To reach fame, one needs to be creative, have a talent or an extraordinary hobby, discover some unexplored things, phenomena, or make changes to people’s lives. We all know plenty of individuals whose achievements in technology, economy, social sciences, art and culture, and other fields are significant and valuable. However, there are people who have contributed to the world changes but still remain unknown. In this list below, we will introduce you some little-known people who somehow influenced society and human history.
- James Harrison
When he was 14, James Harrison underwent a complicated surgery to remove his lung. He soon learned that a group of anonymous donated him 13 units of blood that actually saved his life. In 1955, James decided to donate blood whenever he can to help people recover faster and easier. Doctors who examined him figured out that his blood contained a rare antibody, which became the component of an Anti-D injection that could prevent rhesus disease in people with the Rh blood group. As a result, around 2 million lives were saved.
- John Bardeen
John Bardeen was one of the youngest students at the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s. He studied engineering, then mathematical physics, and later got a position of a geophysicist. After working as a junior fellow at Harvard, John Bardeen invented a transistor, an electronic device that has a semiconductor and controls the flow of an electric current. After that, Bardeen, L.N. Cooper, and J.R. Schrieffer developed a well-known BSC theory of superconductivity that helped invent CAT scans and MRIs. Soon John Bardeen won two Nobel prizes for his accomplishments.
- Olaudah Equiano
A former slave, Olaudah Equiano was struggling to fight for human rights and the cancellation of slavery. When he was 11, Olaudah was enslaved by local slave traders. While serving his slave-holders, Equiano learned to write and read, traveled the seas, worked as a deckhand, a barber, and a valet. He managed to free himself by saving some money on trading, and soon became a prominent activist in Europe. His works changed minds of many people and later led to the abolition of slavery in 1833.
- Joseph Lister
Although Joseph Lister isn’t actually famous, he is considered to be one of the most influential people in science and medicine. After he learned that microorganisms could cause infections, Joseph decided to make common instructions for all doctors and surgeons. With his methods, which are essential and popular today, Joseph Lister became the first English surgeon whose surgeries were usually successful.
- Henrietta Lacks
Henrietta Lacks learned that she was having cervical cancer when she was 31. During her radiation treatment sessions, the doctors secretly took a sample of her tumor. Henrietta Lacks died several months later, but her cells were used in experiments for growing immortal cells. Soon, the value of the cell line called HeLa was crucial in such discoveries like the vaccination for polio, the gene mapping, Vitro fertilization, and even cloning. When Henrietta’s relatives discovered such a thing, they sued for privacy violations and tried to attain control of the woman’s cell line.
- Norman Borlaug
Norman Borlaug is responsible for enhancing the agriculture systems in developing countries. In the 1930s, he got a Ph.D. in plant protection and started assisting Mexican farmers to help increase the quality of their agricultural methods and techniques. Norman Borlaug also developed a dwarf wheat, which provided the population of India and Pakistan with food supplies. In 1970, Norman won a Nobel Peace Prize.