Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Top Ten Geeks of the Millennium?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the hopping-on-the-top-10-bandwagon dept.

Technology 525

ywwg asks: "Everyone's doing the top ten this-or-that of the Millennium, so why don't we join the fray? Let's choose the top ten geeks of the millennium staying out of the past ten years. I'm thinking of the greats like Gallileo and Newton. What oppressed, nerdy, ignored, and shunned individuals proved everyone wrong? "

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

DaVinci (1)

Arctic Fox (105204) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422289)

Invented Helicopters, tanks, could doodle like a mo-fo. He needs to be on the list!

How about (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422290)

Albert Einstein
Richard Feynman

How about Charles Babbage... (2)

XenoWolf (6057) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422291)

After all, where would geeks like us be without him?

Eniac (2)

jstepka (20825) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422292)

John W. Mauchly (1907-1980) - Inventor of the first large-scale general-purpose electronic computer. Check it out here []

The guys at DARPA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422293)

and specificly the guy who gave use to the @ sign.

top ten geeks (3)

BlueLines (24753) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422294)

1)Leonardo Da Vinci, of course. He was the original hacker. I mean, damn, he invented the helicopter hundreds of years before it was ever possible to build.

2) Gutenberg. Printing press. 'Nuff said.

3) Issac Asimov. Genius. Scientist. Author.Ladies man . Well maybe not a ladies man. But he wrote the definitive book on black holes. neat-o.

woz (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422295)

My feeling is that Steve Wozniak wouldn't be out of place on such a list.

(Groan) Not Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422296)

Ferchrissakes, we've done this to death already, even if you only count the number of times it's been done on Slashdot. Give it a rest willya!

Legos (1)

fliplap (113705) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422297)

Kirk Christiansen invented the lego brick with his son.

Da Vinci, Turing ... (2)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422298)

da Vinci's gotta be #1

Turing has to be in there

maybe M. Curie, Einstein, the guy who invented 0 (maybe that was the previous millenium

Wright Brothers (2)

sansbury (97480) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422299)

When was the last time two guys who ran a bicycle repair shop achieved something that man had dreamed of doing since the beginning of time?

Sure, Otto Lilienthal laid a lot of the groundwork, and Benz developed the engine, but it took Orville and Wilbur to pull it all together.


And what about Lady Ada Byron?

It would definitely have to be... (1)

hypergeek (125182) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422300)

Rene Descartes.

Not only did he bring us that nifty coordinate system, he was also the first to convincingly *prove* his existence, which is the next best thing to justifying it ;-)

(Cogito, ergo sum, baby!)

Einstein??? (2)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422301)

A) Hair
B) Theory of relativity
C) Pacifist who invented the atomic bomb
D) Believer in aliens, time travel
E) Lack of some common social skills
F) Didn't even need a computer

I heard a story, and I'm not sure if it's true or not, but it sounds good:

While Einstein was teaching at Princeton, the Personnel Office received a call for someone looking for his address and telephone number. The receptionist replied that she was unable to give that information over the telephone.

A sheepish voice came back over the phone line. "This is Professor Einstein. I've forgotten where I live. Can you help me?"

Re:Legos (1)

Chihuahua Grub (9197) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422302)

How 'bout Frank Lloyd Wright, inventor of the precursor to legos: Lincoln Logs?

Nikolai Tesla (5)

Uberminky (122220) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422303)

The man basically invented the alternate current power supply system we use today, he invented the radio (yes, Tesla invented the radio)... Did much work with transformers... I mean come on, the man built a remote controlled boat 100 years ago... I forget all the other great stuff he did. But he was really underappreciated.

Offtopic, but.. /. Y2K spoof? (0)

dha (23395) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422304)

Has anybody else gotten a response like this one [] from Slashdot recently?

This is the /.er's goofing on me, right?

My choices. (1)

axiem (119959) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422305)

Albert Einstein. This guy did a lot for much of mathematics, physics, etc. He is now the stereotypical scientist. Nuff said.

Bill Gates is also on there. Even though I despise Microsoft, I still grudgingly give him credit--if it weren't for him, a lot of people probably wouldn't have gotten into computers. So, he is an imprtant geek..but should remain out of the top 5 ;)

Darwin (2)

crush (19364) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422306)

A guy that worked on studying barnacles for 8 years during which time he suppressed publication of a complete mode of explanation of life because he was afraid of the reaction. Not to mention his treatises on the movement of subsoil by earthworms ;)

Re:how about (1)

Chihuahua Grub (9197) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422307)

if we're going to music folks, why not the Devo lads? Or Brian Eno?

