In asking who were the greatest physicists, we were deliberately vague about whether we were referring to the past 100 years, the past millennium, or simply all of time. If we had restricted ourselves to the 20th century, we would have overlooked Newton and Galileo, all the great physicists of the 19th century, and the discovery of X-rays, radioactivity and the electron in the late 1890s. And if we had restricted ourselves to the past millennium, we would have ignored Aristotle, Archimedes and others.
This article describes the result of a survey of 250 physicists. Questions asked included 'what are the three most important discoveries' and 'who are the five most important physicists of all time.' The related links (on the right side of the page) provide access to full text articles about Plank, Boltzman, Rutherford, Einstein, and Newton, in addition to a biography of John Bell and a review of a biography of Heisenberg. These articles are not technical in nature; rather they are popular culture as practiced by physicists. This site may prove useful to historians of physics.