Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history. He was visiting the United States when Hitler came to power in 1933, and did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. Toward the end of his life, Einstein became affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he studied until his death in 1955.
Kurt Gödel (1906 – 1978) Austrian logician who revolutionized the study of mathematics with the 1931 publication of his “Incompleteness Theorem”, which proved that all formal systems are incomplete because they are able to express statements that say of themselves that they are unprovable—a paradigm-shifting realization that became known as “the hole in mathematics”. Later in life, Gödel became close friends with Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Study and extended Einstein's General Theory of Relativity with cosmological models—now known as "Gödel Universes"—with extraordinary properties, including the possibility of closed, timelike curves that allow the philosophical fantasy of time travel to become a scientific reality.
Alan Turing (1912 – 1954) English mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst who provided a constructive interpretation of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem by placing it on an algorithmic foundation—there are numbers and functions that cannot be computed by any logical machine—which led to the creation of the Turing machine, a hypothetical device representing a computing machine that provided the design for the first modern computers. Believing that computers would one day have the capacity to think in the same manner as humans, Turing developed the Turing Test as a test of a computer’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior.
Ray Kurzweil (1948 - ) American author, scientist, inventor and futurist, Kurzweil has been referred to by Bill Gates as, “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.” In the 1980s Kurzweil predicted that a computer would beat the world chess champion in 1998 (it happened in 1997) and that “some kind of worldwide computer network would arise and facilitate communication and entertainment” (now known as the internet). By the next decade, he predicts that computers will have passed the Turing Test and surpassed humans in intelligence. By 2045, Kurzweil predicts we will reach "the Singularity", a moment when technology is advancing so rapidly that "strictly biological" humans will be unable to comprehend it.