Or Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), who builds his own keyboards and codes his own software?

Re:Da Vinci, Turing ... (3)

Pyro P (7396) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422308)

the guy who invented 0 (maybe that was the previous millenium)

Yes, it was. It was around 650 ad, if i recall correctly.

Re:DaVinci (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422309)

10. bill gates 9. bill gates 8. bill gates ............

Re:Nikolai Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422310)

Invented the radio? I thought that was Googlio Macaroni.... ermm.. Guillermo Marconi

My Picks for Geeks (2)

xodarap (65815) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422311)

Leonardo Da Vinci
Gallileo (Yeah I spelled it wrong i think)
Carl Sagan

Billie-boy (1)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422312)


Although the nerdy and shunned parts probably could fit.

Ladies, Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422313)

Let's not forget our lady of the Geeks, Lady Ada Byron Lovelace, please.

my vote goes to... (3)

neko the frog (94213) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422314)

leonhard euler (1707-1783), for giving us so damned much mathematical output that we still haven't published it all afaik, and he's been dead for over 200 years, hardly even slowing down after he lost his vision. probably his coolest deed is proving that e^(pi*i) - 1 = 0, linking five of the most basic mathematical constants into one simple equation, as well as providing a link between the real and complex planes.

other candidates imho would include leonardo da vinci, thomas edison, blaise pascal, and my dog waffles.

not necessarily in this order: (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422315)

Galileo Galilei Johannes Gutenberg Leonardo Da Vinci John Von Neumann Norbert Wiener Henry Ford Thomas Edison James Maxwell James Watt Guglielmo Marconi

I can't believe no one's mentioned Tesla! (1)

mouthbeef (35097) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422316)

Nicola Tesla [] :
  • Built a motor out of bugs and sticks
  • Hold's the world's record for manmade lightning generation
  • Invented the radio
  • Invented AC
  • Invented a form of X10 for telephony and remote device control
  • Was terrified of the number "3" and human hair
He's the man.

top ten (1)

jfroebe (10351) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422317)

10. All the guys at the MIT Bell Labs during 1950-1970
9. DaVinci
8. Galileo
7. Capernicus
6. Kepler
5. Guttenburg
4. Alan Cox
3. Stallman
2. Einstein
1. Stephen Hawking

Sorry Linus Torvalds would be #11... Stallman would get #5 just on entertainment value!

Has anyone seen Alan Cox without his shades?

more info (1)

Uberminky (122220) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422318)

Check this out, it's got some more info about the guy. A bloody genius, no question.

How about.... (1)

bairkub (60965) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422319)


Despite failures, despite bugs and glitches, despite an apatheic country to their success (yet who is all too eager to point out their faults)....these are the people who put Man on the moon. The ones responsible for my entire elementary school crowding around one little tv to watch the space shuttle shoot off into space.

They were, even if people don't see them so now..the makers of dreams, for quite a few people. And so as an entity, I nominate them.

More to add (1)

flesh99 (32039) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422320)

I may be totally out of place suggesting one of these but I feel he is at least good enogh for this list

INPO (In No Particular Order)

1. William Gibson
2. Leonardo DaVinci
3. Albert Einstien
4. Alexander Graham Bell
5. Bejamin Franklin
6. Steve Wozniak
7. Bill Gates (Flame me all you want he did change the face of modern comuting)
8. Marie Curie
9. Albert Schwietzer
10. Linus Torvalds
(I can't stop at ten that is really to few, maybe it should be a top 50 after all
11. Henry Ford (Hacked a car that the common man could afford)
12. Adolf Hitler (Maybe an asshole but his engineers pioneered Jet aircraft under his ideas. I could be wrong on who actually order the research so feel free to correct me but many people under Nazi command made great contributions to modern science)
13. Wright Brothers

Tahts all for now, I expect flames very soon, but I stand by my post.

Don't forget Maxwell (2)

Imperator (17614) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422321)

He's the one Katz would have written about. :)

Here's my 10 and only one is from the 20th Century (5)

brassrat77 (9533) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422322)

In no particular order and just a few minutes of thought:

DaVinci, for reasons already stated.

