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Introduction
Survey responses
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Anjana Ahuja
Julian Baggini
Philip Ball
Marlene Oscar Berman
Gustav VR Born
K Eric Drexler
Marcus Du Sautoy
Edmond H Fischer
John Hall
Tim Hunt
Wolfgang Ketterle
Leon Lederman
Matt Ridley
Raymond Tallis
Frank Wilczek
Lewis Wolpert
Dr Stuart Derbyshire
senior lecturer University of Birmingham School of Psychology.
The development of procedures to illustrate conformity revealed how circumstances and information determine behaviour.
Keith J Devlin
professor of mathematics at Stanford University
The greatest innovation in mathematics was the Hindu-Arabic number system.
David Dickson
director Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net)
Moveable type, without which the growth of books, newspapers and magazines would have been impossible.
Dr Justin Dillon
senior lecturer in science and environmental education and subject director, PGCE chemistry, King's College London
In the field of science education, the Nuffield Foundation Science Teaching Project (1949-1993) stands head and shoulders above any other curriculum development.
Dr K Eric Drexler
author
The development of a method that enables the design and fabrication of 3D, million-atom-scale, atomically precise structures by one person in a single day.
Nicola Drury
genetic counsellor
The discovery of the double helix structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953.
Marcus Du Sautoy
professor of mathematics at Wadham College, Oxford
The zeta function is a nineteenth century concept exploited by the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann to reveal many of the secrets of the primes.
Jack D Dunitz
emeritus professor of chemical crystallography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
The discovery by Max von Laue in 1912 that X-rays are diffracted by crystals, and the application of this to determine the atomic arrangement within crystals.
John Dupre
professor of philosophy of science, University of Exeter
Seeing nature at all levels as dynamic and changing, as consisting only of processes and events rather than of things with eternally definable properties.
David Edgerton
Hans Rausing professor in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Imperial College London.
I don't know, and I don't think anyone else knows either!
Artur Ekert
Leigh Trapnell professor of quantum physics, University of Cambridge
In my field (quantum computing and cryptography) the great innovations are yet to come (but I am happy with my discovery of quantum cryptography).
Dr John Emsley
chemist and science writer
The discovery of elemental phosphorus by Hennig Brandt of Hamburg in 1669.
James E Enstrom
research professor/epidemiologist Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA
The use of advanced statistical techniques like proportional hazards regression to analyse epidemiologic data.
Edzard Ernst
professor of complementary medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth
The controlled clinical trial changed medicine entirely as for the first time in history we were able to make formal comparisons and define what works and what doesn't work.
Dr Dylan Evans
writer and independent social entrepeneur
I can't think of a single innovation in any field, let alone my own, that merits the adjective ‘great’.
Nina Fedoroff
Willaman professor of life sciences and Evan Pugh professor
The greatest innovation in my field has been the ability to introduce genes into plants.
Stanley Feldman
emeritus professor of anaesthesia Imperial College London
Today we realise that life is impossible unless we control what Bernard described as the ‘milieur interieur’. It is the real secret of life.
Ian Fells
emeritus professor of energy conversion at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne
The greatest innovation in my field is nuclear fission and fusion, the conversion of mass into energy.
Dr Christine Finn
archaeologist at the Universities of Bradford and Bristol
The possibility of fast, efficient, public, and low-cost communications that span contexts and time-zones - the internet.
Edmond H Fischer
professor emeritus of biochemistry at the University of Washington
There is no question that the greatest advances occurred in the field of genetic engineering, with the cloning, characterisation, manipulation and expression of genes.
Professor Brian J Ford
biologist, microscopist and science writer/broadcaster
Microscopes reveal living universes of microbes, which you cannot otherwise know.
Hayley J Fowler
senior research associate in the Water Resource Systems Research Laboratory, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at the University of Newcastle
The World Wide Web
Steve Fuller
professor of sociology at the University of Warwick
The ‘unity of research and teaching’ that characterises the mission of the modern university.