Beyond the rock stars like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and multi-billion dollar, cutting-edge facilities like CERN, a lot of physics (especially the theoretical sort) is still done the same way it was at the turn of the last century—by hand, on blackboards. Our friends at Oobject have assembled a gallery of history's brightest minds leveraging old-school tech to do what they do best.

When you've wrapped your mind around that, check out these exclusive shots from inside CERN, these ghostly particle detectors, and this gallery of scientific laboratories.

Heisenberg Teaches Quantum Theory

Richard Feynman sizes up the blackboard

Peter Higgs and the Higgs Mechanism

Max Planck (r) and Niels Bohr in Front of Maxwell's Equations

John Bell, Author of the Most Profound Theorem in Science

John Bardeen, father of both the transistor and superconductivity

The first person to win two Nobel prizes in the same field, Bardeen invented what made modern computers possible and superconducting magnets. Without him there would be neither the web nor the LHC.


Wolfgang Pauli during a lecture in Copenhagen, April 1929

Pauli, one of the founders of quantum theory, preferred to correspond with colleagues rather than formally publish. so much so that many of his ideas went uncredited.

Paul Dirac at a workshop in the early 1930s

Dirac is famous as the creator of the complete theoretical formulation of quantum mechanics.


John Wheeler and his elaborate blackboard presentations

Wheeler, who revived interest in General Relativity, and the idea that information flow may be at the heart of physics also coined the term Black Hole. He was know for pre-preparing very elaborate colored diagrams on a series of blackboards which he would then work through during a presentation.

Einstein writes the spacetime curvature tensor from General Relativity

Abdus Salam, Electroweak + Higgs

Weinberg Glashow and Salam shared the Nobel prize for the Electroweak unification.

Steven Weinberg, Electroweak + Higgs

Weinberg Glashow and Salam shared the Nobel prize for the Electroweak unification.

Sheldon Glashow, electroweak theory

Glashow formed the basis of the Standard Model by unifying electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force.

Erwin Schrodinger

Schrodinger created the equivalent of Newtons laws of motion but for quantum systems. One of his lesser known achievements, however, was a lecture titled What is Life, which predicted the essential mechanism of DNA - that it should be an aperiodic crystal so that it could contain information.