Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top ten famous rivalries in human history

I submitted this post to Listverse weeks ago, but was rejected due to narrow approach. Well, it took me a day to complete, and I thought it's harmless to post it here.
In this list, I concluded top famous rivalries in human history, especially in science and technology.

Our world could be a boring place without competition. And competition itself may lose all its meaning without the presense of rivals. The continuous struggles between them with different philosophies, opinion can be fiercely, but the results have significant impact on the world we know today. So here you go - list of the most famous rivalries in human history. Tell me which one you like the most in the comments.

10. Rich Dad vs Poor Dad

It’s not clear whether these two are real or just a figment of the author’s imagination. But, whatever people said, the endlessly battle between the two ideas of financial life is the keypoint in Kiyosaki’s books. These two tried to protect their own mottos, mindsets, philosophies about “ good life” in a changing world. While Poor Dad supported the idea of job security, “loyalty to your boss” and good salary, Rich Dad showed a more risky, but interesting route to financial independence.

Take a look at this lists, can you see how different their thinkings are ?

Poor Dad says: “Go to school, graduate and find a job”
Rich Dad says:  “Go to school, graduate and build your own business”

Poor Dad says: “Get a safe, secure job.”
Rich Dad says: “Mind your own business.”

Poor Dad says: “Work for money.”
Rich Dad says: “Let money work for you.”

Poor Dad says: “Pay your creditors first.”
Rich Dad says: “Pay yourself first.”

Poor Dad says: “I can't afford it.”
Rich Dad says: “How can I buy it ?”

Poor Dad says: “Investing is risky.”
Rich Dad says: “Not investing is risky.”

Poor Dad says: “Your house is an asset.”
Rich Dad says: “Your house is a liability.”

Poor Dad says: “The rich are greedy.”
Rich Dad says: “The rich are generous.”

Poor Dad says: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
Rich Dad says: “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

Although they didn’t like each other style, but both showed a mutual respect ( as said in the book )

rich dad vs poor dad
Rich Dad and Poor Dad or Asset vs Liability

9. Galileo vs Pope Urban VIII/ The Church

One of the most epic battles in human history. Back in his time, when the church power wasn’t something one can tamper with, Galileo dared to promote the heliocentric theory of Copernicus ( which states that the sun is at the center of the solar system ).

This was considered a smack at the face of Pope Urban VIII and the church itself, since heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which was supported greatly by the Roman Catholic Church at that time.

As a result,Galileo was charged with heresy, then sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.

This clash always represents not only the long-lasting feud between science and religion, but also the braveness of mankind who is willing to risk everything to defend the truth.

8. Newton vs Leibniz

Although calculus is considered the cutting-edge tool in mathematics, I don’t feel any love for this, and know that many students may share the same feeling.

Newton and Leibniz were the stars at their field. And we had the great star wars when it came to this sweet-sounding title “ The father of calculus”.

And, the title went to…

Both of them.

Some says it’s just a long, useless battle to prove who really invented calculus, because each one had been already famous for their work, so what’s the big deal of another tiny mathematical tool ?

Because although they took different approaches to find out calculus, but the result was very much the same.

Maybe they didn’t think so.

7. Cope vs Marsh

It should be  Edward Drinker Cope vs Othniel Charles Marsh ( in full name )
They were both talented paleontologist whose discoveries and contributors were really remarkable. A personal feud between these two led to a famous, intense fossil-finding competition known as “The Bone Wars”, in which they used some dirty method to beat the other, including bribery, theft, attacking other’s scientific publications. Why ? To ruin the opponent ‘s credibility. ( Geez, they acted as if they’re hunting each other, not the fossils )

Although the goal wasn’t good ( so were their financial and social state after the expedition ), their contributions to science and the field of paleontology were really impressive. In Bone Wars, many rich bone beds was discovered, where many new spieces of dinosaurs were found and described later. The Bone Wars also triggered the public’s interest in paleontology , which led to continuous fossils excavation in the following decades.

the bone war
Cope vs Marsh

6. Einstein vs Bohr

Einstein : “God does not play dice”
Bohr : “Einstein, stop telling God what to do”

Albert Einstein, is often regarded as the father of modern physics, was a German-born theoretical physicist who was awarded with the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. He’s well-known for developing the general theory of relativity and E = mc2, which was considered the world’s most famous equation.

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 for his contribution to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics. His work also included the Bohr model of hydrogen atom which can be used to explain atomic spectrum in the light of quantum.

The dispute between these two is called The Bohr - Einstein Debates, in which they show opposing opinion about quantum mechanics. Since they’re both founders of this field, these debates were very remarkable. Bohr has written an article titled “Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics” which included deep information about these discussions.

