I am starting the countdown at #10, even though the minds cannot be ranked in any particular order. I just figured that people like countdowns, so here's one to enjoy (or not). These are the people that I have read and studied about that have formed my own mind. I start off the countdown with, arguably, the most controversial of them all.
Charles Robert Darwin
The father of evolutionary theory
Darwin proposed the idea of evolution by means of natural selection after witnessing similarities between species. He wrote the book, The Origin of Species in 1859 which included his work that he did aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830's. His work, while controversial, was not new for the time. Evolution was nothing new since many scientists of the time observed differences in species and used this idea to explain them. The Church of the time had contended that species were static and did not change. Darwin simply stated that changes occurred over generations in order ensure the survival of the species. This is known as natural selection.
OK, this is just a snapshot of Darwin, but I think it states the general idea. No other work has had the impact that this book had and it opened up a whole new area of discussion. That's what prompted me to open up the countdown with Darwin, both to prompt discussion and get the chief controversy out of the way. Also, keep in mind, this is about evolution and natural selection, not about the big bang theory, that may come later.
Well, we're off to a ______ start with this countdown. I may fill in the blank later. This countdown is about the scientific minds that set me off on my path of learning and belief. I was going to start with earliest people and work forward, which I may still do, but I want to get Darwin out of the way. If you don't agree that he is an important scientific mind, state it, but do not get insulting in the process. Next week, we go way back in time (no, not that far).