76 Great Scientists who lived into their nineties

Here are profiles of 76 great scientists who lived into their 90s, from Grace Eldering, who developed the world’s first whooping cough vaccine, to Hans Bethe, who discovered how stars generate energy. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, merely a sampling, but I hope you enjoy it and find it informative.

pearl-kendrick
Pearl Kendrick

Pearl Kendrick lived for 90 years, from August 24 1890 to October 8, 1980. She was born in Wheaton, Illinois, USA and died in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

She was the bacteriologist who, cooperating with Grace Eldering, developed the world’s first whooping cough vaccine.

Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
Charles Thomson Rees Wilson

CTR Wilson lived for 90 years, from February 14 1869 to November 15 1959. He was born in Glencorse, Scotland, UK and died in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

He invented the cloud chamber, a device to detect and track ionizing radiation, for which he was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock lived for 90 years, from June 22 1902 to September 2 1992. She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, USA and died in Huntington, New York, USA.

She carried out postgraduate work in botany before turning her attention to cytogenetics. She won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of mobile genetic elements.

Nikolay Semenov
Nikolay Semenov

Nikolay Semenov lived for 90 years, from April 15 1896 to September 25 1986. He was born in Saratov, Russian Empire and died in Moscow, Soviet Union.

He made major advances in understanding the rates and mechanisms of chemical chain reactions and combustion. He shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood for discoveries in the field of chemical reaction mechanisms.

Archibald Vivian Hill
Archibald Hill

Archibald Hill lived for 90 years, from September 26 1886 to June 3 1977. He was born in Bristol, England, UK and died in Cambridge, England, UK.

He graduated in mathematics, then specialized in physiology, measuring the mechanical and thermal behavior of muscle tissue, and how muscles produce mechanical work. He was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this research.

Jules Bordet
Jules Bordet

Jules Bordet lived for 90 years, from June 13 1870 to April 6 1961. He was born in Soignies, Belgium and died in Brussels, Belgium.

He was a bacteriologist who received the 1919 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in the field of disease immunity.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale lived for 90 years, from May 12 1820 to August 13 1910. She was born in Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany and died in London, England, UK.

She is famous as the founder of modern, professional nursing. Less well-known is her work as a statistician, promoting graphical presentation of data, and inventing the polar area diagram pie-chart. She campaigned strongly for improved sanitation in public life, adding as many as 20 years to the life-expectancy of people in Britain between about 1870 and 1935.

Hendrik Casimir
Hendrik Casimir

Hendrik Casimir lived for 90 years, from July 15 1909 to May 4 2000. He was born in The Hague, Netherlands and died in Heeze, Netherlands.

He was a physicist, after whom the Casimir Effect is named. The Casimir Effect is a force generated at the quantum level by virtual photons.

Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace lived for 90 years, from January 8 1823 to November 7 1913. He was born in Usk, Wales, UK and died in Broadstone, England UK.

He independently devised the theory of evolution by natural selection.

antonie van leeuwenhoek
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek lived for 90 years, from October 24 1632 to August 26 1723. He was born and died in Delft, in the Dutch Republic.

He is famous for his work improving the microscope and creating the new science of microbiology.

Peyton Rous
Francis Peyton Rous

Francis Peyton Rous lived for 90 years, from October 5 1879 to February 16 1970. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and died in New York City, USA.

He won the 1966 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of tumor-inducing viruses. The prize was shared with Charles Huggins, who lived to the age of 95, and whose entry is also on this page.

Robert S. Mulliken
Robert S. Mulliken

Robert Mulliken lived for 90 years, from June 7 1896 to October 31 1986. He was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA and died in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

He received the 1966 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of molecular orbital theory applied to the structure of chemical compounds.

Stephanie Kwolek
Stephanie Kwolek

Stephanie Kwolek lived for 90 years, from July 31 1923 to June 18 2014. She was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA and died in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

She studied chemistry and is famous for inventing the super-material Kevlar.

Clyde Tombaugh
Clyde Tombaugh

Clyde Tombaugh lived for 90 years, from February 4 1906 to January 17 1997. He was born in Streator, Illinois, USA and died in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA.

He is famous for discovering Pluto. In addition to Pluto, he discovered 15 asteroids, the comet Tombaugh–Tenagra, and hundreds of stars. He also reported observing UFOs.

Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat
Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat

Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat is now 91 years old. She was born on December 29 1923. She was born in Lille, France.

Her output of research papers has been prodigious, making major contributions on several fronts in the field of mathematical physics. She proved the existence and uniqueness of solutions to Einstein’s gravitational field equations and produced new mathematical methods for physics applications.