But I love to see that, although arguing mercilessly about quantum mechanics, both Einstein and Bohr had mutual admiration, which lasted for the rest of their lives ( as shown in this picture )
Einstein and Bohr
A.Einstein ( left ) and N.Bohr( right )

5. Hawking vs Susskind

Whenever there’s a clash between titans, there’s remarkable war to be remembered.

Ladies and gentlement, here comes “The Black Hole war” with our two warriors, Prof. Stephen Hawking and Prof.Leonard Susskind.

Their main topic is about the preservation of information once it fall into the black hole. Hawking proposed that the information could be lost. But his theory was confronted by Susskind, who argued that Hawking’s conclusion violated the basic law of the universe, which states that the information is preserved.

Honestly, I don’t understand anything about this topic, but witnessing another great war between geniuses is always great.

If you want to know more, have a look at this book by Prof. Susskind : The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

4. Edison vs Tesla

A symbol for this famous rivalry is ( another war ! ) The War of The Currents which happened between Thomas Edison, with the direct-current ( DC ) current system, and Nikola Tesla, master of the alternative-current ( AC ) technology.Edison didn’t want the AC to be applied in electricity distribution due to the fact that his DC had been already the standard in the US at that time. He claimed that the DC system was better than AC since it maintained a lower voltage from power station to consumer, and, thus, was safer.

But Tesla had his own explanation, too. AC current has more advantages than the DC current does, due to the fact that it is easier to transmit and prevent loss in transmission.

While it could be considered a personal feud, this war was in fact the clash between America and Europe companies which stood behind the curtain.

But, as you know, the result of this war was obvious. However, this conflict became an important mark in the history of electrical engineering.

3. Cryptographer vs Code-breaker

From ancient to modern times, the government always relies on the communicating network to operate the country effectively. But, due to the fact that the secrets could be leaked to the public or enemy and cause serious problem ( Example : Wikileaks ! ), this fact has led to the born of cryptography, the art of concealing information.

Cryptography makes sure that only the recipient himself can read the content. Meanwhile, the codebreaking system was born with another mission : Try to find and exploit the weakness of each cipher, in order to reveal the truth. The continuous struggle between these two forces is similar to the evolution itself. Since each time a cipher is invented, the code breaker will try to find a way to “decipher” it. Once a cipher is broken, it becomes useless, then the cryptographer must try to invent a more complex and powerful one, which in turn invites the code breaker to decipher it.

This rivalry has led to many impressive science breakthroughs, and impact significantly to the human history.

You might want to have a glance at this interesting book, which was my favorite title about code and cryptography : The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

2. Thomas Jefferson vs Alexander Hamilton

In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting rivalries in American history. Alexander Hamiltion, leader of the Federalists, and Thomas Jefferson, leader of the Antifederalists. Both of them are important founding fathers of America. But they have so many differences in the past, appearance, and philosophies ( which mainly about the vision of the government ). For example, Hamilton feared anarchy and thought in terms of order; Jefferson, feared tyranny, his mind, in contrast, jumped from topic to topic.
What happened when these two completely different individuals had to work together ? Good or bad ? Well, I believe America was really lucky to have these two gentlement at the same time. Because once they fused their philosophies together for the sake of the nation, the outcome was impressive.

jefferson vs hamilton
Thomas Jefferson vs Alexander Hamilton

1. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

There have been countless arguments about this question : Who’s the greatest among these two ? Some says Jobs, some says Gates. But in my opinion, it’s no point trying to do such a comparison.

They’re very similar to Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton : they are totally different. In my viewpoint, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs only shares three things in common : year of birth ( 1955), the love for technology and business, and, last but not least, both left the school to pursue their own dreams.

The path they took to achieve it was different, too. Since the approach was different, so was the outcome. Bill Gates aimed for “broad development”, which made Microsoft the biggest company. We can see its products everywhere, but this approach comes with the cost of creativity and originality.

Steve Jobs, on the other hand, focused on “deep development”, which produced outstanding products with highest quality and originality. This philosophy turned Apple into the most creative and valuable company, but this approach has its weakness, too. What happened to Apple without its main inspiration, Steve Jobs ?

It’s no surprise they’ve been long time rival since the beginning of this Information Era. Each of them criticized the other. Steve Jobs once said that Gates was “basically unimaginative and has never invented anything”, while Gates thought that Jobs “never knew much about technology”.

Although some of the words may sound bitter, but like any titans in their own fields, they sure admired and respected each other's work. As Steve Jobs said in 1994 :” I like Bill very much, … the companies we built were very different from each other.” And Bill Gates :” I will miss Steve immensely”

Here're some pics about these couple at their young age. Hot and sexy guys, aren't they ?
This book describes every detail of their relationship,I love to read it : Steve Jobs
jobs vs gates

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

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