As usual I had a tough time deciding; in my post last year I had three categories, entrepreneur, intellectual, and hacker. I’ll do the same this year.
Esther Dyson combines it all; business sense, brilliance, and a sense for adventure. She’s a board member, angel investor, visionary, and entrepreneur. Now adays she’s concentrating on private space startups and health care and genetic ventures; in short the future. There’s no businessperson I look up to more.
Lisa Randall was the first female tenured theoretical physicist at Princeton, MIT, and Harvard. While the fact that it took those three eminent universities so long is a travesty–it doesn’t matter a single bit that Randall is female beyond the fact that she is a living example of what society is missing out on when they filter out brilliant women like her at the tender age of 4,5,6,7…,n. Lisa Randall is best known for the Randall-Sundrum model which posits that the universe is 5D. All elementary particles except for that which communicates the gravitational force are confined on good old 4D space-time. She’s written several popular books on the subject in addition to her academic texts and twitters to boot.
Last year I posted about a security hacker and this year I decided hardware hacking was where it’s at. I have a lot of hardware hackers on the shortlist, many personal friends, but Tim O’Reilly says it best, and the fact that O’Reilly is doing the saying says something. Limor Fried is a preeminent hardware hacker committed to innovation, accessibility, and openness. She combines hardware, art, social commentary, business and sometimes even fits it all into a mint tin. Whether you are just starting out with a solder iron or an expert electrical engineer, you can find inspiration from Limor, aka Lady Ada, and her company Ada Fruit industries.
To close, here’s Lisa Randall helping us picture extra dimensions, and I’m already looking forward to Ada Lovelace day next year.