Michaelangelo - master architect and builder as well as painter and sculptor. There's real engineering in that art.

Gallileo; what could be more geek than dropping cannonballs off a tower "as an experiment" or building a telescope from scratch. And he got in trouble with the thought police a few centuries before PC came into vouge.

Gutenberg - where would OReilley be without *his* invention?

James Watt - made steam power practical leading to the Industrial Revoultion, etc...

Bejamin Franklin, for being a geek with style, fame, *and* political clout.

Samuel Morse - telegraphy became the "internet" of the last century (read the book "The Victorian Internet" [] and see if you agree)

Thomas Edison - quintessinal hardware hacker, entrepreneur, even suffered from NIH [not invented here] at times and wasn't above stealing a trade secret or two [so was he a cracker as well as a hacker?].

Otto Diesel - practical internal (infernal?) combustion engine, and all the cars, ships, planes, oil business, smog, etc. that came from it.

Enrico Fermi - "So you want this grant to build an atomic pile *WHERE*?!"

Re:My choices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422323)

And if not for Mr. Gates, we wouldn't have people frantic about Y2K. Yes these people Mr. Gates helped get into computers are doing so much good. The people who didn't turn on their computers for fear that their keyboards would explode at the turn of the century. Yes we should all thank him for all the millions of idiot computer users.

--- The *only* BOFH you'll ever need ---

Galileo (1)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422324)

He's not as radical now, since the church pardoned him a couple of years back.

Of course, the world is flat. Just like my head.

And, everyone knows that the planets revolve around ME.

top 10 geeks (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422325)

Hmmm... I think it was the Discovery Channel that had the top 100 most influential people of the milleneum (sp?). Gutenberg came out as number 1 as without a method of mass printing technology could not have advanced as far as fast, not to mention the Reformation.

for what its worth I would include Godel (sorry no umlats), Grace Hopper, Bohr, Newton, Einstein, the Bernoullis, Schroedinger, Leibnitz, von Nueman, Crick, Watson, Euler, William of Occam, .... damn, there's just too many.....

I nominate myself. (2)

MrP- (45616) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422326)

I mean, look at me. You all wish you were me, don't you? I mean... this thread wouldn't even exist if I had not posted it.

This thread will be here forever, my place in history.

I laughed at my mother when she bought food for Y2K (I also ate it all last week). I am the true geek. Vote for me!

I'm #1!

$mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662) (2)

Ravenfeather (21614) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422327)

Blaise Pascal was not only a brilliant physicist and mathematician (his accomplishments include the foundations of modern probability theory), but also - arguably - the original existentialist philospher. In his lifetime the geocentric model of the universe was largely abandoned; with this he found himself, and the meaning of human life, at risk of being lost entirely in the vastness of time and space.

A few quotations, all from Pensees, to contemplate:

"When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, and the little space I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of space of which I am ignorant, and which knows me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there, why now rather than then." (#205)

"I see those frightful spaces of the universe which surround me, and I find myself tied to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place rather than in another, nor why the short time which is given me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the whole eternity which was before me or which shall come after me." (#194)

"Numbers imitate space, which is of a different nature" (#119)

"If we dreamt the same thing every night, it would affect us as much as the objects we see every day. And if an artisan were sure to dream every night for twelve hours' duration that he was a king, I believe he would be almost as happy as a king, who should dream every night for twelvc hours on end that we was an artisan.

"If we were to dream very night that we were pursued by enemies, and harrassed by these painful phantoms, or that we passed every day in different occupations, as in making a voyage, we should suffer almost as much as if it were real, and should fear to sleep, a we fear to wake when we dread in fact to enter on such mishaps. And, indeed, it would cause pretty nearly the same discomforts as the reality.

