I think mine is Albert Einstein – he was an absolute genius! I’m a physical chemist, so I deal with quite a lot of Physics-based science, and the equations that he came up with are essential for finding out more about the behaviour of light, mass and energy. And he received a Nobel prize for Physics in 1921 – something I could only dream of! 🙂
He discovered the connection between mass and energy: the equation “E=mc ^2” (energy = mass multiplied by the speed of light(squared). This formula led to things like Nuclear Power.
I think mine has to be Professor Peter Higgs. He predicted the existence of Higgs boson which is a particle that allows everything to have a mass (basically a weight). This was a key theory missing from physics – all the equations and concepts previous scientists had worked out were not able to account for this one, incredibly important thing.
And then, as you may have heard in the news, they found actual evidence at CERN (aka the big bang machine) that proves Higgs’ theory was right and the Higgs boson exists! This is massive in the world of physics and it happened during our lifetimes, just highlighting the fact that there is still stuff about the world around us that we don’t know.
I’ve also seen Professor Higgs give a lecture at my university. It was amazing to think that he’s one of those scientists that has changed the world of physics and people will be taught about him and his theories for generations – and yet I’ve seen him teach! Amazing!