Rudolph A. Marcus
Rudolph A. Marcus

Rudolph Marcus is currently 91 years old. He was born on July 21 1923 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

A chemist, he produced a new theory of electron transfers. These transfers are one of the keys to chemistry and life. Despite their apparent simplicity, understanding them has not been easy. Marcus theory explains the rates at which electrons jump between donor and acceptors, for which he received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson is currently 91 years old. He was born on December 15 1923 in Crowthorne, England, UK.

He has made several major contributions in physics – particularly in quantum electrodynamics and the Dyson Operator, Dyson Series, Dyson Sphere, Dyson Tree, Dyson Number and the Schwinger–Dyson equation.

no
Antony Hewish

Antony Hewish is currently 91 years old. He was born on May 11 1924 in Fowey, England, UK.

He was awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Martin Ryle for developing radio aperture synthesis and using it to discover pulsars – i.e. rotating neutron stars. Jocelyn Bell, one of the group’s graduate students, who made the pulsar discovery, unfortunately did not share in the Nobel Prize. Bell’s own view is that only in exceptional cases should a Nobel Prize be awarded to a research student, and she does not believe she was an exceptional case.

William N. Lipscomb
William N. Lipscomb

William Lipscomb lived for 91 years, from December 9 1919 to April 14 2011. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

He investigated compounds formed by the element boron. These compounds, called boranes, were a puzzle, because the boron atoms are bonded to unexpected numbers of other atoms. Using a combination of X-ray diffraction analysis and quantum mechanical computations, Lipscomb unraveled many of the mysteries of bonding in boranes, for which he received the 1976 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Vladimir Prelog
Vladimir Prelog

Vladimir Prelog lived for 91 years, from July 23 1906 to January 7 1998. He was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary and died in Zürich, Switzerland.

He specialized in stereochemistry – which had its beginnings with Jean Baptiste Biot and Louis Pasteur in the first half of the 1800s. Prelog proved that nitrogen as well as carbon could act as the central atom in a chiral molecule. He won the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.

Pattillo Higgins
Pattillo Higgins

Pattillo Higgins lived for 91 years, from December 5 1863 to June 5 1955. He was born in Sabine Pass, Texas, USA and died in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

He was a self-educated geologist, motivated by a desire to discover new oil-fields. He studied US Geological Survey reports, looking for common factors hinting at the presence of oil. He decided that a local salt dome might have oil below it. To the scorn of professional geologists, he formed an oil company and started drilling. After several false starts, he struck oil. It was a huge find, producing many millions of barrels of oil.

Edwin G. Krebs
Edwin G. Krebs

Edwin Krebs lived for 91 years, from June 6 1918 to December 21 2009. He was born in Lansing, Iowa, USA and died in Seattle, Washington, USA.

He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for establishing how reversible phosphorylation acts as a switch to activate proteins and regulate cellular processes.

Carl Djerassi
Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi lived for 91 years, from October 29 1923 to January 30 2015. He was born in Vienna, Austria and died in San Francisco, California, USA.

He was a member of the team which invented the oral contraceptive pill. Another member, George Rosenkranz, lived longer and also features on this page, near the end. Djerassi thought it possible he would reach 100, because his father had lived to 96 and might have lived longer, had he not been killed in an accident.

Hans von Euler-Chelpin
Hans von Euler-Chelpin

Hans von Euler-Chelpin lived for 91 years, from February 15 1873 to November 6 1964. He was born in Augsburg, Kingdom of Bavaria and died in Stockholm, Sweden.

He was a professor of chemistry and he established the chemical mechanisms of enzyme actions when solutions containing sugar ferment. For this work, he was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Arthur Harden.

Manne Siegbahn
Manne Siegbahn

Manne Siegbahn lived for 91 years, from December 3 1886 to September 26 1978. He was born in Örebro, Sweden and died in Stockholm, Sweden.

He was awarded the 1924 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing new equipment and experimental methods in X-ray spectroscopy, allowing the acquisition of electron-shell data with unprecedented accuracy. This enabled quantum theory to be compared with laboratory data more precisely than ever before, facilitating further developments in quantum theory.

Adolf Butenandt
Adolf Butenandt

Adolf Butenandt lived for 91 years, from March 24 1903 to January 18 1995. He was born in Bremerhaven, Germany, and died in Munich, Germany.

He was interested in hormone chemistry and was able to isolate and hence discover primary female sex hormones including estrone. He received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work on hormones.

