The ‘top 12’ lists

A few days ago, I had asked who are the 12 people (famous enough for the rest of us to have heard of them) whom you’d like to spend a day/have dinner with.  Some very, very intriguing people got nominated in the comments – some of whom did make it to the early versions of my list, but did not make the cut of being in the top 12.

And, I promised I’d post mine (I wrote them down before asking posing this question in the above-mentioned post), along with some others:  well, this is that post!

My list is as follows:

  1. Richard Feynman
  2. Xanthippe
  3. Hypatia
  4. Hatshepsut
  5. Cixi
  6. Archimedes
  7. Giordano Bruno
  8. Ludwig Von Mises
  9. Samo
  10. Mika Waltari
  11. Margaret Thatcher
  12. Mark Twain

My hubby’s list:

  1. Galileo Galilei
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. Neil Armstrong
  5. Leonardo da Vinci
  6. Pete Townshend
  7. Chris Hadfield
  8. Julius Caesar
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. C. D. Howe
  11. the first human
  12. the last human

My younger son is in his early teens, so, citing the inexperience of his youth, he only picked 6:

  1. Richard Feynman
  2. Notch (Markus Persson)
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. Nicola Tesla
  5. Robin Walker
  6. Gabe Newell

Interestingly, my older son’s list starts with the same man as mine and his brother’s:

  1. Richard Feynman
  2. Euclid
  3. Leonhard Euler
  4. Archimedes
  5. Plato
  6. Isaac Newton
  7. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz  (on the grounds that he’d like to get the two of them in one room, then bring up Calculus…)
  8. Georg Cantor
  9. Edsger W. Djikstra
  10. Douglas Hofstadter
  11. Alan Turing
  12. Alonzo Church

His girlfriend’s list is also very interesting:

  1. Empress Wu
  2. Zhuge Liang
  3. Emperor Qing Shi Huang
  4. an early hominid
  5. Richard Feynman
  6. Beyonce Knowles
  7. a common Japanese soldier who participated in the Nan Jing massacre
  8. Karl Marx
  9. the Buddha
  10. an African pygmy before contact by European explorers
  11. a Mayan ruler
  12. a native of the Easter Islands





Here is the ever-enigmatic CodeSlinger’s list:

Alexander the Great
Genghis Khan
Julius Ceasar
Jesus Christ
The architect of Göbekli Tepe
Thomas Jefferson
Mayer Amschel Rothschild
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Albert Einstein
Paul Dirac

And, young Juggernaut has a short list:

  1. Jim Morrison
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche

My mom also contributed ‘her 12’:

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  2. Claude Monet
  3. Edgar Degas
  4. Napoleon
  5. Jesus Christ
  6. Mary, mother of Jesus
  7. Obama
  8. George W. Bush
  9. Jack Kennedy
  10. Marilyn Monroe
  11. Jan Evangelista Purkyne
  12. Ray Charles

My dad, however, gave perhaps the most Aspie answer possible:

Totally alone!

Though, he did say he’d like to bring this book.

Now, I’m going to have fun looking up and learning about all these people!

Posted in human nature. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “The ‘top 12’ lists”

  1. CodeSlinger Says:


    Well, well. Your choices certainly are interesting. All of the names on your list occurred to me except Mika Waltari, Samo and Cixi, whom I have never heard of.

    I’m not at all surprised at the women on your list. I tried to come up with a list of women, but I could only come up with eleven, though I definitely would have included Cixi if I had known of her. Adding her rounds the women’s list out to an even dozen, so here it is:

    Queen Tomyris
    Joan of Arc
    Catherine the Great
    Margaret Thatcher
    Ayn Rand
    Emmy Noether
    Marie Curie
    Simone de Beauvoir
    Lucrezia Borgia
    Empress Dowager Cixi

    There are some pretty impressive women on this list, but I can’t justify bumping anyone off my top-twelve for any of them. If I were to consider bumping anyone, it would be maybe Goethe or Gauss, and even then, there are plenty replacements that would rank ahead of any of these women. In addition to some of the names I already mentioned in the other thread, we have guys like Tokugawa Ieyasu, Cosimo de’ Medici, or Bulan the Khazar.

