(From the AIP Physics News Update 459, November 29, 1999)
THE TOP PHYSICISTS IN HISTORY are, according to a poll of scientists conducted by Physics World magazine, 1. Albert Einstein, 2. Isaac Newton, 3. James Clerk Maxwell, 4. Niels Bohr, 5. Werner Heisenberg, 6. Galileo Galilei, 7. Richard Feynman, 8. Paul Dirac, 9. Erwin Schrodinger, and 10. Ernest Rutherford. Other highlights of Physics World's millennium canvas: the most important physics discoveries are Einstein's relativity theories, Newton's mechanics, and quantum mechanics. Most physicists polled (70%) said that if they had to do it all over again, they would choose to study physics once more. Most do not believe that progress in constructing unified field theories spells the end of physics.
Ten great unsolved problems in physics: quantum gravity, understanding the nucleus, fusion energy, climate change, turbulence, glassy materials, high-temperature superconductivity, solar magnetism, complexity, and consciousness. (December issue of Physics World, published by the Institute of Physics, the British professional organization of physicists celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.)