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Famous Physicists from the United States

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Updated June 14, 2019 11.8k views 935 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. (935 items)
1
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

Birthplace: Ulm, 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 ...more

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2
Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

Birthplace: Smiljan, 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 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 75 (1847-1922)

Birthplace: Edinburgh, 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 ...more

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4
Carl Sagan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 62 (1934-1996)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

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

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5
Sally Ride is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 61 (1951-2012)

Birthplace: Los 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 ...more

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6
William Shockley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 79 (1910-1989)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

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 ...more
7
Robert Oppenheimer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 63 (1904-1967)

Birthplace: New 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 ...more

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8
Enrico Fermi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 53 (1901-1954)

Birthplace: Rome, 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 ...more

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9
George Carruthers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 79

Birthplace: Cincinnati, 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 ...more
10
Linus Pauling is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Linus Pauling Dec. at 93 (1901-1994)

Birthplace: Portland, 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. ...more

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11
Ronald McNair is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 36 (1950-1986)

Birthplace: Lake 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 ...more

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12
Edward Teller is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 95 (1908-2003)

Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

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 ...more

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13
Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 77 (1858-1935)

Birthplace: Idvor, 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 ...more
14
Franklin Chang Dí... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 68

Birthplace: San 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 ...more
15
John Hagelin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 64

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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
Nick Holonyak is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 90

Birthplace: Zeigler, 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 ...more
17
Brian Greene is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 56

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

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 ...more
18
Chester Carlson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 62 (1906-1968)

Birthplace: Seattle, 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 ...more
19
Wernher von Braun is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 65 (1912-1977)

Birthplace: Wyrzysk, 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 ...more

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20
Michio Kaku is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 72

Birthplace: San 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 ...more
21
James H. Newman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 62

Birthplace: Federated 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.
22
Richard Feynman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Richard Feynman Dec. at 70 (1918-1988)

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

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 ...more

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23
Robert Noyce is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 63 (1927-1990)

Birthplace: Burlington, 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 ...more

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24
Robert H. Goddard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Dec. at 63 (1882-1945)

Birthplace: Worcester, 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 ...more

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25
James D. Watson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Physicists from the United States
Age: 90

Birthplace: Chicago, 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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