Val Logsdon Fitch
Val Fitch

Val Fitch lived for 91 years, from March 10 1923 to February 5 2015. He was born in Merriman, Nebraska, USA and died in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

He worked in Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project in WW2 and was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics for an experiment he and James Cronin had carried out 16 years earlier, which established that CP violation takes place. i.e. The reactions of subatomic particles can be asymmetric with respect to time.

Joseph Erlanger
Joseph Erlanger

Joseph Erlanger lived for 91 years, from January 5 1874 to December 5 1965. He was born in San Francisco, California, USA and died in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

He shared the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Herbert Spencer Gasser for their electro-physiological work, which identified different varieties of nerve fiber and related the diameter of the fibers to the speed of conduction of a signal along the nerve.

Mary Somerville
Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville lived for 91 years, from December 26 1780 to November 28 1872. She was born in Jedburgh, Scotland, UK and died in Naples, Italy.

She was a formidable mathematician, taking the difficult mathematics published by Pierre-Simon Laplace and reformulating it into a more understandable form. She speculated that Uranus was not orbiting according to Newton’s Laws, because it was being disturbed by the gravitational attraction of an undiscovered planet, which turned out to be Neptune. The University of Oxford’s first women’s college was named in her honor.

Chen-Ning Yang
Chen-Ning Yang

Chen-Ning Yang is currently 92 years old. He was born on October 1 1922 in Hefei, Anhui, China.

He moved to the USA and in 1946 studied with Edward Teller, who is also featured on this page. He is famous for Yang-Mills theory and for establishing parity breaking in beta-decay, for which he and Tsung-dao Lee shared the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Stanley Cohen
Stanley Cohen

Stanley Cohen is currently 92 years old. He was born on November 17 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

He double-majored in chemistry and biology before becoming a biochemist. He isolated nerve growth factor (NGF) and then discovered epidermal growth factor. His colleague in this work was Rita Levi-Montalcini, who lived to be 104 years old. Cohen and Levi-Montalcini shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work.

Walter Kohn
Walter Kohn

Walter Kohn is currently 92 years old. He was born on March 9 1923 in Vienna, Austria.

Graduating as an applied mathematician, he got a Ph.D. in physics, and was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his achievements in density-functional theory. Using DTF, quantum mechanics is used to calculate the properties of many-electron systems.

Archer John Porter Martin
Archer John Porter Martin

Archer Martin lived for 92 years, from March 1 1910 to July 28 2002. He was born in London, England, UK and died in Llangarron, England, UK.

He invented partition chromatography, which permitted complex mixtures of biochemicals to be quickly separated into the individual compounds. Partition chromatography quickly became an indispensable tool in organic chemistry and biochemistry laboratories; Martin and Richard Synge shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for its invention.

Walter Rudolf Hess
Walter Rudolf Hess

Walter Hess lived for 92 years, from March 17 1881 to August 12 1973. He was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland and died in Locarno Switzerland.

He began his career as a ophthalmologist before moving into research work. He received the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for mapping the areas of the brain responsible for controlling internal organs.

Mildred Trotter
Mildred Trotter

Mildred Trotter lived for 92 years, from February 3 1899 to August 23 1991. She was born in Monaca, Pennsylvania, USA and died in Washington DC, USA.

She was an anatomist, who made major contributions to today’s knowledge of human skeletal structure and bone density. She devised a statistical formula which allows the length of a bone to be used to estimate the height of the body it came from. Forensic scientists still use the formula today.

Edward Donnall Thomas
Edward Donnall Thomas

E. Donnall Thomas lived for 92 years, from March 15 1920 to October 20 2012. He was born in Mart, Texas, USA and died in Seattle, Washington, USA.

His first degree was in chemistry, and he then studied medicine. He performed the first ever human bone marrow transplant in 1956. He shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph E. Murray for their discoveries in cell and organ transplantation.

Eugene Wigner
Eugene Wigner

Eugene Wigner lived for 92 years, from November 17 1902 to January 1 1995. He was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary and died in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

He was a participant in the WW2 Manhattan Project: his group designed the nuclear reactors that synthesized weapons grade plutonium from uranium. A theoretical physicist, he was awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of symmetry principles and their applications in the study of elementary particles and the atomic nucleus.

Edward Adelbert Doisy
Edward Doisy

Edward Doisy lived for 92 years, from November 13 1893 to October 23 1986. He was born in Hume, Illinois, USA and died in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

He shared the 1943 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Henrik Dam for their discovery of vitamin K and its chemical structure and distinguishing between vitamins K1 and K2.

