What about Tony Blair ?
Inventor of Weapons of Mass Destruction ?
This week the Bank of England said it was going to put a famous boffin on a new polymer £50 note, and has decided to ask the public who it should be. There is even an online form where you can put in a nomination – it will be open for the next six weeks. There are only two rules attached: they must be a) a scientist – covering …
Or, indeed, Bill Penney. Who wanted to be remembered for his contribution to science, and not for his specific contributions to the Manhattan Project and to its British successors.
And who wouldn't want a man named Penn[e]y on the £50?
This is also the man who demanded, and got, an IBM machine with a FORTRAN compiler after his first efforts at a two-stage device didn't work. The next set of tests ran just fine.
Nope, Newton wasn't a conceited prick who looked down on people who looked upwards in their own way--as that is what he was doing anyway. If you can't look at the sky without being able to resist the thoughts of what others think--fueling your self-conceit by the fact that some thoughts are wrong and yet unify the thinkers of them--then you truly belong with those who never do look up.
It would take me quite a while to unpick that paragraph , even if I had some idea what the hell you're talking about in the first place, as it stands i dont. I've checked the comments above for people dissing Newton , and been back to read the Newton part of the article (too much time on my hands) and I still dont know what prompted your outburst.
maybe its just me. can anyone elaborate?
Putting a scientist on the £50 doesn't mean much recognition for the British scientist chosen.
Because the average Briton seldom sees a fifty.
Short of massive inflation reducing the British pound to a fraction of its current worth, the image when chosen will appear briefly in the news and then fade from memory. Finally becoming a question on a tv quiz show in a few years.
" Give it time, and a £50 note will buy just one Mars bar [...]"
In my 1950s childhood a Mars bar was a rare treat dispensed by a spoiled cousin. He also had a collection of expensive toys including Britain's model field guns with spring-loaded shell casings. Anyway - a Mars bar then cost 6d - (2.5p). Nowadays they are probably smaller and cost in the order of twenty times the nominal price.
According to the Measuring Worth website, a 6d Mars bar in 1955 going by retail price index would be worth about 60p today. Coincidentally the current price of a 51g Mars bar from Tesco.
Using other measures of 'value' 6d in 1950s is worth up to £2.50 in terms of earnings or share of economy.ie it took more to earn that Mars bar in the 50s.
In my 1950s childhood a Mars bar was a rare treat dispensed by a spoiled cousin
"Tell my my dear, do you collect chocolate paper?"
A question asked by an uncle of a someone I know as he proceeded to consume a whole bar of chocolate by himself, giving her just the wrapper at the end.
He also had a collection of expensive toys including Britain's model field guns with spring-loaded shell casings.
I had an extensive collection of those. From memory: The 155mm howitzer (with the aforementioned breech mechanism/shell casing) the 25 pounder, the Battalion Anti-Tank gun, the 105mm Howitzer, the 18th century cannon, the Ballista and the Catapult. Oh, and a Swappets 52mm mortar team with a working mortar.
Britain's stuff used to be great. Their Elephants (from he Zoo range) are eagerly sought out for wargamers to this day. I have the Livery Stable from the western buildings range they did and a bunch of American civil war stuff. Always wanted the Civil War cannon/limber and team.
The artillery pieces were all in a box that my father, gorblessim, lifted and the bottom fell out. The 155mm cannon had about a dozen separate bits. only about 8 survived to be passed back to me. Ditto the 105mm howitzer.
You don't see anything like those toys these days. I mean, the guns could be taken out of the swappets cowboys' holsters, and when you took the hats off there was no peg/hole - magnificent construction.
The full set of criteria on the BoE website includes this one - "[must] have shaped thought, innovation, leadership or values in the UK".
So although you are correct to say that someone doesn't have to be a Brit, most if not all of those that you suggest would not qualify.
If you are listing non-Brits, she absolutely must be included.
