(1) Sir Isaac Newton
It may be a myth that Newton discovered the law of gravity when an apple bonked him on the noggin, but it's tough to argue with the guy's genius credentials. By parsing out the composition of white light, he made himself the father of optics. By enumerating his three laws of motion, he became the father of modern physics. By discovering calculus, he became the bane of college freshmen for centuries to come. If that's not enough, he also had a really terrific wig collection.
(9) Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs may be one of the computing industry's most brilliant minds. Just ask Steve Jobs! His list of achievements is impressive. Jobs built both Apple Computers and Pixar into the revered cultural juggernauts they are. Are you reading this while listening to an iPod and wearing Finding Nemo pajamas? Then you've got Jobs to thank.
Newton should be favored in this matchup, but does developing calculus and formalizing the law of the conservation of momentum outweigh the pure relief one feels when switching from a PC to a Mac? Telescopes are great and all, but what would you rather spend the rest of your life without: a telescope or an iPod? Newton's achievements are astonishing in terms of both scale and scope, but Jobs has quite the devoted following. Can Newton avoid the upset, or will an Apple fall on his head?
[See the whole bracket here.]