Matilda Moldenhauer Brooks
Matilda Moldenhauer Brooks

Matilda Brooks lived for 93 years, from 1888 to 1981. She obtained her first degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

She discovered that methylene blue is an antidote to carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning.

Albert Szent-Györgyi
Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi lived for 93 years, from September 16 1893 to October 22 1986. He was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary and died in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA.

He was a physiologist who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries regarding the biological combustion processes, particularly vitamin C – which he and colleagues discovered – and the catalysis of fumaric acid.

Sir Henry Dale
Sir Henry Dale

Henry Dale lived for 93 years, from June 9 1875 to July 23 1968. He was born in Middlesex, England, UK and died in Cambridge, England, UK.

He was awarded the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that the body may use the chemical acetylcholine to transmit signals across synapses from neuron to neuron. The award was shared with Otto Loewi, whose idea for the experiment that proved nerve signals were transmitted chemically came to him in a dream.

Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling lived for 93 years, from February 28 1901 to August 19 1994. He was born in Portland, Oregon, USA and died in Big Sur, California, USA.

He was a founding father of both quantum chemistry and molecular biology through his application of quantum mechanics to chemical bonds. He was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize.

maclyn-mccarty
Maclyn McCarty

Maclyn McCarty lived for 93 years, from June 9 1911 to January 2, 2005. He was born in South Bend, Indiana, USA and died in New York City, USA.

He was one of the lead researchers in the renowned Avery–MacLeod–McCarty experiment, which established that DNA forms the chemical basis of genes.

Gerhard Herzberg
Gerhard Herzberg

Gerhard Herzberg lived for 94 years, from December 25 1904 to March 3 1999. He was born in Hamburg, Germany and died in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

He was a chemist who applied atomic and molecular spectroscopy to compounds on Earth and in space. He was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work which added considerably to our knowledge of the geometry and electron arrangements in molecules, especially free radical molecules.

Alice Catherine Evans
Alice Catherine Evans

Alice Evans lived for 94 years, from January 29 1881 to September 5 1975. She was born in Neath, Pennsylvania, USA and died in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

She was a bacteriologist who discovered that Bacillus abortus causes the disease Brucellosis in cattle and humans. Eventually, as a result of her discovery, milk pasteurization became standard practice.

Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington

Charles Scott Sherrington lived for 94 years, from November 27 1857 to March 4 1952. He was born in London, England, UK and died in Eastbourne, England, UK.

He was jointly awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries in neuron functions.

Sir John Carew Eccles
Sir John Carew Eccles

Sir John Eccles lived for 94 years, from January 27 1903 to May 2 1997. He was born in Melbourne, Australia and died in Tenero-Contra, Switzerland.

He was a neurophysiologist who shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for demonstrating the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane.

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker lived for 94 years, from June 30 1817 to December 10 1911. He was born in Halesworth, England, UK and died in Sunningdale, England, UK.

He was a founder of geographical botany and best friend to Charles Darwin, many of whose plant samples he classified. In the historic evolution debate at the University of Oxford in 1860, Hooker and Thomas Huxley defended Darwin’s theory against Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and others. Most observers believed Darwin’s supporters won the debate.

Louis de Broglie
Louis de Broglie

Louis de Broglie lived for 94 years, from August 15 1892 to March 19 1987. He was born in Dieppe, France and died in Louveciennes, France.

He was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physics after his theory that electrons and other particles have wave properties was verified by experiment.

Willis Lamb
Willis Lamb

Willis Lamb lived for 94 years, from July 12 1913 to May 15 2008. He was born in Los Angeles, California, USA and died in Tucson, Arizona, USA.

He discovered the Lamb Shift – unexpected fine detail in hydrogen’s spectrum – indicating that there was more to the quantum behavior of electron orbitals in atoms than had previously been thought. His discovery gave direction to new efforts in theoretical physics, leading to significant advances in the field of quantum electrodynamics. He was jointly awarded the 1955 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery.

Méria Telkes
Méria Telkes

Méria Telkes lived for 94 years, from December 12 1900 to December 2 1995. She was born in Budapest, Hungary and died in the same city.

She was a physicist-inventor. She created the first thermoelectric power generator and used semiconductors to design the first thermoelectric refrigerator. She invented a solar-powered miniature desalination unit for use on boats. Her solar inventions were so numerous that she became known as ‘The Sun Queen.’

Charles Brenton Huggins
Charles Brenton Huggins

Charles Huggins lived for 95 years, from September 22 1901 to January 12 1997. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and died in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

In 1966 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning hormonal treatment of prostatic cancer. The award was made jointly to Francis Peyton Rous, who lived to the age of 90 and whose entry is higher on this page.