"In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began." -- Albert Einstein
Ada Lovelace gets a poor showing sometimes because although a romantic figure, there's not the evidence to point to and say 'she did that'. But as a symbol of women in technology and as a bridge between the literary and scientific sets could be a justification as an early communicator?. Her 'social' network included
Charles Wheatstone - influential but a bit of a sod over claiming IP that wasn't necessarily his to claim?
De Morgan - her tutor
Brewster - optics
Faraday - nuff said
Perhaps a hypothetical soiree of the above could be considered.
I highly recommend that you (and everyone) get your hands on the steampunk graphic novel "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage" by Sydney Padua.
On page 19 you will find a cartoon illustration of an imaginary one of "Babbage's famous parties". It includes everyone you mentioned except Brewster, and also includes others whom Babbage knew:
William Whewell ( polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, historian of scienc, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge)
John and Caroline Herschel
the Duke of Wellington
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Harriet Martineau ("the first female sociologist")
I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The problem with Ada Lovelace and Rosalind franklin is thatthey are rightly overshadowed by others.
Conraray to teh mythology Rosalind Franklinw as not screwed over her experimental work was as was Wilkes but here preferred model of DNA was wrong and Crick and Watson had the insight she did not have. She was a significant scientist but it doesn't make sense to honour rather than those who actually did discover the structur eof DNA rather than help in doing so.
Ada Lovelace's contribution is massively overblow and exageratted clearly Bababge had to have had all the ideas about programming and have example programs he wa susing a stest cases and input to the design of the thing itself. Again she may well have been impressive but why honour her when her part is necessarily far less than Babbage's.
Now Noether. She is a worthy recipient but probably not considered as not British.
My favourite, head and shoulders above other in my opinion, is James Clerk Maxwell.
Wow. Your argument is as convincing as your typing - and, I'd argue, incorrect, at least as far as Ada is concerned. There are documented refinements to Babbage's design, by Ada, without which it could not have approached Turing Completeness. As far as Rosalind is concerned, I don't know enough about the subject - but I do think that, owing to the significance of her contribution, she should at the very least have had a name-check at the time.
In addition, there's a seriously worrying lack of women in STEM subjects - so I'd argue that, even if no worthy recipients could be found (which isn't the case - there's an army of unrecognised women out there), the bar should be lowered.
Were you frothing a bit as you typed that post? Come on, you can admit it to me. I won't let anyone know. I appreciate that many great contributions have been made by people who can't spell - but come on, usin uh spel-chequer shud bee uh know braner.
Our cats are indeed very much in debt to Sir Isaac because of the cat flap. This gravity thing however is boldly ignored by one of them, and I suspect the others wouldn't be all that bothered if it wasn't there except perhaps for keeping the kibble in its bowl.
James Clerk Maxwell - best known for the unification of electricity and magnetism but also a major contributor in other areas of physics. Einstein described Maxwell's work as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton". Plus he has a truly epic beard.
Great man about which people don't nearly know enough.
There was an episode of the recent series of Cosmos in which Neil de Grasse Tyson told the story of Humphrey Davy*, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. It's a terrific bit of story telling about how three of the greatest scientists of the 19th Century inspired then next.
* a worthy choice for a bank note in his own right. Seems to have been the Brian Cox of his time with people gushing over his charm and good looks. Discovered seven elements, the arc lamp, anaesthesia (using nitrous oxide), burned a diamond, climbed Vesuvius when it was erupting and wrote poetry considered equal to that of Coleridge in his time.
Except she didn't discover DNA — it was discovered 50 or more years earlier. She didn't even discover the structure of DNA — She produced x-ray photos of DNA fibres but did not determine the structure of DNA from this. Crick (the Brit who should be considered for the £50 note) and Watson used her information to test (although not prove) their model of DNA, which had huge significance in explaining how genetic info is passed on when cells divide. It was her boss — Wilkins — who screwed her in relation to the Nobel prize, but neither he nor she was party to the intellectual brilliance of the double-helix, and it can be argued that neither deserved the Nobel. Feminist tokenism is in nobody's interest.
