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Famous Physicists from the United States

Updated June 14, 2019 12.7k views935 items

List of notable or famous physicists from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top physicists born in the United States and even some popular physicists who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American physicists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These physicists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known physicist from the United States is included when available.

This list below has everything from Albert Einstein to Alexander Graham Bell.

This historic physicists from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American physicists of note?" and "Who are the most famous physicists from the United States?" These prominent physicists of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American physicists.

Use this list of renowned American physicists to discover some new physicists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
  • 1

    Albert Einstein

    Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

    BirthplaceUlm, Germany

    Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two...  more

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  • 2

    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 86 (1856-1943)

    BirthplaceSmiljan, Croatia

    Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current...  more

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  • 3

    Alexander Graham Bell

    Dec. at 75 (1847-1922)

    BirthplaceEdinburgh, United Kingdom

    Alexander Graham Bell ('Graham' pronounced ) (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first...  more

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  • 4

    Carl Sagan

    Dec. at 62 (1934-1996)

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy...  more

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  • 5

    Sally Ride

    Dec. at 61 (1951-2012)

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American astronaut and physicist. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride was...  more

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  • 6

    William Shockley

    Dec. at 79 (1910-1989)

    BirthplaceEurope, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England

    William Bradford Shockley Jr. (February 13, 1910 – August 12, 1989) was an American physicist and inventor. Shockley was the manager of a research group at Bell Labs that included John Bardeen and...  more
  • 7

    Robert Oppenheimer

    Dec. at 62 (1904-1967)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Julius Robert Oppenheimer (; April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Oppenheimer was the wartime...  more

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  • 8

    Enrico Fermi

    Dec. at 53 (1901-1954)

    BirthplaceRome, Italy

    Enrico Fermi (Italian: [enˈriːko ˈfermi]; 29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian and naturalized-American physicist and the creator of the world's first nuclear reactor, the Chicago...  more
  • 9

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio

    George Robert Carruthers (born October 1, 1939) is an award-winning African-American inventor, physicist, engineer and space scientist. Carruthers invented the ultraviolet camera/spectograph for NASA...  more
  • 10

    Linus Pauling

    Dec. at 93 (1901-1994)

    BirthplacePortland, Oregon, United States of America

    Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator, and husband of American human rights activist Ava Helen Pauling. He...  more
  • 11

    Ronald McNair

    Dec. at 35 (1950-1986)

    BirthplaceLake City, South Carolina

    Ronald Erwin McNair (October 21, 1950 – January 28, 1986) was an American NASA astronaut and physicist. He died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L, in which he was...  more

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  • 12

    Edward Teller

    Dec. at 95 (1908-2003)

    BirthplaceEurasia, Hungary, Central Hungary, Budapest

    Edward Teller (Hungarian: Teller Ede; January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who is known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb" (see the...  more
  • 13

    Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin

    Dec. at 76 (1858-1935)

    BirthplaceIdvor, Eurasia, Serbia, Vojvodina

    Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin, Ph.D., LL.D. (Serbian Cyrillic: Михајло Идворски Пупин, pronounced [miˈxǎjlo ˈîdʋoɾski ˈpǔpin]; 4 October 1858 – 12 March 1935), also known as Michael I. Pupin was a Serbian...  more
  • 14

    BirthplaceSan José, Costa Rica

    Franklin Ramón Chang Díaz (April 5, 1950) is a Costa Rican American mechanical engineer, physicist, former NASA astronaut. He is the founder and current CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company as well as a...  more
  • 15

    BirthplacePittsburgh, USA, Pennsylvania

    John Samuel Hagelin (born June 9, 1954) is the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement in the United States. He is president of the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in...  more
  • 16

    BirthplaceZeigler, Illinois

    Nick Holonyak Jr. (born November 3, 1928) is an American engineer and educator. He is noted particularly for his 1962 invention of a light-emitting diode (LED) that emitted visible red light instead...  more
  • 17

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    Brian Randolph Greene (born February 9, 1963) is an American theoretical physicist, mathematician, and string theorist. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996 and chairman of the...  more

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  • 18

    Chester Carlson

    Dec. at 62 (1906-1968)

    BirthplaceSeattle, Washington

    Chester Floyd Carlson (February 8, 1906 – September 19, 1968) was an American physicist, inventor, and patent attorney born in Seattle, Washington. He is best known for having invented the process of...  more
  • 19

    Wernher von Braun

    Dec. at 65 (1912-1977)

    BirthplaceWyrzysk, Poland

    Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German and later American aerospace engineer and space architect. He was the leading figure in the development of...  more
  • 20

    BirthplaceSan Jose, California, United States of America

    Michio Kaku (; born January 24, 1947) is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science (science communicator). He is a professor of theoretical physics in the City College...  more
  • 21

    BirthplaceFederated States of Micronesia

    James Hansen Newman, Ph.D. (born October 16, 1956) is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions. ...  more
  • 22

    Richard Feynman

    Dec. at 69 (1918-1988)

    BirthplaceNew York City, Manhattan, USA, New York

    Richard Phillips Feynman, ForMemRS (; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of...  more
  • 23

    Robert Noyce

    Dec. at 62 (1927-1990)

    BirthplaceBurlington, Iowa

    Robert Norton Noyce (December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990), nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley," was an American physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in...  more
  • 24

    Robert H. Goddard

    Dec. at 62 (1882-1945)

    BirthplaceWorcester, Massachusetts

    Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882 – August 10, 1945) was an American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor who is credited with creating and building the world's first liquid-fueled...  more
  • 25

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    James Dewey Watson (born April 6, 1928) is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist. In 1953, he co-authored with Francis Crick the academic paper proposing the double helix...  more

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