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April 21st, 2014

Scientists who inspired a generation of STEM professionals

While interviewing inspirational career men and women from STEM fields, NewsHour Extra asked which scientists and engineers they look up to the most. Below is a list of their choices organized by field, starting with physics – the most fundamental of all sciences – and ending with biology.


Take a historical tour from Galileo Galilei to Albert Einstein in this informative animated cartoon celebrating the work of physics giants.

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Carl Sagan

American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. Sagan assembled the first physical messages that were sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them.


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Neil deGrasse Tyson

American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public school system. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. Tyson’s professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.

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Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a physicist,chemist and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two different fields (physics and chemistry). Curie’s efforts, with her husband Pierre Curie, led to the discovery of polonium and radium and, after Pierre’s death, the development of X-rays.


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Jane Goodall

British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, UN Messenger of Peace and science communicator. A trailblazer in animal behavior, Goodall went to Africa to study chimpanzees at the age of 26 with no formal training and transformed the entire field.


Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of NIH.

Francis Collins

American physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project.  Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  In that role he oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research.

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