Rosalind Franklin discovered DNA?
DNA was discovered in the 19th century. Watson and Crick discovered the STRUCTURE of DNA.
Franklin did get a raw deal, but she was no way close to discovering the structure of the molecules of which she produced very good x-ray diffraction photos.
“From a long view of the history of mankind – seen from, say, ten thousand years from now – there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.”
“Maxwell is the physicist’s physicist.”
“The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field.”
“He achieved greatness unequaled.”
Carl Sagan“The equations were to represent Nature, and Nature is, Maxwell believed, beautiful and elegant… This essentially aesthetic judgement by a nerdish physicist, entirely unknown except to a few other academic scientists, has done more to shape our civilization than any ten recent presidents and prime ministers.”
“When he crossed the bridge from Astronomy to Physics he left behind him for ever the prospect of becoming a great astronomer – but only to become the greatest mathematical physicist the world has seen since Newton.”
Putting Rosalind Franklin on as a kind of consolation prize smacks of white male guilt and would have probably just annoyed her.
Put Maxwell on but most folk would not have a clue who he is sadly.
I would say that Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing get enough publicity maybe.
(Go to Bletchley Park BTW. Excellent place).
I'd like to see Lovelace and Babbage on a fifty.
Having a pic of the Engine between them on the note would look good and delight the anti-counterfit folk.
Maye Sydney Padua could draw them ;-)
"Putting Rosalind Franklin on as a kind of consolation prize smacks of white male guilt and would have probably just annoyed her."
Not saying this applies you specifically, but more often than not when I hear or see comments like the above, I find it says more about the the speaker/writer than anything else.
Having said that, although the work she did was very impressive and important, I don't feel it stands well with those who invented new and original work. Hers was very much a case of standing on the shoulders of giants in that she improved on existing techniques. Science needs people like her, but she's a premier league player, not a superstar. And she didn't have a beard :-)
And add in James Chadwick, who discovered the electron.
John Dalton should be there too, as the first scientist to put atomic theory on a usable basis and make it the foundation of chemistry.
However, atomic theory was all a bit theoretical until Chadwick discovered the electron, proving that the were smaller particles than atoms, and Rutherford discovered that the atomic nucleus existed and was very much smaller than the atoms that contained them. This led directly to the Bohr atomic model and so to modern nuclear physics.
As far as I know none of the three - Chadwick, Dalton and Rutherford - have much recognition outside science: none are as well known as they deserve.
I thought J. J. Thompson discovered the electron. Didn’t Chadwick discover the neutron? But yes, all of them - Thompson, Rutherford, Chadwick - diserve a mention.
Thompson is also notable for his role as a teacher to the next generation of physicists (according to Wikipedia) including Rutherford, Neils Bohr, Max Born and William Bragg.
I think I’d still vote for Maxwell though. His unification of physics (i.e. light is an electromagnetic wave) was something really significant, and with lots of practical consequences. Also, unlike the three nuclear physicists above, his memory is not tainted by the use of his discoveries to kill people (see also Alfred Nobel).
...because without him it would have been a much longer road getting to where we are today.
His work was so basic and so practical that it could be the very definition of practising the scientific method. He stood up for his ideas when he knew they were right and would admit it when they were proven wrong. The fact that he was right about so much without ever knowing how to prove it mathematically should be not be lightly dismissed. I think that had he been given a quality education in his youth our world would be better off today.
"I think that had he been given a quality education in his youth our world would be better off today."
Unfortunately a "better" education can inhibit innovative thinking by teaching people what is an establishment's rigid view of something.
My own technical education consisted of a series of milestones - at which we were told what we had been taught previously was an over-simplification. Useful in some cases within its constraints.
Our Geography teacher in the 1960s denigrated the "new" idea of tectonic plates. He said that the complementary coastlines of South America and Africa were just a coincidence.
