Stephen Hawking is a famous scientist who despite being disabled made a big contribution to the scientific world. I want to know other such scientists who have a big influence on us.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know if he qualifies as a big scientist but I'm gonna say Burkhard Heim, blind, death and with no hands. $\endgroup$
    – Slereah
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


These are some of the scientists whom I know about:

  1. Thomas Edison
    Thomas Alva Edison, an American inventor and businessman, has been described as America's greatest inventor. A bout of scarlet fever as a youth had left him almost entirely deaf in both ears.

  2. Temple Grandin
    Animal behaviourist and autism activist Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child. Grandin’s work on animal behaviour has been cited as an inspiration for multiple changes to the livestock industry, including how animals are cared for at meat processing plants.

  3. Gustav Kirchoff
    Physicist Kirchhoff’s work in the 1800s is still relevant to our understanding of electricity today. He made headway into the still-young field despite an unknown disability that restricted his movement to a wheelchair or crutches for most of his life.

  4. Edwin Krebs
    Krebs was hearing-impaired but made a sensational discovery in the 1950s about cellular activity in the human body that led to greater understanding about hormones, cell life spans, and even how the body can reject transplanted organs. He won the 1992 Nobel Prize for medicine for this commendable feat.

  • $\begingroup$ While I can see that the OP's question is not well-stated, I don't think these examples are particularly relevant. Partial deafness, for example, has no effect on someone's ability to research biology (or for that matter, to compose a great 9th Symphony). Grandin's condition actually helped her understand animals. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 13:10

Leonard Euler, whom many consider the greatest mathematician of all times, and also the most prolific one, was partially or completely blind during most of his career. His sight began to deteriorate at the age of 31 and he lost his sight completely at 59. He died at 76 and continued to work hard until his death. (At the age of 68 he published a paper every week in the average!)

Some other famous mathematicians who were blind were:

Lev Pontryagin (from his childhood, as a result of an accident).

Anatoli Vitushkin (from his youth, as a result of an accident).

Mathematician Andre Bloch can be probably also considered as handicapped: he spent all his mathematical career in a mental asylum (after having murdered several people). His mental disorder was apparently the result of severe wound during WWI. (This was the reason of confining him rather than executing).

Another mathematician who was severely wounded in WWI was Gaston Julia (he lost his nose).


I am not sure if you count pure mathematics as having a big influence on you, but Solomon Lefschetz did a lot of important work after he lost both his hands in an accident. See also this question.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.