    Getting Newton and Leibniz together and mentioning calculus sounds like fun! On a similar note, I toyed with the idea of getting Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in a room together with Adam Smith and Ludwig von Mises to talk about money.

    It’s also interesting to see how many lists include Richard Feynman. He is the poster boy of physics, but his real talent was as a promoter. He was a great physics teacher, not a great physicist. In fact, the work for which he won the Nobel Prize was actually done by Ernst Stückelberg – 30 years earlier! – and Feynman admitted it publicly in his acceptence lecture at CERN. Well, he had to, because Stückelberg was in the audience.

    But there is much more to this story. No less than three Nobel Prizes have been awarded to other people for Stückelberg’s work. Soon it will be four.

    Around 1936, Stückelberg predicted the pi meson and similar vector bosons. Yukawa was awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1949.

    In 1934, Stückelberg formulated a manifestly covariant perturbative theory of quantum electrodynamics (complete with graphs which are now known as Feynman diagrams). Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga were awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1965.

    In 1941, Stückelberg postulated that antiparticles are just regular particles moving backwards in time. This idea, too, is now commonly credited to Feynman.

    In 1951, Stückelberg and Petermann invented the renormalization group. Wilson was awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1982.

    In 1938, Stückelberg proposed the outlines of a gauge-invariant symmetry-breaking mechanism, which gives mass to a gauge field. This is now called the Higgs mechanism, and another Nobel Prize is about to be awarded.

    So Ernst Stückelberg was on my short list, but even he was finally edged out by Paul Dirac, whose ground-breaking treatment of the electron forms the foundation and prototype for all of particle physics.

    Xanthippa says:

    Intersting women you have there!

    Regarding Cixi – in my teens, I went through a phase of chain-reading historical novels (yes – that is when I fell in love with Mika Waltari) and I read one about Cixi. She had quite fascinated me – and reading the historical accounts about her made her even more interesting!

    As for Feynman: yes he was an awesome teacher!

    From when my kids were about 8 and 3 (they are 5 years apart), whenever we’d go on a longer drive in the car, we’d play audio of one of Feynman’s lectures or another. And, we’d frequently stop the lectures, go over what was said, what it’s significance was, and so on.

    And, my hubby and I answered all their questions.

    Not all his lectures dealt with physics, some were more philosophy from a scientific point of view, but as they got older, we moved from softer ones to more physics.

    Reading his autobiography was the first ‘real’ (long) book my younger son read because it read well for Aspies and he had trouble with other forms of storytelling – so, to him, Feynman also opened the doors to literature, because after the Feynman success he lost his fear to read books.

    So, yer – we do honour him greatly for his skills as a teacher! And an overall great polymath!

    • Juggernaut Says:

      Joan of Arc. Yes. How could I forget her! If I wrote a serious list, she would be very high priority on it.

      As for Ayn Rand, she’s an abomination to morality and philosophy so if I would meet her, I would make every minute of it miserable for her. But it would be funny to see her admirers try to grovel up to her as she rejects them for not dogmatically agreeing with all of her biases.

  2. Juggernaut Says:

    Your younger son’s list. Ah, good ol’ Gabe, How could I forget him?

    I didn’t think about it to nearly the extent that you all did, and you have all much better lists than me. My list was a bit lazy and I don’t have near the amount of knowledge of ancient history as you all do, so I’ll abandon all pretense here.

    I guess in retrospect, I’ll add a few (just quick 4am capricious thoughts here):
    Harry Truman, Adolf Hitler, Plato, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Napoleon, Zelda Sayre, Muhammad Ali, Kim Jong Un, and probably others lol

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