People should be taught to query and test things in a reproducible way. Identifying the influence of wishful thinking is probably the most important aspect of self-criticism.
"How do I test the theory of tectonic plates for myself?"
Measure the height of Himalayan mountain peaks very accurately. The Rift Valley is also getting wider. Any of the tectonic plate edges have measurable relative movement. You just need the right equipment - probably laser - and technical knowledge. The Ring of Fire is full of such movements.
"How do I test the theory of tectonic plates for myself?"
The old "making hot coco" variation is easy, and tasty. Probably on youtube, I can't be arsed to look.
Similarly, thawing out a pot of chicken stock over a point source of heat, such as the propane torch you use to sweat copper pipes together (or situate the pot so only one corner is over the hob). As the gelatin melts and starts moving around due to convection currents, the schmaltz on top mimics continental plates. When the pot is hot, skim off the fat (retain for roasting spuds!) throw in veg, meat and seasoning to taste and enjoy your tectonic soup.
Another: make a loaf of bread. Throw the water, yeast and a little sugar (honey, molasses, anything sweet) in the bottom of a bowl and whisk together. Float the flour evenly over the top of the liquid mixture and salt to taste. As the yeast proofs, you'll see cracking & rifting and upwelling and all kinds of other geological action. Then make the bread. Serve with the soup.
"Everyone has heard of vaccines. Many have been vaccinated. But how many know the name of the person who invented vaccination? Truly an unsung hero."
I don't know the state of science teaching in secondary schools today, but when I did my GCEs in the late 70's, pretty much every "forgotten" scientists mentioned in these pages was part of what we learned about at school in Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Maybe we had exceptional teachers at my school?
I strongly suggest looking up Variolation in 15th century China before bragging too much about which country invented vaccination.
It's a well known fact that absolutely everything was invented in China before we even knew we needed it.
But the important difference between variolation and vaccination is Blossom the cow. Even in backward old Europe it was known that inoculation - a mild dose of smallpox - provided future immunity. The problem was ensuring that the dose was mild enough not to kill or disfigure the patient. Jenner recognised that cowpox, apparently a fairly benign infection endemic among milkmaids, provided immunity to smallpox.
Needs to be a Brit to qualify.
Ramanujan's mentor Hardy gets my vote. His work, proudly useless in his own time, now fundamental to modern cryptography. And his discovery of Ramanujan: interesting that an established great mathematician bothered to read the unsolicited work of an unknown Indian, as opposed to putting it straight in the spam!
I would also vote for Bertrand Russell, who might also qualify on grounds other than his science.
Anything else aside, she should have been _MENTIONED_ along with Watson and Crick.
Once she was dead the two esteemed gentlemen could not be bothered citing her work while collecting kudos and laurels. Do not even get me started on what is called not citing your source in science.
"Once she was dead the two esteemed gentlemen could not be bothered citing her work while collecting kudos and laurels. Do not even get me started on what is called not citing your source in science."
Nonsense the key paper in Nature specifically mentioned her. the idea she was treated unfairly makes a good story but isn't actually true. She was a very good experimentalist working at the forefront of her field who happened to be beaten to a key discovery by soemoen else. The story about the key photgraph 'stolen' by Crick and Watson ignores the fact she had publically announced these results and therefore Circk and Watson were perfectly entitled to use those results, as they did, with due credit, which they gave.
Because he invented the scientific method.
Hmm, there are many inventors of the scientific method. There are a couple of other Englishmen who could be argued to be instrumental in that endeavour, apart from Francis Bacon (Elizabethan statesman).
You could choose Roger Bacon
Or even, Roger Bacon's earlier contemporary, Robert Grosseteste who would also be an interesting candidate, but probably infeasible.
Baird was a crank who persisted with his plans for mechanical television well after the point that pure electronic solutions had been demonstrated to be vastly superior. I can't imagine how anybody could consider him.
One scientist that I'm surprised is not on the list: Francis Crick, who discovered (jointly with Jim Watson, but he's an American so ineligible) DNA. Surely much more notable than many of the minor figures on your list?
