Everyone knows about Einstein , Newton, and Galileo. You've heard of Marie Curie, and you probably know about her husband Pierre, but did you know her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie and her son-in-law, Frederic Joliot-Curie. The Joliot-Curies, with their oddly progressive names, won a joint Nobel prize in 1935 for chemistry. Everyone knows about Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Archimedes, but do they know about Galen, Epicurus, or Aristarchus? We all know about Oppenheimer, Fermi, and the role they played in the Manhattan project, but what about Leo Szilard? Who really invented the computer, and why is there such a large overlap with the previous question? You know of Charles Darwin, but what about Alfred Russel Wallace? And why does "Russel" only have L in it? Everybody knows Thomas Edison, but rarely mention Nikola Tesla, there's more to him than coils, you know.
This will be an ongoing series of posts (hopefully once a week) about the great scientists, mathematicians, and thinkers that my public education either skipped or glossed over. Many of them will be of particular importance to computers, my field, but who are not well known outside computer science curriculum, like Alan Turing. Others will be mathematicians, like Paul Erdos. Chances are, unless you studied a lot of math, particularly combinatorics, you'll never have heard of Paul Erdos, despite the fact he is the most prolific mathematician, ever.
I'm going to profile these scientists, their lives, their work, why they are important, and why they aren't household names. My goal is to profile at least one scientist a week. I'm starting with a list of a dozen or so, partly taken from the above, and hopefully as I write these, I'll come across other scientists who deserve to be better known.