Frederick Sanger
Frederick Sanger

Frederick Sanger lived for 95 years, from August 13 1918 to November 19 2013. He was born in Rendcomb, England, UK and died in Cambridge, England, UK.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice: in 1958 and 1980. His first prize was for discovering the chemical structure of insulin and establishing that it had definite amino acid sequences. The second was for determining the base sequences in nucleic acids.

Edward Teller
Edward Teller

Edward Teller lived for 95 years, from January 15 1908 to September 9 2003. He was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary and died in Stanford, California, USA.

He is known as the father of the hydrogen bomb and took part in a number of important discoveries in physics and chemistry including the Jahn-Teller effect, Gamow-Teller transitions, and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller theory.

Louis Néel
Louis Néel

Louis Néel lived for 95 years, from November 22 1904 to November 17 2000. He was born in Lyon, France and died in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.

He was a solid-state physicist, who proposed the existence of new forms of magnetism – antiferromagnetism and ferrimagnetism – for which he received the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics. His ideas have also allowed more efficient computer memory units to be produced.

James Lovelock
James Lovelock

James Lovelock is currently 95 years old. He was born on July 26 1919 in Letchworth, England, UK.

He established the Gaia hypothesis, proposing that Earth’s biosphere is self-regulating. He has numerous inventions to his name, including the electron capture detector.

Jens Christian Skou
Jens Christian Skou

Jens Christian Skou is currently 96 years old. He was born on October 8 1918 in Lemvig, Denmark.

He made the first discovery of an ion-transporting enzyme, sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase, often written: Na+, K+ -ATPase. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Paul D. Boyer and John E. Walker for his discovery.

niccolo-leoniceno
Niccoló Leoniceno

Niccoló Leoniceno lived for 96 years, from 1428 to 1524. He was born in Lonigo, Italy and died in Ferrara, Italy.

A Renaissance physician, he challenged errors in accepted classical works by the revered Pliny the Elder. He pointed out that Pliny had claimed the moon was bigger than the earth, which was patently untrue, and that Pliny had mistranslated Ancient Greek medical theory. Leoniceno’s view was that the original Greek works, verified by current first-hand observations, were preferable to Pliny’s derivative work.

Norman Foster Ramsey
Norman F. Ramsey

Norman Ramsey lived for 96 years, from August 27 1915 to November 4 2011. He was born in Washington, DC, USA and died in Wayland, Massachusetts, USA.

He invented the separated oscillatory fields method and applied it to developing the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks. He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.

Miriam Rothschild
Miriam Rothschild

Miriam Rothschild lived for 96 years, from August 5 1908 to January 20 2005. She was born in Ashton Wold, England, UK and died in the same village.

She discovered the mechanism by which fleas jump as high as they do and discovered that the rabbit flea’s breeding cycle is controlled not by its own body, but by the host rabbit’s hormones. She was known as ‘Queen of the Fleas.’

Sergei Winogradsky
Sergei Winogradsky

Sergei Winogradsky lived for 96 years, from September 1 1856 to February 25 1953. He was born in Kiev, Russian Empire and died in Brie-Comte-Robert, France.

He discovered lithotrophic organisms – those which obtain energy via chemical reactions with inorganic substance, such as minerals. He also discovered chemotrophic organisms – those which obtain energy by oxidation of substances which may be either inorganic or organic in origin. The key point is that these organisms do not rely on photosynthesis as an energy source.

Franz Ernst Neumann
Franz Ernst Neumann

Franz Neumann lived for 96 years, from September 11 1798 to May 23 1895. He was born in Joachimsthal, Holy Roman Empire and died in Königsberg, German Empire.

He discovered Neumann’s Law: the molecular heat of a compound is equal to the sum of the atomic heats of its constituents. He also mathematically formulated the laws of electric current induction.

john wheeler
John Wheeler

John Wheeler lived for 96 years, from July 9 1911 to April 13 2008. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, USA and died in Hightstown, New Jersey, USA.

A physicist, he coined the term black hole and carried out important work in nuclear fission, general relativity and unified field theory including the Breit–Wheeler process, the Wheeler–DeWitt equation, and Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory.

Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey lived for 96 years, from March 15 1858 to December 25 1954. He was born in South Haven, Michigan, USA and died in Ithaca, New York, USA.

When Gregor Mendel published his rules of heredity in the 1860s, and so founded the science of genetics, he was generally ignored, until his work was ‘rediscovered’ in 1900. In fact, botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey rediscovered it at an earlier date, citing Mendel’s work in his 1892 paper Cross Breeding and Hybridizing. In the course of his work, Bailey coined the words cultivar, cultigen and indigen.