See all the comments about Rosalind Franklin on this thread. With a woman championed by the entire Establishment on the same ticket, a mere man like Crick is a non-starter. If DNA wins, Franklin will be the face of it.
Though I still think Hawking will win. He has an aura, and massive name recognition.
"he invented the hardware, which was not all that hard, but she envisioned programming, a real revolution."
Is this a wind up? He invented the concept of a digital programmable device and then did the detailled design. He must have envisioned programming well before her as otherwise the invention made no sense at all. You can't accidently create the worlds first programmable computation device. He clearly communicated the concept to her to him and she provided an example program. Promoting her contribution as greater than his is crazy.
There are two British scientists who have created truly world shattering laws - laws that changed how the average person views the world - Newton and Darwin. Since Newton had his time on the currency, Darwin is the only answer.
I cannot believe that neither El Reg nor any of the posters even mentioned him.
Sorry. I was wrong. I'm from across the pond and haven't used pound notes since my visit during the '70s.
Removing Darwin, I'd say Bacon for the scientific method or Hutton for deep time.
As far as the others mentioned, yes they were great scientists and worthy of recognition, but, in my mind, they didn't, for the most part, change the way non-scientists think about the world in general.
How about Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles).
Founded the Lunar Society with Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgwood, and James Watt. Studied biology, physics, chemistry, geology and meteorology.
Theory of evolution (1794)
The canal lift
The Ackermann linkage (found in the steering of most cars)
A copying machine
A speaking machine which could reproduce phones
The hydrolox rocket engine
Very biased sample. Loads of Brits made invaluable contributions to chemistry even if it's not as fashionable at the moment…
John Dalton, Humphrey Davy to get the party started. But Maxwell should also be on the list, while Baird can take a walk.
If you want to stick to computers then go with with Babbage and Lovelace together.
"Because she discovered DNA and was basically screwed over by the scientific establishment when it then gave credit to two men - James Watson and Francis Crick – who basically confirmed her findings."
DNA was first isolated by Friedrich Miescher in around 1869, and by the beginning of the 20th century Albrecht Kossel, who got a Nobel for his trouble, had characterised the nucleotides that are the key components of DNA and RNA. Franklin's work was of course crucial for the discovery of the _structure_ of DNA, but she did not arrive at Watson's critical insight (informed by Erwin Chargaff's work on nucleotide ratios in DNA, discussions with colleague Jerry Donohue, and published work by June Broomhead and others) - that Adenine pairs specifically with Thymine, while Guanine pairs with Cytosine, on the inside of the double helix. Franklin should receive full recognition for the importance of her work without over-simplifying or distorting the events that led to the DNA structure. It's tragic that she was not honoured for it in her lifetime, as she may have been in one of the 1962 Nobels if she had lived.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned-
1) Heaviside Layer
2) The formulation that we now call Maxwell's Equations
3) The shape of a rapidly moving electron: self-energy effect
4) Telegraph cable equations
5) Key results for enabling under-sea telegraph cables
6) Self taught
7) Didn't like quaternions (maybe not a plus)
""David Bellamy" isn't dead yet! (but is the epitome of "local boy made good" so was very, very popular around these parts."
David Bellamy, a botanist, was called in by Mr. Blobby as an "expert witness"to stop a local farmer putting up a wind turbine.
He may not be dead yet but frankly I wouldn't get overly upset if he died suddenly.
On the official web site I voted that they put a trio of Tommy Flowers, Bill Tutte and Alan Turing because they make a good group, won the war and were all shafted by the establishment in multiple ways. It doesn’t hurt that they were the offspring of a gardener, bricklayer and Indian civil servant — not only dead but dead common ;-)
"He also came up with some stupid ideas: like trying to make diamonds by heating graphite, designing a glass razor (which shattered) and inventing a pair of pneumatic shoes whose internal balloons burst."