"But since dreams are all different, and each single one is diversified, what is seen in them affects us much less than what we see when awake, because of its continuity, which is not, however, so continuous and level as not to change too; but iot changes less abruptly, except rarely, as when we travel, and then we say, "It seems to me that I am dreaming." For life is a dream a little less inconsistant." (#386)

Some more nominations... (5)

mudshark (19714) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422328)

Here are some I thought of rather quickly (by no means an exhaustive roster):

Alan Turing. No explanation necessary.
Isaac Asimov. His love of science infused his non-fiction and fiction writing, and he showed millions of readers many possible futures.
Charles Babbage. The Difference Engine was a real feat in its day, and still impressive now.
Johannes Gutenberg. I don't know if he qualifies as a geek, but he started the Information Age rolling.
Nikola Tesla. He had a superior technology for electrical transmission, but was relentlessly out-marketed by Edison's well-financed FUD machine.
Galileo Galilei. His views were grounded in bleeding-edge science, but he was hounded and marginalized because they ran counter to the establishment religion.
Leonardo da Vinci. The Renaissance Man made flesh.
Marie Curie. In an age where women scientists were deemed hobbyists and strictly relegated to the fringes, she managed to actually get credit for her work.

I have a feeling I'll spend the rest of today thinking about additions to this list. What a great way to commemorate this arbitrary division of time....

Geek extraordinair (2)

druthers (122957) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422329)

He turned away from suicide as a complete failure in life, making the rest of his life a conscious experiment in clear, original thinking and contribution in many fields. Agree or disagree with me but I would have to want R. Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller on the list. Hey, Stewart Brand, if your on /., would you agree?

Re:How about Charles Babbage... (1)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422330)

hell yeah, the father of computers!

There are plenty to choose from (1)

SuperBeast (100786) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422331)

I think these guys should definately make it on the list:

Stephen Hawking
Alan Turing
Thomas Edison - True geek, he slept under his workbench : )
Sigmund Freud

P.S. I can't think of any female geeks, could someone help me out?

Space Shuttle (1)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422332)

I was in Elementary School when the Space Shuttle blew up.... I guess I'm getting old. 26 and already over the hill.

Nope (2)

Uberminky (122220) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422333)

Nope, it wasn't Guillermo. His "invention" was merely a copy of the already patented device Tesla had invented almost 2 years previously. Tesla was the first. (And yes I know most history books say Guillermo invented it... they're wrong, plain and simple.)

Alan Turing (1)

Fozz (9037) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422334)

Alan Turing would have to be my pick for the list.

Here was a closet homosexual who defined much of the underlying architecture for how computers are used and programmed today and was instrumental in helping the western allied forces in their defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II with his codebreaking efforts at Bletchley Park in England. His fundamental Turing Machine is taught in automata courses throughout the world in Computer Science schools.

Turing was a complete geek. An overachieving social retard who ultimately took his own life in 1954 after being tried in the British courts for being gay and having his security clearance stolen for on the basis of his sexual orientation.

Alan Turing. A top-10 geek of the millenium.

Re:More to add (1)

cmc (44956) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422335)

10. Linus Torvalds

What did Linus Torvalds do that was so special? Why not list everybody that started an OS? Nate Williams, Jordan Hubbard, Rod Grimes, Bill Jolitz, Theo de Raadt, Steve Jobs...

Roger Penrose (1)

perkindiafrawl (33807) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422336)

Roger Penrose:

A mathematician who beat theoretical physicists at their own game. His theory of what fundamental space time is quantized into(twistors: one dimentional objects, twisting in a 4 dimentional complex space-time) is WAAAAY more believable that super-string theory, an ad hoc theory that requires up to 26 dimentions, some of which just decide to "curl up" to leave us with our normal 4-D space-time.


Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422337)

One of the founders of computer science. A man far ahead of his time.

Head over to [] if you'd like to learn more.

I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't get into the top 5...

my pick (2)

semiriot (99245) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422338)

Benjamin Franklin.

This guy did it all, he was a politician, a soldier and a scientist. He invented bifocals, the franklin stove and others. He was the first to propose daylight savings time, (though it's still pitch black when I leave for and leave from work in the winter time...). He is also credited with creating the first political cartoon. He was instrumental in drumming up support european support for america during the revolutionary war, especially the french.

If you want more info, check this link /American_Literature/Early_American_Litera ture/Franklin,_Benjamin/Writings/

Re:More to add (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422339)

7. Bill Gates (Flame me all you want he did change the face of modern comuting)

Indeed, when the place I work had an NT server colocated I found myself commuting to work at late hours quite often to reboot it.

I think stephen hawking is a shu in (1)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422340)

he has one of the wekest bodies and the most powerful mind on the planet right now, it's just such a cool contrast!

