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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
Paul Parsons
Editor of BBC Focus magazine
Anything that enables us to rub out our mistakes and correct them; to go back and put things right.
Channapatna S Prakash
Professor of plant molecular genetics at Tuskegee University
I believe that the greatest 'recent' innovation in my field has been the development of genetically modified (GM) crops
Sunand Prasad
President-elect, Royal Institute of British Architects
I think the greatest innovation in architecture is the window and therefore transparency
Jack Pridham
Emeritus professor of biochemistry at Royal Holloway College
The chromatographic analysis which came to the fore in the 1940s and 50s.
Jack Pringle
partner, Pringle Brandon
The elevator revolutionised architecture
James Randerson
Science correspondent, The Guardian
Without Darwin’s theory of evolution biologists would lose the glue that holds their subject together
Dr Jerome R. Ravetz
Associate Fellow, James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization, University of Oxford.
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Professor Jonathan Ree
Freelance historian and philosopher
The idea that the amazing complexity of spoken languages could be captured in a notation comprising roughly two dozen signs strikes me as the most awe-inspiring intellectual achievement of the whole of human history: the inventor of the alphabet deserves a million Nobel prizes
Dr David P Reed
adjunct professor of media arts and sciences, MIT
Internet architecture - the concept that a single, open, evolving architectural structure could encompass all of communications.
Dr Matt Ridley
Science writer
‘Random search’ has revolutionised the checking of facts, the discovering of new information, the gleaning of leads
Dr David Roblin
vice president of Pfizer Global R&D
The invention of the clinical trial, used by James Lind to find a remedy for scurvy in 1747.
Dr Jennifer L Rohn
Editor of LabLit Magazine.
The real renaissance began in the late 1980’s, when scientists finally worked out enough about viruses to design clever interventions capable of stopping virus replication without harming the patient’s own cells
Nicolas Roope
Cofounder of Antirom
The hyperlink: this simple little innovation makes the Internet the web that it has become, the massive brain composed of almost infinite memories, facts and thoughts, all woven together into a matrix by the hyperlink
Leslie Rose
Consultant clinical scientist
Evidence-based medicine defines a rational approach to life that is based on controlled testing and verification, an approach that has major benefits for all forms of decision making.
Vadim S Rotenberg
senior lecturer in psychiatry Tel Aviv University.
The most stimulating discoveries in brain science during the last decade are new data about the development and function of the right frontal lobe.
Dr Paul W K Rothemund
Senior research fellow California Institute of Technology
The greatest advance in my field, nanotechnology, was Ned Seeman's realisation that we could use DNA the way a carpenter uses wood: that DNA doesn't just have to assume the form of a linear double helix
Dr Jack Rowley
Director research & sustainability, GSM Association.
The first successful transmission under the leadership of Guglielmo Marconi of radio signals across the Atlantic on 12 December 1901
Bill Sardi
Health journalist
Humanity is on the cusp of figuring out how to live, as a common occurrence, 120 years or so, in good health
Todd Seavey
Director of publications at the American Council on Science and Health
The invention of vaccines
Stephen Senn
professor of statistics at the University of Glasgow.
The development of the randomised clinical trial (RCT), a development which, like most important scientific innovations, emerged gradually
Jeffrey O Shallit
professor of computer science, University of Waterloo
The realisation that algorithms are mathematical objects, and can be rigorously analysed in terms of their consumption of scarce resources, including space, time, and randomness
Dr Michael Shermer
Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author
The scientific method is so important because humans are pattern-seeking primates who look for and find meaningful patterns in the world, to try to make sense of an often chaotic nature
Clay Shirky
associate teacher at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU
The Small Worlds work marked the transition, for a large number of problems, from ‘Hmm. That's weird.’ to ‘Oh! I see how that works
Dr H Paul Shuch
founder and chief engineer of Microcomm
The ‘invention’ in 1945, by Arthur Charles Clarke, of global satellite communications from geostationary orbit
S Fred Singer
founder and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project
The discovery of extra-solar planets.
Julien Clinton Sprott
Professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The World Wide Web, which revolutionised the way we interact with one another and with the body of human knowledge
Stephen W Squyres
Goldwin Smith professor of astronomy, Cornell University
Rockets capable of reaching space
Professor Nico Stehr
Karl Mannheim chair for cultural studies Zeppelin University
Scholars began to perceive that existing laws and institutions including the institutions of social inequality were not immutable laws of nature but human constructs, which, if unsatisfactory could be changed
Victor J Stenger
emeritus professor of physics and astronomy University of Hawaii
The discovery that the laws of physics are not restrictions on the behaviour of matter but restrictions on the behaviour of physicists
Bruce Sterling
Author, journalist, blogger
The ‘word processor’