Andy's Math/CS page

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Scientific Canon (I)

What is the scientific canon? A pantheon of immortal brilliance? A self-serving narrative of the dominant paradigm? A paean to dead white males?

Let me suggest a simpler, working definition: you know you've made it into the scientific canon when your name is writ large on the main building at MIT, stately-like, with any U's written as V's.

There's quite a procession of them, and I was struck by how many of their names were unknown to me. If I know at least half of the names in the latest Theory conference, shouldn't I also know who's made a lasting impression on science as a whole? Well, readers, here's part one of the list; how do you fare?

If anyone wants to chime in about interesting people on the list, please feel welcome. The names appear in blocks, as indicated, with certain key names especially large, and there is definitely some amount of thematic/historical grouping... what can you observe? There's a slight possibility some names are misspelled, since a few were well-hidden by tall trees.

Finally, I should note that some of these people might not, strictly speaking, be considered scientists. But, I've set my criterion--they're up on the wall, so into the canon they go.


BLACK * RUMFORD * JOVLE * CLAVSIVS

CARNOT * TELFORD * STEPHENSON

DE LESSEPS * RANKINE * EADS

COPERNICVS



GVERICKE * TORRICELLI * CHLADNI

HVYGENS * YOVNG * ARAGO * FRESNEL

LAGVERRE * KIRCHHOFF * ROWLAND

DARWIN



ICTINVS * PHIDIAS * VITRVVIVS * GIOTTO

ANTHEMIVS * DE COVCY

BRUNELLESCHI * WREN * BVLFINCH

LEONARDO DA VINCI



GVTENBERG * WATT * ARKWRIGHT

WHITNEY * PERKINS * FVLTON * FAIRBAIRN

FROVDE * OTTO DE LAVAL * WRIGHT

ARCHIMEDES



GILBERT * COVLOMB * VOLTA * OERSTED

AMPERE * OHM * HENRY * MAXWELL

MORSE * SIEMENS * GRAMME * HERTZ

FARADAY

9 Comments:

  • Some of these are engineers, not scientists. MIT is primarily an engineering school, after all. =)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:31 PM  

  • Right, like I said. Others are architects... I'm just working with what I've got here.

    By Anonymous Andy, at 1:02 PM  

  • Recognize maybe a quarter, but it's mostly physics and astronomy people. Most of them I havn't really heard of directly, but things and effects have been named after them, like "carnot cycle", "ohm", "fresnel lens" and "Giotto space probe".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:48 AM  

  • Andy, the biggest problem with the "MIT canon" is that when they carved that facade around 1916, they didn't leave any extra space. So no Einstein, no Dirac, no Crick & Watson, no Karp...

    By Blogger Scott, at 10:54 AM  

  • No Newton?

    I'm fairly sure I've seen a building with Newton, Evler, Gavss etc... Either you missed it, or my memory is bad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 AM  

  • As I said, this is just part one of the list (I got tired of craning my neck)... part two might not be for awhile, given how slushy the grounds have suddenly become.

    By Anonymous andy, at 12:59 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous generic viagra, at 1:48 PM  

  • This is very good, indeed those were some amazing names that make amazing contributions to humankind.

    By Anonymous cialis online, at 8:47 AM  

  • Hey! Coach Factory Online simply wanted to say your website is one of the nicely laid out, most inspirational I have come across in quite a while.

    By Anonymous Coach Factory Online, at 2:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home