If there's one thing in our archives more impressive than the retrofuturistic illustrations, it's the number of superstar scientists who have shown up in our magazine over the years. Back in the day, our writers secured interviews with everyone from radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi to "famous prophet of science" Nikola Tesla. To say that we're jealous of our predecessors would be a gross understatement, so we've compiled a quick roundup of these scientific celebrity encounters for your vicarious enjoyment. In addition to highlighting interviews with notable figures, we've included articles written by famous scientists, as well as features published at the peak of their careers.
One of our first notable contributors was the father of the telephone himself, Alexander Graham Bell. You'd think he'd be a busy man, but in between racing to the patent office and tinkering with his devices, Bell found the time to write a lengthy article about using tellurium selenium alloys to produce high-quality sound. If that process sounds a little arcane, don't worry -- Bell provided illustrations for clarity.
As much as we hoped to see a piece written by Albert Einstein, it turns out that most prominent scientists declined to contribute entire articles to us after the turn of the century. Chances are, they were too preoccupied with spending their Nobel Prize winnings to hammer out essays for consumer magazines.
On the other hand, it's hard to resist the charms of a glowing secondhand account. After spending a day with Tesla, our journalist said, "To talk with Dr. Tesla is to become acquainted with an extraordinary life packed with adventure into uncharted realms of knowledge." Elsewhere in the article, his glee practically radiates off the page.
Given the number of innovators who cropped up in the past 138 years, we couldn't include every historical figure featured on our pages. But do a quick search through our archives and see if you don't find at least one ode to your favorites.
Click through our gallery to see the earliest PopSci cameos by Albert Einstein, Robert H. Goddard, Marie Curie, and more eminent scientists from the 20th century.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.