The Ten Most Influential People of the 19th Century
10. Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Marie Curie created the theory of radioactivity through her discovery of radium and also developed a process for isolating isotopes. These were huge advancements in chemical science which have been used in many applications, not the least of which are major advancements in the medical field. Unfortunately the discoveries she made would eventually claim her life, yet she left in indelible mark on modern science.
9. Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
This quiet Austrian Monk would go on to develop the foundations of genetic study. Sure genetics has come a long way since then, but Mendel was the one who started it all with his ideas on inherited traits through his experiments and the idea of genotypes. Mendel’s theories were not accepted by the scientific community during his life however. It would only be later when his work was revisited and validated.
One of the most important scientists in history, Faraday made huge contributions to the fields of chemistry and physics with his experiments in electromagnetism and chemistry. It would be hard to list all of his accomplishments in those fields. His experiments and findings have had a profound impact upon the scientific knowledge we hold dear today.
He set out to conquer Europe and set an undying legacy for himself. Through his conquests and ambitions he spread many ideas, including the Napoleonic code, metric system, and others. He changed the face of Europe and remains a figure of legend, despite only being 200 years ago.
In today’s modern world, communication happens instantly, even to the point where almost everyone has personal cell phones from which they can instantly call and talk to anyone they want. And it all began when Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone. Everyone once in a while an invention comes along which drastically changes the world, and the telephone is one of those inventions, shrinking the world we know through the lines of communication.
Perhaps the greatest of the American presidents, Lincoln is most widely praised for his stand against slavery. Even though is almost split his country in two, Lincoln did not refrain from doing what he believed was right. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and led America through their civil war. He remains a hero to many who value integrity and bravery.
Workers of the world unite! Marx’s ideas would end up shaking the world and would shape the political climate of the upcoming 20th century. He developed the political system of communism which many countries, notably Russia and China, would come to adopt. Whether the systems they produced faithfully represented Marx’s communal ideals remains up for debate, it was his ideas which sewed the seeds. This manifesto was revolutionary, for better or for worse, bastardized or not.
The list of his inventions is large and his influence is wide-spreading, mostly for his invention of the light bulb, giving the world instant and lasting electric light. He also invented the phonograph, kinetoscope, and many others. He is also responsible for advancing the industrial revolution through mass production of his inventions and research.
Pasteur is really the father of microbiology whose findings have been immensely influential in the filed of medicine. Pasteur made significant contributions to the germ theory of disease, vaccine development, and food safety through his pasteurization of milk.
There wasn’t a doubt in my mind who the number one person on this list would be. Darwin shook the world with his theory of evolution causing many to rethink everything they knew, including the origins of mankind. Darwin’s theory would grow as accepted fact in the realm of science and caused major turmoil with those of religious faith. The voyage of the Beagle to the Galapagos islands is now legend, and Darwin’s ideas now form the backbone of all biology. He is one of the most influential people in history and certainly the most influential to come from the 19th century.