Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was one of the most respected scientists who ever lived. A theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, Einstein developed the special and general theories of relativity, applying the latter to map out the large-scale structure of the universe. He is most well-known for developing what is perhaps the most famous equation of all time: the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc^2. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Later in life, he was a staunch supporter of American civil rights and an activist against the dangers of nuclear weapons.
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
Source: Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (1993), p. 79. Einstein had been annoyed that Paul Drude, editor of Annalen der Physik, had dismissed out of hand some criticisms Einstein made of Drude's electron theory of metals. [Wikiquote]