Top 17 Famous Electrical Scientists That You Should Know

Top 17 Famous Electrical Scientists That You Should Know

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To celebrate scientists and scientific advancements, we have collected a list of the most famous electrical scientists that will inspire us for the greater good.

Electricity is one of the most important inventions in the history of human civilization. It’s also responsible for many of the conveniences we take for granted today, like smartphones, computers, and cars.

Many electrical scientists have contributed significantly to our understanding of electricity—including Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.

This article explores the brief history of these scientists, as well as some basic ideas about electrical science.

To ensure credibility, we used reliable sources to find relevant information about the scientists. 

Here are the top 17 electrical scientists of all time.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below!

Famous Electrical Scientists

#17. John Bardeen (1908-1991): The Two Times Nobel Laureate

Famous Electrical Scientists; Credits: BBC
Credits: BBC

What makes John Bardeen famous?

John Bardeen was an American engineer who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 and 1972.

Bardeen is best known for his work with William Shockley and Walter Brattain to invent the transistor. The transistor, which allows for much more efficient electronic devices, has revolutionized modern life by ushering in computers, phones, and other devices.

Bardeen’s efforts in conventional superconductivity also spurred new developments in spectroscopy and medical imaging.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#16. Jack Kilby (1923-2005): The American Engineer & Co-Developer of The Integrated Circuits

Credits: KERA News; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: KERA News

What makes Jack Kilby famous?

Jack Kilby is best known for his work at Texas Instruments, which produced the world’s first integrated circuit.

The integrated circuit was a revolutionary invention that allowed scientists to combine multiple transistors onto a single piece of semiconductor material. This new technology led to the development of the microprocessor, which allowed computers to become smaller, faster, and more powerful than ever before.

Kilby’s other inventions include thermal printers and handheld calculators. He was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his work.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#15. Edwin Howard Armstrong ( 1890-1954): The Inventor of the FM Radio

Credits: National Park Service; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: National Park Service

What makes Edwin Howard Armstrong famous?

Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American electrical scientist who created the world’s first frequency modulation radio. He also invented the superheterodyne receiver system.

Armstrong’s work revolutionized wireless communications and enabled radio stations to be heard across a wide area.

He won several awards, including the Frank Medal and the Edison Medal. Armstrong was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#14. Dennis Gabor (1900-1979): The Father of Holography

Credits: BBVA Openmind; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: BBVA Openmind

What makes Dennis Gabor famous?

Dennis Gabor was a Hungarian-born British electrical scientist credited with inventing holography. This process uses laser light to produce three-dimensional images of objects that can be viewed from different angles and distances. 

Gabor was born in Budapest in 1900. He attended university there before moving to Germany for postgraduate work. He later moved to England and worked as a research engineer at the BTH (British Thomson-Houston Company).

In 1971, Gabor won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electrical engineering. His work has been applied in many areas—from medicine to telecommunications to art.

[Source: The Nobel Prize]

#13. Charles K. Kao (1933-2018): Father of Fiber Optic Communications

Credits: Lindau Mediatheque; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: Lindau Mediatheque

What makes Charles K. Kao famous?

Charles K. Kao was one of the most influential electrical engineers in the history of telecommunications. He helped shape the world we live in today by developing better ways to communicate and access information.

His work with lasers and glass fibers revolutionized the internet. He helped create fiber optics, which allows us to transmit data at super high speeds. This discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Kao was a man of the world. While he was born in China, he had citizenship for both the UK and the US.

What’s the best Charles K. Kao quote?

“If you really look at it, I was trying to sell a dream…There was very little I could put in concrete to tell these people it was really real.”

[Source: The Nobel Prize]

#12. Alessandro Volta (1745-1827): The Inventor of Electric Battery

Credits: ThoughtCo; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: ThoughtCo

What makes Alessandro Volta famous?

Alessandro Volta was a chemist and physicist who is best known for inventing one of the first electric batteries, the Voltaic Pile. 