How are any of those things stupid ideas? Okay, they didn't pan out - but they all seem plausible enough to me, and precisely the sort of ideas a creative, inventive mind might come up with.
Possibly because Mawell's Equations aren't easily written in standard type, whereas "E equals M C squared" is widely known, even if not so widely understood.
It's a sad irony really, as Maxwell's Equations are succinct and elegantly beautiful, one of the very few bits of maths I've ever found genuinely exciting.
The soft-scoop story is sadly not true. Soft-scoop was invented in the late 1930s in the United States. The confusion is that Thatcher worked for Lyons between 1949 and 1951 on emulsifiers when Lyons had obtained the Mr Softee franchise.
She did do a science degree at Cambridge and specialised in X-ray crystallography, so she had a formidable qualification. But there is no evidence she invented anything or proposed a new theory.
Apparently Thatcher applied for a place at ICI after graduation, but was rejected for being "headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated."
Is the person who discovered the frequency of coincidences dead? Because if so, they'd be my candidate to go on the note.
Your candidate might be John Littlewood (1885-1977). See Littlewood's Law.
One of the mighty Trinity of ultra-pure mathematicians of around a century ago, with Hardy and Ramanujan.
I'm a geologist and have to say that calling Mary Anning a scientist is a bit of a stretch. She was a gifted fossil collector who happened to have the good fortune to live next to a good fossil locality where she carried on the family business (her father also collected fossils for sale). I'm not denigrating fossil collection - it is much harder than people think, and requires a good eye; I know this as I'm no good at it! But palaeontology only starts with fossil collection, which is pretty much where Mary Anning stopped. I'd say that she bears about the same relationship to palaeontology as the lab technicians did to Rosalind Franklin. If Mary Anning hadn't been female and hence noteworthy, I doubt we'd know she'd existed.
I'm not a geologist, but if you'll accept Extra History as a source (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-CW0B4YeBQ), Mary Anning disputed the claims of established scientists and was proved right. She went beyond collecting, carefully studying her finds, and was noteworthy for being good at it.
I would like to put forward Professor Hugh Davson. In the post war period he did ground breaking work on the physiology of the brain, ophthalmic research (leading to the setting up of several Corneal Banks), and other important medical work regarding the Blood/Brain Barrier. Although not IT related, and therefor probably not high on any list produced here, I knew the man and respect him. Most of his work was conducted at the Institute of Ophthalmology on Judd Street, University College on Gower Street, University of Louisville on South Seventh Street, and California Institute of Technology on Wilshire Boulevard.
The Register article states, WRT Ada Lovelace: "We also have her notes for Babbage's machine that represent the first algorithm every produced."
That's merely reference to a refutation or two - not a claim for first algorithm.
For the avoidance of doubt, IMHO Ada Lovelace is certainly worthy of such recognition.
My vote is for John Snow - an English physician and a leader in the adoption of anaesthesia and medical hygiene. He is considered one of the fathers of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, in 1854. If it wasn't for that era of medicine the probability is that we would be dead, not voting!
And a positive side effect - the unscientific will think 'Jon Snow, cool - game of thrones' and vote for my suggestion.
Riddled with inaccuracies, eg:
Rosalind Franklin "Because she discovered DNA". No. She was instrumental in working out the *structure* of DNA. None of the four main protagonists in this "discovered" it.
Terrible copy editing.
El Reg: are you writing intelligent news or a breathless kiddie's comic?
James Clerk Maxwell is the most important scientist nobody has ever heard of. He laid the foundations for modern physics. And he's not even in your top ten. He's not been on a banknote before, not had a blockbuster movie made about him and not been in Star Trek.
In terms of contribution vs. recognition, I can't think of anyone else whose ratio is so skewed.
Einstein credited Maxwell. Maxwell was a hairsbreadth from relativity theory.
real father of Radio (though Hertz important). Marconi didn't claim to be a scientist, but an entrepreneur. His main jump was realising that radio range needed and aerial (wire) and an earth(ed connection) rather than a small loop. Later when VHF was possible, loops were used on transmitters. A multiturn loop does work for receive.