Nicolaus Copernicus (1)

MDX-F1 (87940) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422341)

Putting something like this in a top ten format is obviously pretty much impossible, even once we get past arguing over the finer details of what "geek" means. However, I'd nominate Copernicus to any list like this. The development of the heliocentric system is definitely a millennial moment in my book.

No Gutenberg (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422342)

The man was not a geek, he was an established scam-artist. He created the printing press, thinking he would be able to make some quick cash off of it. Somehow I think motive should factor into something like this.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Ignaz Semmelweiss (3)

YIAAL (129110) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422343)

Ignaz Semmelweiss, physician who discovered that washing one's hand before delivering a baby could cut maternal deaths by over 90%. For this, he was ostracized by his peers, who didn't want to believe they'd been killing their patients, and wound up in an insane asylum. A true geek, he stuck to his principle to the end, and ultimately prevailed. And, as a true ubergeek, had the unforeseen consequence of his new technology creating a population explosion....

Re:my vote goes to... (1)

dgph (107434) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422344)

Yes, he was pretty cool.

But it's e^(pi*i) = -1 isn't it?

Robert Goddard, the Wright Brothers (3)

kzinti (9651) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422345)

Experimenters, tinkerers, inventors, pioneers, and fine exemplars of the geek spirit -- they made the machines that led us into flight and into spaceflight.


Al Gore! (2)

crush (19364) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422346)

....we shouldn't forget the man that invented the net!

Top 10 geeks (1)

N!ght$h@de (102353) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422347)

Hmm...let's see...
1) Robert Goddard - (the father of rocketry)
2) Albert Einstein - (He's the geek's geek!)
3) Werner von Braun - (jet engine - he didn't invent it, but he improved it; rocketry)
4) Leonardo Da Vinci - (he just deserves it, other than the helicopter, he also invented a tank-like vehicle)
5 & 6) the Wright brothers - (airplane...)
7) Rene Descartes - (for reasons metioned earlier)
8) Clarence Johnson - (creator of the Skunk Works)
9) The Apollo 13 ground crew - (we all know what these guys did)
10) John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley - (invented the transistor)

What about these chaps (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422348)

Alan Turing -- for his work on computation and automata

Charles Proteus Steinmetz - alternating current, electric machines

Oliver Heaviside - Laplace transforms!!

Claude Shannon - Applying Boolean Logic to electric circuits, Information Theory, Automata

Carl Fredrick Gauss - duh

Kurt Goedel - Incompleteness theorem

Leonhard Euler - duh

Werner von Braun - Father of modern rocketry

Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schroedinger - Quantum Mechanics

Frankenstein (1)

eskil-2 (1077) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422349)

I nominate Dr. Frankenstein for creating the ultimate hack...

Re:I can't believe no one's mentioned Tesla! (1)

dgph (107434) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422350)

  • Had to calculate the volume of soup in his bowl before he could drink it.

Re: how about top 10 female geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422351)

hey, how about the top 10 female geeks??? p.s. natalie portman NOT allowed.

Re:my vote goes to... (2)

HapNstance (38538) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422352)

Actually the way it is usually written is:
e^(pi*i) + 1 = 0
This keeps the five constants (e, pi, i, 1, and 0) in the equation.
And yeah, he was a way math dude.

My nominations. (2)

Magus311X (5823) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422353)

European monk Adelard of Bath translated Arab mathematicianal-Khowarizmi's book "Al-jabr" in 1120. Within 20 years, Arabic decimals spread throughout Europe.

Leon Battista Alberti wrote "On Painting" in 1431, the first scientific study of perspective visualiztation. The mathematical interpretation of 3-D scenes as 2-D images continues to be the foundation of computer graphics and simulations.

William Oughtred invented the most successful computing device in history, the slide rule, based on the development of logarithms seven years earlier, in 1621.

Kurt Gdel (1)

MPolo (129811) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422354)

How about Kurt Gödel, who set Mathematics on its ear, freed it from Logicism, and was an all around strange guy to boot? I mean, he basically changed the whole direction of mathematics, which indirectly changed the whole direction of physics, which....

My favorite geeks... (2)

UncleRoger (9456) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422355)

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Grace Hopper
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. Ben Franklin
  4. That scotsman back in the 1400's who invented the fax

and if you still need names...

