Physicists on the Money

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) appeared on the Polish 1000 Zloty note. He was the first modern scientist to propose a model of the solar system in which the sun was at the center, circled by the planets moving in orbits, but not supported by any invisible crystal spheres. He surpressed publication of his work until after his death. To read a brief biography and to link to further sites about Copernicus, click here. (37 K)

Marie and Pierre Curie (Marie: 1867-1934, Pierre: 1859-1906) appear on the French 500 franc note. (45 K) They led the discovery and classification of radioactive elements and shared the 1903 Nobel prize for that work. Marie Curie won a second Nobel in 1911 for her work on radium. Their daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie also won a Nobel prize! Marie Curie also appeared on a Polish 20,000 Zloty note. (150 K)

Democritus (about 460 BC - 370 BC) appears on an old 100 drachma note from Greece. He was one of the earliest of the ancient philosophers to describe matter as made up of small indivisible particles (atoms) moving in empty space. For a bio, click here. (47 K)

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) appeared on the Israeli 5 pound note. The greatest physicist of the twentieth century, Einstein not only invented the theories of special relativity (behavior of rapidly moving object) and general relativity (theory of gravitation), but made fundamental contributions to the beginnings of quantum theory. (47 K) For a bio, click here