Branding Intelligence: Scientist as a Logo

A company’s logo is its signature, a visual summary of what is on offer - the brand’s culture, behaviour and values. If we were to extend the branding principal to scientists, how would we position them? The logo would have to speak of what Newton, Einstein, Pythagoras etc. made available to the world. It takes a special kind of skill to integrate a name and the work it stands for in a minimalistic manner to form a logo. In a logo Newton is just not a name of a scientist, but also the generator of the big idea - Gravity. We came across a beautiful set of logos of some of world’s top scientists in the website The Probashi team was so impressed with the artwork that it thought of publishing the same, with a small write-up from its side on what the logo signifies. It did mean revising high school science, but visualising a scientist’s invention interspersed in a logo makes science fun. We could only present a handful of logos here given the paucity of space.

Pythagoras (570 BC – c. 495 BC) was a Greek philosopher and, mathematician. You cannot pass high school geometry without mastering the Pythagoras Theorem, which states that in a right angled triangle, the hypotenuse is the sum of the square of the other two sides. This theorem finds a place in the Pythagoras logo in form of a right angled triangle.

To Archimedes (287-212 BC), the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer and astronomer is attributed the famous quote “give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.” which he wrote in his explanation of the principles of the Lever. His fundamental contribution to the physics of the lever gets reflected in the Archimedes Logo. Archimedes is regarded as one of the most extraordinary scientific brains in human history.

“In the midst of all dwells the Sun”, so said Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1553) , the Polish astronomer, while demolishing the then prevalent theory that the Earth was the center of the universe. The sun centric solar system is the guiding philosophy behind the Copernicus logo. The church which believed in the earth centric ridiculed the scientist, including issuing death threats.


Mankind was lucky that an apple fell when Isaac Newton (1642-1727) looking. This triggered the idea of gravity and changed physics forever. The falling apple finds a place in the Newton logo. Other fundamental contribution of Newton includes Calculus, Laws of Motion and Optics. Despite phenomenal discoveries, Newton always remained humble and as a tribute to physicists and mathematicians preceding him, said “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) propounded that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. Darwin summed up his theory lucidly “It is not the strongest specie that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. This is what the logo signifies - evolution from a small D to the big N.

Albert Einstein (1879- 1955) needs no introduction; he turned physics upside down with his theory of relativity. His formula e=mc2, wither energy and mass are related, is probably the most recognised physics formula in the world. In the logo E in the Einstein’s name has been substituted by equivalent of the Einstein’s formula. Talking of science he commented, “equations are more important for me, because politics is for the present, the equation is for eternity”.

Euclid (300 BC), the Greek mathematician is considered the father of geometry. His book called ‘The Elements’ (c300 BCE), is unequalled in the history of science and could safely lay claim to being the most influential non-religious book of all time. The logo depicts Euclid’s parallel postulate.


Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716) was a German mathematician and philosopher who is credited with the discovery of calculus. The integral and derivative sign were devised by Leibniz. The logo shows the integral sign ( ∫ ) as a tribute to his discovery of calculus.


Michael Faraday (1791-1867) helped mankind harness electrical energy. He demonstrated that movement of coil through a magnetic field produces electricity in the coil. This principle called induction made possible production of electricity by mechanical means. Faraday principal is uses by modern power plants. The Faraday logo has a horse shoe magnet as a tribute to his work in electromagnetism.

Neils Bhor (1885-1962), the Danish scientist is famous for his theory on atomic structure. He postulated that the electrons travel around an atomic nucleus in a stationary orbit and that when they drop from a higher to a lower orbit, it must release energy. The atom structure postulated by Bhor finds place in the logo.

Dimitri Mendeleev (1834-1907) , the Russian chemist made his path breaking discovery of arranging the elements into a periodic table and used it to predict 8 then unknown elements. But for his mother the world would not have known Mendelev. She despite extreme poverty took the young Dimitri from their family home in Siberia across to Moscow and then to St Petersburg to get her son college education and the rest is history. His naming nomenclature for predicted elements had prefixes of eka, dvi, and tri (Sanskrit one, two, and three). This was inspired by the work of his friend and colleague Böhtlingk, an authority on Pānini, the ancient Sanskrit grammarian. That the periodic table would feature in Mendeleev’s logo is self evident.

Johannes Diderik van der Waals (1837-1923), a Dutch scientist discovered the intermolecular bonding i.e., the forces that exist between molecules of the same substance. The molecular bonding is based on the charges they carry and therefore the Van der Waal logo illustrates inter molecular bonding due to opposite charges.


Georg Ohm (1789-1854) was from a working class German family. While working as a high school physics teacher, Ohm discovered what is now known as Ohms law. The law defines the fundamental relationship between voltage, current, and resistance. The law still remains the most widely used and appreciated of all the rules related to the behaviour of electrical circuits. It was only after 14 years of its discovery that Ohm’s contribution to electricity theory was recognised. Ohm lived most of his life in extreme poverty. The electric circuit in Ohm’s logo aptly describes his contribution to the theory of circuits.

Considered amongst the finest physics brains in human history, Richard Feynman (1918-1988), was an American physicist who made fundamental contribution to quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He formulated the Feynman diagrams which are pictorial representations of the mathematical expressions governing the behaviour of subatomic particles. The Feynman logo is inspired by the Feynman diagram.

Johann Gauss (1777 – 1855) is regarded as one of history’s most influential mathematicians, made fundamental contributions across many branches of mathematics. A reluctant publisher of his works, it is noted that many of Gauss’s inventions remained in his notes, had they been published, Gauss singlehandedly would have moved mathematics by 50 years. The Gaussian distribution also known as the normal curve is widely used in statistics to find the probability of occurrence of a real observation. Appropriately the normal distribution curve finds a place in the Gauss logo.

Francis Crick (1916-2004) and James Watson (1928- ) discovered the double helix structure of the DNA, responsible for carrying the genetic information. This revolutionised molecular biology and laid foundation of the human genome project. The double helix has inspired the Crick Watson logo.


Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901- 1976), the Germany physicist is famous for his Uncertainty Principle, an important concept in particle physics for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. Uncertainty principle primarily asserts the fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle can be measured. This dichotomy is shown in the Heisenberg logo as a pair of question marks.

Norman Borlaug (1914-2009), the American agricultural scientist and Nobel Laureate is known as the father of Green Revolution. The wheat varieties developed by him helped double wheat production in Mexico, India and Pakistan. He is popularly known as the man who saved a billion lives from starvation death. Borlaug’s logo has a wheat stalk. Never before had any man transformed world agriculture the way Borlaug did.

Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) is considered as one of the pioneers of quantum physics. The exclusion principle won him the Nobel Prize in physics. A portion of the diagrammatic representation of the half integer spin as explained by the Pauli’s exclusion principle forms part of logo.


Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) was a French physicist, Nobel laureate, and the discoverer of radioactivity. The SI unit for radioactivity, the Becquerel (Bq), is named after him. The logo gives place to the Becqueral unit with Q highlighted. Radioactive Uranium (U92) also finds place in the logo.


JJ Thomson (1856-1940) is known for his discovery of the electron. He used the cathode ray tube (CRT) to figure out the electron. The CRT finds a place in the JJ Thompson logo. It is interesting to note that JJ Thompson is the only university professor whose as many as seven students won the Nobel Prize.


Satyendranath Bose (1894-1974) is probably India’s most brilliant physicist till date. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics-the bosons, was named after him. The bespectacled Bose with a shock of hair is depicted in the logo. Also e is highlight to emphasise the collaboration between Bose and Einstein.

  1. Santanu Kundu

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