Erwin Chargaff
Erwin Chargaff

Erwin Chargaff lived for 96 years, from August 11 1905 to June 20 2002. He was born in Czernowitz, Austria-Hungary and died in New York City, USA.

He is famous for Chargaff’s rules, which paved the way for the discovery of DNA’s structure.

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer
Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer lived for 97 years, from February 24 1907 to May 17 2004. She was born in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa and died in the same city.

She worked for the East London Museum. She had contacted local sea fishermen, asking that they bring to her attention any unusual fish they caught. One day she brought a specimen back to the museum and removed the mud and slime to reveal a strange, unknown fish – the most beautiful fish she had ever seen. James Smith, an ichthyologist from Rhodes University positively identified it as a coelacanth, thought to have been extinct for about 150 million years.

Mary Cartwright
Mary Cartwright

Mary Cartwright lived for 97 years, from December 17 1900 to April 3 1998. She was born in Aynho, England, UK and died in Cambridge, England, UK.

She was a mathematician who, with J. E. Littlewood, was the first person to analyze a mathematically dynamical system with chaos: an example of this is the butterfly effect, where a small change in the initial condition produces huge changes in the final outcome. This is often portrayed as the beating of a butterfly’s wings in China causing a hurricane in Florida.

George Whipple
George Whipple

George Whipple lived for 97 years, from August 28 1878 to February 1 1976. He was born in Ashland, New Hampshire, USA and died in Rochester, New York, USA.

He carried out research into pernicious anemia, which was then a fatal disease. He discovered that feeding liver to anemic dogs reversed the anemia. He was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with George Minot and William Murphy for their discovery of liver therapy treatment of anemia.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell lived for 97 years, from May 18 1872 to February 2 1970. He was born in Trellech, Wales, UK and died in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales, UK.

He wrote the three volume work Principia Mathematica influencing future mathematical work in artificial intelligence, logic, set theory, and computer science. He was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature for championing humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.

Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel lived for 97 years, from March 16 1750 to January 9 1848. She was born in Hanover, Germany and died in the same city.

She was sister to William Herschel, who discovered Uranus. She became interested in astronomy herself and discovered five comets, and rediscovered Comet Encke. She was the first woman ever to be paid a salary for her scientific work, the salary provided by King George III of Great Britain. The star catalogue she produced resulted in the award of the British Royal Astronomical Society’s 1828 Gold Medal – the first awarded to a woman and the only one awarded to a woman until the next came in 1996.

Renato Dulbecco
Renato Dulbecco

Renato Dulbecco lived for 97 years, from February 22 1914 to February 19 2012. He was born in Catanzaro, Italy and died in La Jolla, California, USA.

He shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and David Baltimore for his discovery that certain types of viruses, called oncoviruses, can infect normal cells, resulting in the incorporation of malignant genes into the host-cell genome. This can switch the genetic behavior of normal cells to produce tumorous cells, resulting in cancer.

Ernst Ising
Ernst Ising

Ernst Ising lived for 98 years, from May 10 1900 to May 11 1998. He was born in Cologne, Germany and died in Peoria, Illinois, USA.

He established the Ising Model, a mathematical model he used to analyze magnetic phenomena. Today the model’s use has expanded to include biological membranes, neural networks, protein folding, and social interactions.

Sewall Wright
Sewall Wright

Sewall Wright lived for 98 years, from December 16 1889 to March 3 1988. He was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, USA and died in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

He was one of the founders of theoretical population genetics, discovering the inbreeding coefficient. He established methods for calculating how gene frequencies are spread within populations resulting from genetic drift, migration, mutation and natural selection.

George Rosenkranz
George Rosenkranz

George Rosenkranz is currently 98 years old. He was born on August 20 1916 in Budapest, Hungary.

He led the team which invented the oral contraceptive pill. Carl Djerassi, a member of that team, is listed higher on this page.

Joseph Tyrrell
Joseph Tyrrell

Joseph Tyrrell lived for 98 years, from November 1 1858 to August 26 1957. He was born in Weston, Canada West and died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

A geologist, he discovered a new species of dinosaur, Albertosaurus, in Alberta in 1884. Albertosaurus is a member of the Tyrannosauridae family.

Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe

Hans Bethe lived for 98 years, from July 2 1906 to March 6 2005. He was born in Strasbourg, Germany and died in Ithaca, New York, USA.

He was awarded the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research into nuclear reactions, particularly those producing energy in stars.

So, that wraps up our look at nonagenarian scientists.

