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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.

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  • $\begingroup$ 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 Jul 30 at 13:19
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These are some of the scientists whom I know about:

  1. Thomas Edison

A bout of scarlet fever as a youth had left him almost entirely deaf in both ears. He is also known to suffer from learning disability and did not learn to read until the age of 12.

  1. Temple Grandin

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

  1. Alexander Graham Bell

He suffered from learning disability.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Albert Einstein

Suffering from a learning disability, it’s reputed that Einstein did not learn to talk until age four and was often confronted by teachers for his inability to grasp concepts as fast as other students.

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    $\begingroup$ Your statements about Einstein sound to me like mistaken or poorly documented claims that have been uncritically repeated. E.g., there is a myth that he got bad grades in school, which was just based on a misunderstanding of the documents. In general, I don't understand how you can claim that Edison and Einstein had learning disabilities, when the concept had not even been formulated at the time, and we can't send a modern neurologist back in time to test them appropriately. $\endgroup$ – Ben Crowell Jul 17 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 17 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ Stephen Hawking is an exceptional case because his physical disability was so extreme as to impair any natural ability to communicate and thus participate in the collective mind. Most physical disability however is irrelevant - being merely hidebound probably promotes intellectual interests precisely because it precludes many other activities, and being deaf is probably not important for communication since pen and paper became widely available. I would however query that Einstein had a "learning disability" - it seems improbable given his eventual stature in theoretical fields. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jul 20 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ Learning disability should not be counted because it is not physical disability and hard to define. So Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein should be removed since they did not have (significant) disability. $\endgroup$ – Math Wizard Aug 27 at 0:33
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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).

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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.

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