Also Maxwell realised how colour photography could be done (though a panchromatic film was some time in the future).
Many other things too.
R V Jones not even mentioned? We owe him every bit as much as we owe Turing and Flowers, a great deal indeed.
Perhaps an example of the HollyWeird stereotype of "Scientist" being necessarily equivalent to "Sufferer", which I've always suspected as being used to assuage the jealousy of the ordinarily thick.......
Yes but he wasn’t shafted by the establishment like the others. Since WW2 is ruling our lives (brexitmania) perhaps a larger group of all the scientists who were important in “winning the war”. Actually in these days when it’s popular to denigrate the Poles, my favourite for £50 note portrait would be the Polish pilots who won the Battle of Britain (exaggeration to make the point).
Excellent, sir indeed the large drum of the stuff that split in the 1950's must have been quite a sight.... Clark's excellent 'Ignition' is of course the source :)
John Conway must get an honourable mention: Life and the concept of the (spreadsheet) cell: you can still get a hold of Life today in these days of AI and Kuberdocker :/ Unfortunately Conway is still alive but us pre AgileCloudAmazon old schoolers will have run Life amongst our S-50, OSWRCH and Data General Nova code (Wild Hare) :)
(Edit) Baird's ideas are still with us with slow scan mechanical TV was never going to work but the electronic equivalent works just fine with the amateurs.
Actually that's derived from Fax, First experimental Fax on wire was in 1851. SSTV is to Fax, what RTTY is to Telex/Teleprinters (from 1928, but also Victorian experimenters). Radio Fax was also in 1930s, at same time as Baird, and transmitted in the USA after radio program close down. Add on printers for existing ordinary radios were sold in USA. The Mechanical TV was also done in USA too as a novelty after normal progam close down, but the radio fax was more practical.
SSTV doesn't do moving images, it's basically Fax.
Charles Babbage appeals because he typifies the 19th century gentleman savant. Rayleigh is another example.
Babbage's distaste for plebeians and their culture shows powers of discrimination (a virtue) sadly nowadays lacking among the supposedly educated.
Maybe 'scientist' is misnomer for Babbage and some others on the list (e.g. John Logie Baird). However it fits his era because 'science' and 'scientist' were terms used differently from now. At one time theology was 'the queen of sciences'. The mantle passed to mathematics but neither is science in the sense explained below.
Followers of Popper would exclude from 'science' activities not entailing devising testable theories to which may be applied the inverse logic of falsification. General usage of the term these days is somewhat lax but not as much as in pre-Popper times.
What the named persons on the list have in common is brilliant insight which later proved fundamental to present day technology. For instance the chain of reasoning/action leading from Babbage to present day computers is shorter than that leading from the scientist Becquerel to nuclear power. Put another way, Babbage had a realisable goal in mind whereas Becquerel was curiosity driven. Each motivation is of tremendous value in its own way.
Unfortunately Laithwaite believed that the behaviour of gyroscopes violated the law of conservation of energy! According to the Royal Institution web site he "appears to have used various engineering approximations in his calculations on the behaviour or gyroscopes and when told by professional mathematicians that once the calculations were done rigorously there was no discrepancy, refused to believe them."
The affair harmed his career considerably – he left his position at the Royal Institution and was never elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
Perhaps not the best role model to have on a £50 note.
The Father of Geology.
In the late 18th Century up with the fabulously named Theory of Uniformity which basically says that the processes which create and change the Earth's surface haven't changed through time, so by studying what is going on right now, we can work out not only how the Earth has evolved through time, but give an insight into its age.
By doing this, he struck a blow against the Biblical view of the Earth's history and suggested that the Earth was incredibly old, making him the first person to consider Deep Time.
Hutton even proposed a theory of evolution through natural selection.
He was also wrong and set back geology by a couple of hundred years... it's slowly becoming accepted again that catastrophic events form far more major geological structures than any slow and gradual process ever did, or could.