If you’d like more in the same vein, you could check out our centenarian scientists page.

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Author of this page: The Doc
Published June 8, 2015.

The majority of the images of scientists have been digitally enhanced and colorized by this website. © All rights reserved. The following images are available under Creative Commons licenses:

Creative Commons licensed images
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22 Great Scientists who lived for 100 years or more

Here are profiles of 22 great scientists who lived for over 100 years, with the oldest reaching 110 years of age. The highest age at which any of the people featured here published new work was 103. The four who reached the greatest ages were all mathematicians.

Dorrit Hoffleit
Dorrit Hoffleit

Dorrit Hoffleit lived for 100 years, from March 12 1907 to April 9 2007. She was born in Florence, Alabama, USA and died in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

She co-discovered the optical variability of the quasar 3C 273, the first quasar ever identified, and co-authored The General Catalogue of Trigonometric Stellar Parallaxes, offering precise distances to over 8000 stars, information that is essential to understanding the dynamics and evolution of our Milky Way galaxy.

Maurice Goldhaber
Maurice Goldhaber

Maurice Goldhaber lived for 100 years, from April 18 1911 to May 11 2011. He was born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (which is now Lviv, Ukraine) and died in East Setauket, New York, USA.

Working with the neutron’s discoverer, James Chadwick, he found that neutrons can decay. With his wife, Gertrude, he discovered that beta-particles are electrons. With Lee Grodzins and Andrew Sunyar, he discovered that neutrinos have negative helicity.

Preston Bassett
Preston Bassett

Preston Bassett lived for 100 years, from March 20 1892 to April 30 1992. He was born in Buffalo, New York, USA and died in New York City, USA.

An inventor and engineer, he patented 35 devices including carbon arc lights for movie projectors and military searchlights. He was called upon by Albert Michelson to advise on arc lighting and gyroscopes in the famous measurements of the speed of light at Mount Wilson Observatory.

Ernst Mayer
Ernst Mayr

Ernst Mayr lived for 100 years, from July 5 1904 to February 3 2005. He was born in Kempten, Germany and died in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA.

He was an evolutionary biologist who redefined the word species to mean a group of living things that can reproduce only within the group.

Waldo Semon
Waldo Semon

Waldo Semon lived for 100 years, from September 10 1898 to May 26 1999. He was born in Demopolis, Alabama, USA and died in Hudson, Ohio, USA.

He invented plasticized polyvinyl chloride, the third most used synthetic plastic in the world and held 16 patents in the field of synthetic rubber.

Ancel Keys
Ancel Keys

Ancel Keys lived for 100 years, from January 26 1904 to November 20 2004. He was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA and died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

He specialized in the study of human nutrition and is remembered for formulating K-rations for American soldiers in World War 2 and hypothesizing and promoting the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss

Claude Lévi-Strauss lived for 100 years, from November 28 1908 to October 30 2009. He was born in Brussels, Belgium and died in Paris, France.

He was an anthropologist, held to be one of the fathers of modern anthropology. He was responsible for the field of structural anthropology – the idea that all forms of human activity are founded on the same basic thought patterns.

Raymond Firth
Raymond Firth

Raymond Firth lived for 100 years, from March 25 1901 to February 22 2002. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand and died in London, England, UK.

He was a professor of anthropology, responsible for the splitting of social organization from social structure. He was still writing in his hundredth year. He seems to have inherited genes for long life from his father, who lived to the age of 104.

Friedrich Hund
Friedrich Hund

Friedrich Hund lived for 101 years, from February 4 1896 to March 31 1997. He was born in Karlsruhe, Germany and died in the same city.

He was a physicist, famous for molecular orbital theory and Hund’s Rule, which determines how the electron shells in an atom are filled. Robert Mulliken, winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize in Chemistry said Hund’s work had been of great importance to his own research and that, in a fairer world, they would have been awarded the prize jointly.

Charles Greeley Abbot
Charles Greeley Abbot

Charles Abbot lived for 101 years, from May 31 1872 to December 17 1973. He was born in Wilton, New Hampshire, USA and died in Riverdale, Maryland, USA.

He specialized in studying the sun’s electromagnetic radiation, charting variations in the sun’s energy output and relating these variations to climate patterns experienced on Earth. He invented and patented a number of solar energy devices, including the solar boiler, solar cooker and solar still.

Harriette Chick
Harriette Chick

Harriette Chick lived for 102 years, from January 6 1875 to July 9 1977. She was born in London, England, UK and died in the same city.

