The second millenium

This page last revised on Jan. 5, 1996


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This list is not ordered by any means...It represents a purely personal collection of towering figures in human thought

Giordano Bruno : b.1543-d.1600
Philosopher of Science, once a Dominican monk, he was burned at the stake in the year 1600 for heresy. He upheld the view that Copernicus held, i.e., that of a sun centered solar system. A statue has been erected in his honor in the Campo dei Fiori, in Rome. Awesome. The rest is history...What really impresses me about Bruno is his steadfastness in the face of criticism and ultimate torture and execution. Few would drive on this narrow road...not even Galileo.

For more links on the Web see e.g., John Kessler's review in a page maintained by The Internet Infidels, (sic), within Freethought Web. There is also an online collection of notes by Nick Strobel at History and Philosophy of Western Astronomy. On the other hand the works by Frances Yates and others should also be consulted in major libraries throughout the world.

Leonardo da Vinci: b.1452-d.1519
The ideal of the Italian Risorgimento, the Renaissance: Painter, inventor, scientist, engineer, pathologist etc., he is widely accepted as a universal genius. For more links on the Web see the Web Museum's Leonardo file, as well as the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, dubbed the Leonardo Internet. You will also find a voluminous literature on Leonardo at the Home Page of the Leonardo Internet.

I am most impressed by this extremely versatile man and his ability to assimilate nature into a quantifiable whole, his towering mind, and insatiable appetite for knowledge.

Richard P. Feynman: b.1918-d.1986
A physicist's physicist..."a magician", in the words of Hans Bethe. He resigned from the National Academy of Sciences because members spent too much time wondering who should be worthy enough to join their ranks! Cool. Probably one of the few people on this planet whose books have had widespread impact but yet he never really wrote them! They were written by others and attributed to him...I really enjoyed his manner of thinking and the excitement that he generated when he gave interviews about science or anything else for that matter. He fetched his Nobel Prize wearing a pair of sneakers and his favorite physicist was Dirac (below). There was a simplicity about this really great man that moved me yet I never met him.
For other links on the Web check-out the Feynman page. His candid and deep analysis of the Challenger accident led to his incisive and divisive report on this space shuttle disaster... This report can be found under the heading Feynman's Appendix to the Roger's Commission. Other Feynman sites may be found here.

Raphael: b.1483-d.1520
One of the great triumvirate of the High Renaissance ...Born Raffaello Sanzio, in Urbino (Marche region on the Adriatic side), he was the junior of the great Bramante (architect in the Vatican) and an important figure of the period, who also came from Urbino. The two were in Rome at the same time and, according to Vasari (one of the biographers of the Renaissance artists...), Bramante showed the young Raffaello the Sistine Chapel, that place of worship soon to be immortalized by the work of the sublime Michelangelo. He quickly grasped the importance and the technique of Michelangelo's work and permanently etched his own hand and figure in adjoining Vatican rooms (it."stanze"). The angelic look on the faces of his subjects remains unparalleled>