  • Whoever invented PEZ
  • The really fresh people from the Mentos commercials

Re:My choices. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422356)

Well nowadays MS sucks, but once upon a time they weren't really that bad.

Mikael Jacobson

Tesla - Gotta love that coil! :) (5)

r2ravens (22773) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422357)

Nikola Tesla has to be on the list.

From tm [] :

The Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and scientist.

Born on July 9/10, 1856 in Smiljan, Lika (Austria-Hungary)
Died on January 7, 1943 in New York City, New York (USA)

Inventions: a telephone repeater, rotating magnetic field principle, polyphase alternating-current system, induction motor, alternating-current power transmission, Tesla coil transformer, wireless communication, radio, fluorescent lights, and more than 700 other patents.

Another site: []

How many of us have our jobs, hobbies and/or avocations without the inventions of this man? He should also go on the all-time hackers list as well. I just wish he could have gotten that transmission-of-electricity-through-the-air thing working. :)


If they were named like wrestling stars... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422358)

That means the last 1000 years (not just the last century):

I'd go for:

1. Albert "Nuclear Al" Einstein
2. Isaac "Falling Apple" Newton
3. Galileo "Jupiter's Moons" Galilie
4. Nikolai "Around the Sun" Copernicus
5. Buckminster "The Bucky Ball" Fuller
6. Thomas "Electric Tom" Edison
7. Charles "Galapagos Kid" Darwin
8. Rene "I am what I am" Descartes
9. Leonardo "The Artist" da Vinci
10. Rob "The Slash" Malda (1,000 brownie points!)

Re: how about top 10 female geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422359)

Are you promoting segregation?

Re:Darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422360)

Yes, get's my vote, because it's always hilarious to see stupid people in the land of the "free" outlawing his teachings, and giving the rest of the western world to shake their heads and say "Only in America"

Re:how about (1)

waynem77 (83902) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422361)

Ozzy bites the head off of bats. That definitely makes makes him a geek. (The bad kind, not the good kind.)

Re:How about Charles Babbage... (2)

Greg Merchan (64308) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422362)

We would be where we are today or further along.

Babbage persuaded the British government to give him 17,000 lbs. (Wage at the time was 2lbs./week) to build his Difference Engine. When he had spent the money, the engine had still not been built. Instead of trying to finish the job he tried to get more funding for the government to create the 'Analytical Engine'. Since he had failed to produce any results, the government did not grant the funding.

When the Difference Engine was built nearly 20 years later, it was by two Swedish engineers, Pehr Georg and Edward Georg Scheutz at the cost of 566 lbs.

They managed to sell two of these devices, both to governments. The Engine was little better than a mechanical abacus and the mathematical tables of the time did a much better job at a lower cost.

Post PC Geeks (1)

MacTechnic (40042) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422363)

Without trying to recompile all the great scientists and inventors and others, which has been done already very well by A&E with their Biography's special, I would like to consider those geeks post 1984:
Linus Torvalds - who gave us Linux, which defines the post-PC Era.
Tim Berners-Lee - a physicist, who was the use of the ARPAnet for something more.
Marc Andreessen - who wrote a small inconsequential browser, that woke up Bill Gates, and might prove his downfall.
Steve Jobs - not for the Macintosh, or Apple, but for his work at NEXT and Pixar, in bringing Hollywood and Disney to the computer community.
Bezos at Amazon - Showing us that Marketing on the Internet matters
Richard Stallman - who began the vision for Open Source programming with GNU.
But that is just a beginning.

Re:It would definitely have to be... (1)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422364)

Not only did he bring us that nifty coordinate system, he was also the first to convincingly *prove* his existence, which is the next best thing to justifying it

On the contrary, I think Descartes was desperate to justify his Catholic faith, and knowingly or unknowingly devised a system of "proof" that conveniently led him straight to a proof for a perfect God.

I also don't find his "proofs" very convincing, because his system of proof is not deterministic, but instead relies on the process of elimination.

His first proof, the famous Cogito, ergo sum was based on the observation that I am aware I perform a process called "thinking" and that means that I must exist as a thinking thing. However obvious this might seem, it assumes that there can be no other way to explain the observation that we think, and Descartes had most deliberately resolved not to assume anything.

