Wernher von Braun:At the age of just 12, fearless Wernher von Braun overloaded his toy wagon with some firecrackers and shot off across a crowded German street. The brains behind Hitler's V-2 rocket mission reached United States as a prisoner of war and went on to be its champ of space and lunar exploration. While sending people on the moon, von Braun also learned scuba diving and philosophy.
Robert Oppenheimer: The Manhattan Project's head honcho was never reserved about his sympathies for socialism and his opposed feelings over releasing the atomic bombs, and was eventually stripped of his academic and political power for it. Regardless of those disagreements, he's also remembered as a man his grad students called "Oppie," who learned Sanskrit and Dutch just because, and quoted a Hindu holy text at the sight of the first atomic bomb test.
Famous nuclear physicist and creative writer Freeman Dyson moonlights as a science fiction writer's dream. In 1960, he hyped the notion that in the future humans may need to build an artificial shell, also known the Dyson Sphere that would enclose the entire solar system and make maximum use of the sun's energy. Dyson enthusiastically believes in extraterrestrial life and reflects we'll make contact within the next few decades.
Part of the Manhattan Project's group of scientists that developed the atomic bomb, physicist Richard Feynman turn out to be one of the most significant scientists of the late 20th century. Far from the stale professor type, this free spirit discovered music and nature, deciphered Mayan hieroglyphics and picked locks in his free time.
When Jack Parsons wasn't much busy co-founding the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he was performing magic and calling himself the Antichrist. This strange bad boy of the space program had no proper education, yet still achieved to develop a rocket fuel that would escort the United States through WWII and into space. Sadly yet fittingly dramatic, Parsons blew himself up while doing a lab experiment at his home in 1952.
Nikola Tesla is the guy you picture pulling down a huge electric switch in a shower of fiery sparks. Tesla, who is recognized with the invention of the wireless radio and the AC generator that kick-started the electrical age was even born, correctly, during an intense lightning storm in 1856. He was also called as a manic genius that slept little and focused a lot to put on a good show, frequently using his own body as a conductor in public demonstrations.
He's indeed got the mad scientist hair thing down. One of the last century's most famous scientists, Albert Einstein made a major contribution to physics with his theories of relativity, and made vast contributions to the fields of gravitation and quantum theory. He also enjoyed to take his sailboat out on the water on windless days, "just for the hard challenge."