He also discovered methane—a gas that is commonly known for its presence in natural gas reserves and is used as a fuel source.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#11. John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945): The Founding Father of Modern Electronics Who Invented The Vacuum Tube

Credits: Royal Society; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: Royal Society

What makes John Ambrose Fleming famous?

John Ambrose Fleming was one of the most well-known scientists in the history of electronics and telecommunications. 

Born on November 29, 1849, in Lancaster, England, this engineer rose to be a foremost expert in physics. His radio transmitter led to the advancement of transatlantic radio transmission. 

In addition, Fleming’s right-hand rule is a famous concept in physics and mathematics today.

John Ambrose Fleming was also part of the creationist organization, the Evolution Protest Movement, which he co-founded in 1932.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#10. Georges Leclanché (1839-1882): One of The Inventors of The Earlier Known Electrical Batteries

Credits: Wikipedia; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: Wikipedia

What makes Georges Leclanché famous?

Georges Leclanché was a French electrical engineer who set the stage for the dry cell battery by inventing the Leclanché cell in 1866. This new type of battery was an improvement over previous wet cells because it was easy to use and maintain, but it had a lower voltage than other batteries.

Leclanché’s cell consisted of two electrodes—a zinc anode and a manganese dioxide cathode. The electrolyte was ammonium chloride.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#9. William Eccles (1875-1966): The Man Who Pioneered Modern Radio Communication

Credits: Wikipedia; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: Wikipedia

What makes William Eccles famous?

William Henry Eccles was a British physicist who pioneered research into radio communication.

Eccles was born in 1875 and died in 1966, but his work in the field of radio communication had an immediate impact on the development of electronic communications.

His work influenced the creation of the first working radio system that could transmit voice signals across distances. He also made important contributions to understanding how sound travels through air and water, as well as how sound waves affect the human ear.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#8. Frank Sprague (1857-1934): The Naval Officer Whose Inventions Shaped The Modern World

Credits: DTM; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: DTM

What makes Frank Sprague famous?

In the late 19th century, an American electrical engineer named Frank Sprague was responsible for many innovations that changed how people lived their lives. Born in Connecticut, Sprague went on to study at the US Naval Academy in Maryland.

But he is best known for promoting urban development through his work on electric railways, elevators, and motorized vehicles. 

[Source: Edison Tech Center]

#7. William B. Shockley Jr. (1910-1989): The Man Who Contributed To The Invention of The Transistor

Credits: The Famous People, Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: The Famous People 

What makes William B. Shockley famous?

William B. Shockley was born in 1910 in London to American parents. They returned to America after his birth, and he grew up in California. He took his undergraduate studies at Caltech before proceeding to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his Ph.D. in 1936.

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and Shockley’s research at Bell Telephone Lab on semiconductors led to the creation of the first transistor. This invention would eventually win them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956.

He was also known for his views on eugenics, which he described as “the selective breeding of human beings.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#6. James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879): A Force For Physics

Credits: BBC; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: BBC

What makes James Clerk Maxwell famous?

If you want to know what the world would be like without electricity, look no further than James Clerk Maxwell.

This Scottish scientist and mathematician contributed to the advancement of electromagnetic radiation. His classical theory helped explain the relationship between light, electricity, and magnetism.

He contributed to the formulation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann equation, which explains the kinetic theory of gases. 

Maxwell’s discoveries led to the introduction of several fields in modern physics, like quantum mechanics and special relativity. James Clerk Maxwell was a profoundly religious man who later became an elder in the church.

What is the best James Clerk Maxwell quote?

“The only laws of matter are those that our minds must fabricate and the only laws of mind are fabricated by matter.”

[Sources: Physics World, Encyclopedia Britannica]

#5. Georg Simon Ohm (1789-1854): Pioneering Scientists Who Shaped Modern Electrical Technologies

Credits: The Famous People; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: The Famous People

What makes Georg Simon Ohm famous?

Georg Simon Ohm was a German physicist who is best known for being the first person to use the concept of voltage to explain the relationship between electric current and resistance.

