The beginning of this century marked a profound change in the manner in which science was pursued. Before that time, most scientists were independently wealthy gentlemen who could afford to devote their lives to the search for scientific truth—Lord Cavendish, Charles Darwin, Count Rumford, and Lord Rayleigh come to mind. But after the turn of the century, university scientists found it possible to earn a living teaching students, while doing research “on the side.” So the true amateur has almost disappeared—Alfred Loomis may well be remembered as the last of the great amateurs of science. He had distinguished careers as a lawyer, as an Army officer and as an investment banker before he turned his full energies to the pursuit of scientific knowledge, first in the field of physics and later as a biologist. By any measure that can be employed, he was one of the most influential physical scientists of this century:
Alfred Lee Loomis—last great amateur of science
Luis W. Alvarez; Alfred Lee Loomis—last great amateur of science. Physics Today 1 January 1983; 36 (1): 25–34. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2915442
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