Most people cannot agree on most things. However, everyone agrees that ideas can change the world.
Some of the most groundbreaking innovations of the last several years were built upon foundations that others laid in their dissertations decades prior.
Education centers and research institutes, such as the Copycrafter company, produce so many papers and hypotheses in any given year that it is impossible to keep abreast of all them.
However, a few dissertations tend to stand out, volumes so earth-shattering that they always draw attention to their contents because of the impact they had on their society and the world at large in the years that followed.
While everyone has a few favorites that they will elevate above others, most people agree that the following dissertations are probably the most important.
1. Marie Curie (Research on Radioactive Substances)
Marie Curie, who was born in Poland in 1876, was the first individual to win the Nobel Prize twice. The chemist and physicist is responsible for discovering the elements of radium and polonium, not to mention providing the bricks that her admirers would eventually use to form the modern theory on radioactivity.
Her scientific work, which eventually led to her death, continues to shape social and economic life in the 21st Century.
2. Albert Einstein (New Determination of Molecular Dimensions)
Einstein is probably the most famous scientist in history. Einstein was among the first scholars to identify the insufficiencies of Newton’s Laws of Mechanics. This realization drove him to expand the boundaries of science as people knew it at the time, delivering the general theory of relativity and planting the pillars that would eventually become the core tenets of physics.
The breakthroughs Einstein made on Brownian Motion began with the framework he created in New Determination of Molecular Dimensions’.
3. Ivan Sutherland (Man-Machine Graphical Communication System)
The father of computer science is, without a doubt, Alan Turing. Turing wore many hats. He was a mathematician, a biologist, and even a cryptanalyst. He worked with the British government to accelerate the efforts they were making to decode German Cyphers.
His work was crucial in many of the victories the Allied Forces notched. He eventually went on to introduce the idea of machine intelligence.
That being said, one cannot ignore the work Ivan Sutherland did in 1963 when he produced a thesis part of which involved the creation of the first Graphical User Interface in the world.
GUI has become the heart of digital computing in the 21st Century and it all began with Sutherland’s Sketchpad.
4. Claude Shannon (Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits)
Alan Turing’s role in the development of computing has drawn so much interest that those other heroes whose efforts were equally instrumental in the advancement of computing often go unnoticed.
One name that lay people rarely mention is Claude Shannon. Shannon did not invent any computers or build GUIs. Rather, his work showed how the binary properties of electrical switches could be used to produce amazing results.
At the time, he was just 21. And yet his genius was such that he gave digital technology the cornerstone it needed to advance in its growth.
5. Max Weber (Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism)
Weber produced a thesis that attempted to combine economic and religious sociology. He also tackled capitalism, culture and their influence on religion. In doing so, he was credited with playing a part in the founding of sociology.
It is worth noting that the dissertations above are not the only works that changed the world in a noteworthy manner. So many men and women have strived throughout history to push advancements in their respective fields, unaware of the tide they would eventually generate.
Alexander Fleming, for instance, did not intend to discover Penicillin. But his accident still went on to produce the first antibiotic, saving so many lives in the process.
John Nash’s research gave many governments and organizations the tools they needed to better scrutinize the factors that affect decision-making.
De Broglie gave the world ave-Particle Duality’. Karl Marx explored the differences between Democritus and Epicurus, Polymaths from ancient Greek. Kim Eric Drexler practically invented the concept of nanotechnology.
So much of contemporary society is built on the blood and sweat of men and women that have long since passed but whose works have thrived.