Popular Science: They haven’t won the Nobel Prize or written best-selling books. But they are ground-breaking, risk-taking, maniacally committed researchers. Most are doing work that is ushering in technological advances that will change our lives. A few are contemplating pure mathematical problems or almost incomprehensible cosmic mysteries—just for the joy of it. For the most part, they toil in obscurity. We didn’t think that was quite right.

Our search for nominees was methodical: We talked to university department heads, academic think tanks, the bestowers of awards. Though most of the finalists are young, we didn’t insist upon that. We were looking for people who are causing a stir within their disciplines, the ones whose colleagues whisper about them with that special envy reserved for the halls of academe. You won’t find a long list of their honors and publications here: The focus is on brilliant work being done and the vision for the road ahead.


· Nanotech
· Chemistry
· Tissue engineering
· Cosmology
· Mathematics
· Materials science
· Cryptography
· Computer science
· Atmospheric science
· Physics