Descartes mistake is that he assumes that we, with our finite cognitive capacities, can know of any possible explanation for any observed phenomenon.

Imagine what math would be like if we treated it this way. Imagine if, being faced with the problem of 7/3, you wrote down all the numbers from 1 to 10 and eliminated them one by one. If for some reason you could eliminate all the numbers but 2, does that make 2 the correct answer? No because there's a whole system of non-integral numbers that the hypothetical person solving this problem doesn't know about.

No such thing as a "proof" can exist until we devise a deterministic way to arrive at it, as opposed to eliminating all but one possibility.

Einstein + Gates (1)

Willennium (111241) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422365)

Einstein, of course! And Bill Gates. Flame me all you want, Thorvaldlovers. /w

Re:Some more nominations... (2)

Greg Merchan (64308) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422366)

Nay on Babbage. Seemy other post [] .

A Different Geek (2)

jeremy f (48588) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422367)

Everyone's been suggesting inventor type geeks. There's someone who didn't really invent anything, but made as big of an impact, perhaps bigger, than all the other geeks on the list.

That man is Ghandi.

Perhaps Andrew Wiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422368)

For proving Fermat's last theorem (x^n+y^n=z^n , has no solution for n>2)

No one was able to prove the theorem for more than 350 years until Wiles did it a few years ago. Wiles spend more than 7 years of this life on this task.

Re:Ladies, Please! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422369)

Or Amazing Grace Hopper. Without her, we'd be getting "problems" out of the system.

Re:Alan Turing was NOT closeted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422370)

Alan Turing... closet homosexual ... complete geek
Alan was not closeted. He was very open about his predilections in cuddle-buddies. Unlike most of the closted geeks I know.

Re:A Different Geek (1)

jeremy f (48588) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422371)

My bad on the spelling -- Gandhi. Oops :P

How 'bout the beginning of the millenium? (2)

Felix culpa (105720) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422372)

All these "best of the millenium" lists concentrate on the last six hundred years of it, but the first four hundred weren't a total wasteland. Take Roger Bacon (circa 1213/19-1292) for example. He was a Franciscan Friar, a theologian and scientist who compiled a great encyclopedia of the sciences. He was probably the first to realize that the calendar that had been in use for the last 700 years or so was drifting off course, and to propose reforms. Truly a great geek. Or Abbo of Fleury (died 1004, he just makes it into this millenium), who wrote voluminously on astronomy, mathematics, and other things, bringing to them an intellectual rigor they had lost over the previous three centuries or so. Abbo is the only person I've heard of who ever coded the calendar into an acrostic poem. Another great geek.

These guys and others like them are all but forgotten now, but without them there would have been no da Vinci, no Descartes, and no Turing.

Copernicus... (1)

WolfShades (55062) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422373) a must. He (and Galileo) were reviled with extreme prejudice for the revolutionary concept that not everything revolves around the Earth. (Well, that the Earth revoles around the sun, but you know what I mean).

Some of my other suggestions would be:
  • Albert Einstein, an obvious choice, but one that will be on the list; let's face it, he was the ubergeek personified
  • The Curies.
  • Ada Lovelace and
  • Charles Babbage. The difference engine was a leap forward in computing, even if it was completely mechanical.

I would of course be remiss without noting that Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace's contributions are even more remarkable considering the tremendous bias against women doing serious scientific work at their respective times in history.

To be honest, though, you are talking about the top geeks of the millennium. Ten slots aren't going to be enough to do justice. Technology has come a long way in this millennium, and there are too many people that are responsible for that to limit the number to 10 slots. You need to recognize 25 people at least. 50 would be better.

The Gay Mafia Strikes Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422374)

Notice how often gays keep getting nominated for this award? It's the kind of thing that makes you go "Hmmm...." I'd say it's the homosexuals trying to push their agenda on legitimate society.

Max Plank (1)

jorbettis (113413) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422375)

I can't believe no one has already nominated him.

Were it not for his radiation theory, there would be no quantom physics. The concept of energy being finitely divisible is by far the most clever hack in physics.

Re:Da Vinci, Turing ... (0)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422376)

Da Vinci and Turing were fags, you know. Couldn't you pick someone more deserving of honor?

What's that got to do with them having great minds? being great hackers? I know lots of gay hackers - it has nothing to do with how well they code.

