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The Smartest People Who Ever Lived

  • 1. Nikola Tesla From his prediction of smartphones and drones to his influence on today's electric cars, Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a man with a mind that was decades ahead of its time. The Serbian-born inventor was also an electrical engineer and contributed greatly to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, as well as the development of wireless communication.
  • 2. Stephen Hawking Born in 1942 and beating all of the odds that weigh against him, Stephen Hawking is absolutely one of the smartest humans living today. He is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist. His most well-known work involves his prediction that black holes emit radiation and his book, A Brief History of Time, was a British Sunday Times bestseller for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Hawking's body suffers from a slow-progressing form of ALS  that has paralyzed him to the point where he can only communicate by using a speech-generating device attached to a single cheek muscle. Despite this, Hawking's brain is outstandingly unaffected by illness. He continues to provide advancements to modern science. On 20 July 2015, Hawking helped launch Breakthrough Initiatives, a scientific and technological program to search for extraterrestrial life.
  • 3. Katherine Goble Johnson Katherine Johnson (b. 1918) is an African-American physicist and mathematician who conducted the critical calculating work necessary for NASA to send astronauts like John Glenn and Alan Shephard into space. She overcame great obstacles in the 60's as both an African-American and a woman, and is today an inspiration for many to pursue their dreams and be as assertive and aggressive as needed to get an important mission accomplished. Johnson's story was unfolded recently in the nonfiction book, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, as well as a highly-acclaimed film by the same title.