He worked on Alessandro Volta’s electrochemical cell. Ohm realized that the voltage produced by this type of battery could be measured as a function of the current flowing through it. He also devised a mathematical equation relating voltage and electric current—Ohm’s law.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#4. Michael Faraday (1791-1867): The Father of Electricity

Credits: ThoughtCo

What makes Michael Faraday famous?

Born in England, Michael Faraday was the first to propose that electricity and magnetism are related. He made this discovery in 1831 when he found that a magnet could affect the current of electricity.

Faraday discovered electromagnetism while experimenting with magnetic fields to understand how electricity worked. 

He also developed the concept of induction (also known as electromagnetic induction). This explains how mechanical motion could generate electricity. It was an important discovery at the time because it meant there would be no need for batteries anymore.

Faraday also did important research in the chemical sciences and discovered benzene. He also invented an early version of a Bunsen burner for studying gases. Although Faraday struggled with dyslexia, he received the 1902 Nobel Prize for his contributions to physics.

What’s the best Michael Faraday quote?

“But still try, for who knows what is possible?”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica ]

#3. Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922): The Man Who Invented the Telephone

Credits: Encyclopedia Britannica; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: Encyclopedia Britannica

What makes Alexander Graham Bell famous?

Alexander Graham Bell, born in 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland, was one of the most important inventors in history. He developed the world’s first practical telephone, which revolutionized global communication. 

Bell also contributed to hydrofoils, optical telecommunications, and aeronautics. In addition to being a pioneer in these fields, he helped establish one of the world’s largest companies: AT & T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company).

What’s the best Alexander Graham Bell quote?

“The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.”

[Source: Gemm Learning]

#2. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943): The Dyslexic Celebrated by Elon Musk

Credits: History.com; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: History.com

What makes Nikola Tesla famous?

Nikola Tesla is one of the most famous inventors and engineers in history. He was born in 1856 in what is now Croatia, and he died in 1943. 

He is best known for his contributions to the modern alternating current (AC) system, which makes electric power available to homes and businesses everywhere.

He invented the Tesla coil, which produces high voltage and low amperage. This allowed him to create lightning-fast motors and transmitters.

What’s the best Nikola Tesla quote?

“If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.”

[Source: American Dyslexia Association]

#1. Thomas Edison (1847-1931): The Man Who Invented Direct Current

Credits: ThoughtCo; Famous Electrical Scientists
Credits: ThoughtCo

What makes Thomas Alva Edison famous?

Thomas Edison was born in 1847 in Ohio to Samuel and Nancy Elliot. As a boy, he studied arithmetic under the guidance of his mother—a school teacher. Edison would later enroll in a chemistry course, the only course he took from an institution of higher learning.

Edison wasn’t just a dyslexic student. He was a troublemaker, too. His mother resorted to homeschooling when she noticed that her son was lazy in school. Edison struggled with speech and couldn’t grasp arithmetic concepts.

In 1869, Edison patented his first invention: a vote register and recorder. He went on to create devices that made it possible for people to communicate over long distances and at great speeds.

Thomas Alva Edison was the man behind one of history’s most groundbreaking inventions: the electric light bulb. Other inventors later adopted his work on the light bulb and motion picture cameras.

These inventions changed the world forever—from lighting up our homes and offices to enabling us all to speak with one another across continents.

[Source: Gemm Learning]

Final Thoughts

As we’ve explored here, electrical science is a fascinating field. It’s full of incredible people who are making the world a better place and improving our lives in ways we can’t even imagine.

With their vision and determination, these scientists have made the world better. We can only hope that the next generation of electrical scientists will continue developing new technologies and improving the world.

If you have any questions about this list or want to talk about these scientists and their work, feel free to leave us a comment below.


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Joannah W.
Joannah has been a science publisher with close to 20 years of experience. She wants to help students and researchers stay ahead of the trends and developments in the science community by making science more accessible to everyone.

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