Hopefully we will have left this sort of bigotry in the old millenium (ending in just under a year - you have that long to shape up :-)

Newton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422377)

Calculus, mechanics, and optics. He is what all geeks aspire to be. Working in solitary while Caimbridge was closed do to a plauge outbreak, he explained why the universe was heliocentric, and discovered a system of mathematics that proved it. He set the standard for science, from that point on.

Re:Legos (1)

eht (8912) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422378)

Actually John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, invented them in 1916.

Top 10 Millenium Geeks (1)

slwashtub (97767) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422379)

In no particular order-
Giordano Bruno- great philosopher, scientist, first psychologist- and I won't even get into the art of memory

Thomas Jefferson- Architect, Scientist, helped invent the U.S.

Goethe- Writer, philosopher, Scientist

William of Occam- Occam's Razor-'nuff said

Rene Descartes and proof of existance (not!) (1)

KeithH (15061) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422380)

Actually, you don't have to slog through his Meditations to see the problem with his "proof". He states right at the beginning that his proof is not for unbelievers and the uneducated (i.e. it was only for the elite) and requires that you take a leap of faith. Apart from that, he was a fine mathematician.

Re:Nicolaus Copernicus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422381)

I definately agree! Galileo and Bruno based their work on his work! His work changed the position of man in the universe -- quite literally.

My Top Ten Geeks (1)

vanguard (102038) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422382)

The Order is not signifigant:

  • Bill Gates: Okay, you can flame me if you want but he made being a geek cool (at least after high school) by showing up at keynote speeches with dandruff and wrinkled shirts. For that, I am grateful.
  • The Wright Brothers: Talk about a major impact? Think about today's planet with planes?
  • Steven Hawking: He studies the universe and subscribes to Playboy? He belongs here.
  • Euclid: Advanced the study of mathematics.
  • Edison: Lightbulb, enuff said.
  • Alexander Gramm Bell: Telephone, ditto
  • Da Vinci: Helicopter, Anatomy, etc.
  • Einstein: Master mind who worked with atoms, and had trouble communicating with others? Uber-geek!
  • Milton Friedman: Nobel Prize winning economist who infulenced the planets governments into a structure that made the boom of the eighties and ninties possible. (according to me)
  • Linus Torvalds: Did the legwork behind the project that will change the way computer software is developed for the next few decades (perhaps longer).

Okay, I'll admit it's mostly geeks from this century. There are two reasons for that:
  1. This century had the best geeks.
  2. I know more geeks from this century.

Eli Whitney (1)

Ethan (9204) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422383)

How about the guy who made the Industrial Revolution possible with the "invention" of the concept and application of interchangeable parts?

Forget the cotton gin... This guy changed the world forever in the pursuit of making cheaper firearms.

All of these and...... (1)

the_argent (28326) | more than 13 years ago | (#1422384)

I'm so very surprised that I've seen only one mention of Gracie Hopper. Anyone that carried around nano-seconds and pico-seconds has got my vote.

We've got a year to argue this list!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422385)

You'd think *EVERYONE* on a site for geeks would know and realize that the second millennium doesn't begin until 12:00am on 01/01/2001.

Here's why:

The sequence of years is: 1 BC, 1 AD, 2 AD, ... 2000 AD

In order for the new millennium to begin on 01/01/2000, there would have been a year 0 between 1 BC and 1 AD. There *WAS NOT* a year 0, therefore there is still another year in the first millennium!

Re:Da Vinci, Turing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422386)

The point is that you don't want to use people of such obviously decadent moral character as role models for our youth. What's next? Rapists? Sometimes a man's choices disqualify him for honor in decent Christian society. Da Vinci and Turing and all those Greeks are good examples of people not to give that kind of praise to.

I'm not trying to be unkind, but just think of what could happen if kids get the idea that even gays can get this kind of prestige. This is the kind of thing that destroys the foundation of America: our families.

As for knowing gay hackers, I've never met one. I suppose they must exist, probably out in California. But I wouldn't want to encourage my sons to become like them.

Eric Ford (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422387)

Won the first nerd pagent hosted at MIT's Random Hall. You got to see the video to understand.

Raffik: You talked about putting the video online. Any chance?

Re:A Different Geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1422389)

Mhatma Gandi?
There's about 100,000 Gandi's you know...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>