She was a biochemist. Working with colleagues, she initiated the new field of protein folding with the discovery that protein denaturation was not the same as protein coagulation. She and Elsie Dalyell led research into rickets, discovering that the disease was not transmissible, but was caused by a nutritional deficiency, which could be cured with cod-liver oil or ultra-violet light. (We now know rickets is caused by vitamin D2 deficiency.) Chick also devised Chick’s Law, which later became the Chick-Watson equation.

Michel Chevreul
Michel Chevreul

Michel Chevreul lived for 102 years, from August 31 1786 to April 9 1889. He was born in Angers, France and died in Paris, France.

He was a professor of chemistry who discovered margaric acid and creatine. Funnily enough, he was also a specialist in the science of aging!

Albert Hofmann
Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann lived for 102 years, from January 11 1906 to April 29 2008. He was born in Baden, Switzerland and died in Burg im Leimental, Switzerland.

While working as a chemist for Sandoz, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, he discovered lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as the psychedelic drug LSD. Hofmann discovered the drug’s mind-altering effects when he accidentally ingested a tiny grain of it. The drug was used in psychoanalysis therapy for 10 years before it was banned.

Boris Yakovlevich Bukreev
Boris Yakovlevich Bukreev

Boris Bukreevr lived for 103 years, from September 6 1859 to October 2 1962. He was born in Lgov, Kursk, Russia and died in Kiev, Ukraine, Soviet Union.

A mathematician, he contributed new ideas in gamma functions, complex functions, elliptic functions, non-Euclidean geometry, and the roots of transcendental functions. He continued publishing new research until he was 98 years old, and retired when he reached 100.

Michael Heidelberger
Michael Heidelberger

Michael Heidelberger lived for 103 years, from April 29 1888 to June 25 1991. He was born in New York City, USA and died in the same city.

He was the founder of the science of immunochemistry. Working with Oswald Avery, he discovered that the antigens of pneumococcus bacteria are polysaccharides, and therefore that antibodies are proteins.

Rita Levi-Montalcini
Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini lived for 103 years, from April 22 1909 to December 30 2012. She was born in Turin, Italy and died in Rome, Italy.

After graduating as a Doctor of Medicine, she opted for a career in medical research. She won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF).

William Gould Dow
William Gould Dow

William Gould Dow lived for 104 years, from September 30 1895 to October 17 1999. He was born in Faribault, Minnesota, USA and died in Bellevue, Washington, USA.

He was an engineer-inventor whose wide interests included space research and computer engineering. He invented improved induction welding methods, which were used in aircraft production during WW2. He also invented a radar-jamming device, which was highly effective, and saved countless pilots’ lives. Regarding the mystery of his long life, he said you need to “select the right grandparents, have a good family life, and don’t let the armchair get you.”

Arnold Beckman
Arnold Beckman

Arnold Beckman lived for 104 years, from April 10 1900 to May 18 2004. He was born in Cullom, Illinois, USA and died in La Jolla, California, USA.

He invented one of the most important tools in chemistry and biology – the pH meter. He started up Beckman Instruments, then developed the DU spectrophotometer, going on to fund the first transistor company in California – the beginnings of Silicon Valley.

Henri Cartan
Henri Cartan

Henri Cartan lived for 104 years, from July 8 1904 to August 13 2008. He was born in Nancy, France and died in Paris, France.

A mathematician, specializing in algebraic topology, he developed the Cartan Model. He was a founder of the influential Bourbaki Group, whose objective was to reconfigure mathematics to be based on set theory.

Inge Lehmann
Inge Lehmann

Inge Lehmann lived for 104 years, from May 13 1888 to February 21 1993. She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and died in the same city.

She was a mathematician, who switched her focus to seismology. She discovered that our planet has a solid inner core inside a molten outer core.

Sergey Nikolsky
Sergey Nikolsky

Sergey Nikolsky lived for 107 years, from April 30 1905 to November 9 2012. He was born in Talitsa, Russia and died in Moscow, Russia.

He was a mathematician, known for the Bernstein-Nikolsky Inequality, fundamental contributions to the theory of differentiable functions of many variables, and the theory of approximation of functions by polynomials.

Leopold Vietoris
Leopold Vietoris

Leopold Vietoris lived for 110 years, from June 4 1891 to April 9 2002. He was born in Bad Radkersburg, Austria-Hungary and died in Innsbruck, Austria.

He was a mathematician, responsible for Vietoris homology, Vietoris topology, the Vietoris–Rips complex, Vietoris–Begle mapping theorem, and the Mayer–Vietoris sequence. He published his final paper at the age of 103 in 1994 in Wissenschaft Math.-Natur.

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