoner and executed in the French revolution.
6. Statistical mechanics: James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann, J. Willard Gibbs, late 19th century
By explaining heat in terms of the statistical behaviour of atoms and molecules, statistical mechanics made sense of thermodynamics and also provided strong evidence for the reality of atoms.
This also helped us understand the function of atoms and described the physical properties of matter (Such as viscosity, thermal conductivity and diffusion).
Besides that, statistical mechanics established the role of probabilistic math in the physical sciences. Modern extensions of statistical mechanics (now called statistical physics) have been applied to everything from materials science and magnets to traffic jams and even game theory.(Remember that?)
5. Special relativity: Albert Einstein, 1905
In some ways special relativity was not so revolutionary, because it preserved a lot of classical physics. But come on. It merged space with time, matter with energy, made atomic bombs possible and lets you age slower during spaceflight. How revolutionary do you want to get?
Fun Fact : Albert was a Jew, Who knew ?!
4. General relativity: Einstein, 1915
General relativity was much more revolutionary than special relativity, because it ditched Newton’s law of gravity in favour of curved spacetime. This opened scientists’ eyes to the whole history of the expanding universe.
Einstein describes in his book that gravity is a geometric property of space and time, or spacetime. In particular, the curvature of spacetime is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present. The relation is specified by the Einstein field equations, a system of partial differential equations.
Fun Fact : Eintsein's eyeballs are preserved in a safe box in New York City.
3. Quantum theory: Max Planck, Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, Paul Dirac, 1900–1926
Quantum theory ripped the entire fabric of classical physics to shreds, demolished ordinary notions of the nature of reality, screwed up entire philosophies of cause and effect and revealed peculiarities about nature that nobody, no matter how imaginative, could ever have imagined. Seriously, it’s hard to believe it’s only Number 3.
Quantum Theory in physics is based on the principle that matter and energy have the properties of both particles and waves, created to explain the radiation of energy from a blackbody, the photoelectric effect, and the Bohr theory, and now used to account for a wide range of physical phenomena, including the existence of discrete packets of energy and matter, the uncertainty principle, and the exclusion principle.
Fun Fact : The Theory Originates from Max Planck who received a Noble Prize In Physics.
2. Evolution by natural selection: Charles Darwin, 1859
Darwin showed that the intricate complexity of life and the intricate relationships among life-forms could emerge and survive from natural processes, with no need for a designer or an ark. He opened the human mind to pursuing natural science unimpaired by supernatural prejudices. His theory was so revolutionary that some people still doubt it. They shouldn’t.
Fun Fact : Darwin wanted to be a doctor but could not stand the sight of blood.
1. Heliocentrism: Copernicus, 1543
One of the greatest insights ever, conceived by some ancient Greeks but established only two millennia later: the Earth revolves around the sun (as do other planets). It’s Number 1 because it was the first. Where did you think word revolutionary came from, anyway? (It was only rarely used to mean what it does today before Copernicus put revolutions in the title of his revolutionary book.)
Some eighteen centuries later Aristarchus of Samos also put the sun in the centre of the known universe and even plotted the known planets. He also theorised that stars were just other bodies like this sun, just very, very far away.
AMAZING SCIENCE !
Written By Drew Kelly