There are countless examples of real world features which uniformitarian "measurements" would claim to be of vast age when in reality they are of known age (i.e. have been observed forming.)
Pontificating philosophers like Hutton and Hawking have had far too much publicity already, it's high time for recognition for Maxwell, Boyle, Kelvin and their like - scientists whose major work has actually been proven measurably, demonstrably correct and of real practical use to mankind.
Surprised to see only one other mention.
Gave his name to the telescope which was the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world when it was built (in 1957), even now it is the third-largest (or 2nd, depending on how you look at it, 1st and 2nd are the same size).
Lots of work, research and developments.
I'm astonished that the article section didn't mention that Faraday also discovered electromagnetic induction and used it to invent both the mechanically driven AC electric generator and the transformer that are the basis of pretty much the entrire worldwide electricity supply industry!
That said, my vote is for James Clerk Maxwell because Faraday has already been on the £20 note
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964 for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances." -aka vitamin B12. Dorothy Hodgkin was a woman of great intellect and an immense passion for science, she helped advance the x-ray crystallography technique, which was the key to studying and understanding three-dimensional structures of biochemical compounds.
She also tutored and remained friends with Margaret Roberts (later Thatcher), but that is entirely incidental.
"John Logie Baird
He basically invented television"
Not this old chestnut. He DID NOT invent Television. He was successful at raising the profile of it and promoting a dead-end mechanical concept. Electronic TV was outlined in 1905 or 1906. The only difficulty was the camera target. Various people even replaced the receiver disk and later mirror unit on the Baird system with a CRT. He used a near real time developed cine film and scanner eventually when the resolution reached 240 lines. That was later developed for spy satellites for HD and slow transmission.
By 1935 the RCA electronic system had beaten Farnsworth's (his was a dead-end camera target concept). EMI worked with RCA (historic links via Marconi, HMV and Victor Talking Machine Co,) and developed a decent camera for UK.
No country in the world continued with Baird way of doing it.
His two volume set monumental work "A treatise on electricity and magnetism" (c)1873 has remained hidden in some drawer of the Gravitational Department of Berkeley CA (University of California) for decades. The only copy left ? The successful detection of Gravitational waves by Thorne et.al. was rewarded with the 2017 Nobel Prize of Physics. When glancing through the Gravitation bible https://archive.org/details/GravitationMisnerThorneWheeler and comparing the covered content like introducing e.g. Chapter 4 ELECTROMAGNETISM AND DIFFERENTIAL FORMS Box 4.2 ABSTRACTING A 2-FORM FROM THE CONCEPT OF "HONEYCOMB¬ LIKE STRUCTURE," IN 3-SPACE AND IN SPACETIME with that of Maxwell's 1873 work https://archive.org/details/electricandmagne01maxwrich https://archive.org/details/electricandmagne02maxwrich you know that the Berkeley professors were peeking in Maxwell's 1873 book set all of the time. He probably died premature because of his opinion on the instantaneous nature of E, the electric field, which was opposed by Einstein and the Berkeley professors, who imposed a general speed limit of c. Of course the speed of light was first calculated by Maxwell. In 1962 J.D. Jackson published Classical Electrodynamics 1st ed https://archive.org/details/ClassicalElectrodynamics probably the best book on its subject. It seems however that his first edition contained some inconsistencies in Chapter 11 Special Theory of Relativity, that it took only a few year before J.D. Jackson was berglarized to join Berkeley in order to publish his famous 2nd edition, in which Chapter 11 on Special Theory was totally rewritten https://archive.org/details/ClassicalElectrodynamics2nd .
I suggest Guglielmo Marconi as he founded Marconi after inventing long distance radio.
This nomination is contentious because the Brexiteers would insist on a referendum if the Bank of England proposed such a foreign sounding name on one of our notes (he was featured on a commemorative 50p coin in 2001) See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guglielmo_Marconi
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019