Seven famous sevens – Part – 5

Hello to all. I am quite excited in taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – Seven day blogging challenge. The theme of the blogging challenge is SEVEN. I have decided to blog about seven famous sevens that I can recollect or find about. I thank Write Tribe for coming up with such an innovative challenge. I hope that every blogger who participates in this challenge will come out with full colours which,by the way,are SEVEN in number.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 1

Seven famous sevens – Part – 2

Seven famous sevens – Part – 3

Seven famous sevens – Part – 4



I am a TEACHER by profession. On the occasion of Teachers Day I would like to write about SEVEN great TEACHERS who have inspired me and millions of others. According to me a teacher is one who has decided to be a student throughout his life. A teacher is the one who readily shares his/her experience and wants the students to learn from them.

Arnold Sommerfeld


The master teacher. Eight of his students received Nobel prize. Isn’t it a boon to handle a class attended by eight potential Nobel laureates. Between 1901 to 1950 he was nominated for the Noble prize 81 times.  Definitely he is one among the elite group of people whom the Nobel prize missed.

Neils Bohr


One of the pioneers of Modern Physics. He dared to think out of the box. Received Nobel Prize in 1922. He had a scientific debate with Einstein on Quantum mechanics which became a world famous event and is now called a Bohr – Einstein debate. There is a book published on this.

Enrico Fermi

Unknown-2Only a few physicists were equally good at theory and experiments. Fermi was one of them. A great teacher. Invented the Nuclear Reactor. He was the best in “back of the envelope calculation” so much so that it is now informally called as the “Fermi method”.

Hans Bethe


He was the one to show the world that in the heart of stars nuclear fusion is taking place and received Nobel prize for it in the year 1967. He was the chief of the theoretical division working on the atomic bomb project. On the day he was informed that he had bagged the Nobel prize he insisted that he took his regular physics class.

Subramanyam Chandrasekar


The Nobel laureate with the Indian origin. Received Nobel prize for the work on evolutionary stages of Stars in 1983. A great teacher. One story in particular illustrates Chandrasekhar’s devotion to his science and his students. In the 1940s, while he was based at the University’s Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., he drove more than 100 miles round-trip each week to teach a class of just two registered students. Any concern about the cost effectiveness of such a commitment was erased in 1957, when the entire class–T.D. Lee and C.N. Yang–won the Nobel Prize in physics.

Lev Davidovich Landau


One of the greatest Russian Physicist. He was awarded the Nobel prize in physics in 1962 for his work in Superfluidity. Thousands of Physics students have benefited from his series of books on Theoretical physics. Landau kept a list of names of physicists which he ranked on a logarithmic scale of productivity ranging from 0 to 5. The highest ranking, 0, was assigned to Newton. Einstein was ranked 0.5. A rank of 1 was awarded to the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, Paul Dirac and Schrodinger and others. Landau ranked himself as a 2.5 but later promoted himself to a 2.

Richard Phillips Feynman


My favourite. According to me he was the best physics teacher of the 20th century. He won the Nobel prize in the year 1965 for co-developing the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics, one of the most successful theories in physics till date. He had the knack of solving problem in a simple way and teaching it effortlessly to anyone. His 3-volume lecture series is world famous and any physics student cannot miss learning from them.

One may ask as to why two great names, Newton and Einstein, have be omitted from my list. The reason is that I consider them as Gods of physics rather than just scientists.


25 thoughts on “Seven famous sevens – Part – 5

  1. Great to know about such great people.

    I have an apology to make, Padmanabha! While trying to publish your comment on my blog my hand slipped on the touch-pad just as I was clicking and the comment got deleted instead of being published. I did apologize in my blog and thank you for the comment but, maybe, you did not realize I had.

  2. Physics was never my subject back in school . But it is inspiring to read about these teachers. And to have taught 8 students who went onto win Nobel Prize. Wow, that is simply awesome.

  3. Firstly, Happy Teacher’s Day to you!
    Wonderful post, took me back to my teens when Bhabha, Sethna, Ramanna were bigger heroes than even Prasanna, Bedi, Chandra, Gavaskar.
    I particularly liked your last paragraph, which I fully agree with.

    • @Proactive Indian. Thanks. Yes there were days when scientists had better recognition than anyone else. Especially after Sir C.V. Raman won the Nobel prize. IISC, TIFR were very happening places then.

  4. Paddy, your love for Physics and some of its giants comes through beautifully in this post.

    The fact that you took something as mundane and boring as Physics teachers and yet managed to conjure an interesting post also speaks volumes for how well you manage to make boring things interesting…

    Your students are truly a lucky lot…

  5. Very interesting to read about these famous teacher/scientists. I liked the way you lay it out in such a nice, clear way, too, as I am not a math/science type people but found it easy to follow.

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