Albert Einstein named Person of the Century by Time

Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999.

The idea for such a list started on February 1, 1998, with a debate at a symposium at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The panel participants were former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, then-Stanford Provost Dr. Condoleezza Rice, publisher Irving Kristol, and Time managing editor Walter Isaacson.
The final list was published on June 14, 1999, in a special issue titled "TIME 100: Heroes & Icons of the 20th Century".

In a separate issue on December 31, 1999, Time recognized Albert Einstein as the Person of the Century.

Albert Einstein, whose theories laid the groundwork for many modern technologies including nuclear weapons, has been named "person of the century" by Time magazine.

Time called him a "genius, political refugee, humanitarian, locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the Universe".

"In a century that will be remembered foremost for its science and technology ... one person clearly stands out as both the greatest mind and paramount icon of our age.

"The kindly, absent-minded professor whose wild halo of hair, piercing eyes, engaging humanity and extraordinary brilliance made his face a symbol and his name a synonym for genius, Albert Einstein," the magazine said.

It described him as "the century's greatest thinker, as an immigrant who fled from oppression to freedom and as a political idealist, who best embodies what historians will regard as significant about the 20th Century."

"The world has changed far more in the past 100 years than in any other century in history. The reason is ... technologies that flowed directly from advances in basic science," theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking wrote in a Time essay.

"Clearly, no scientist better represents those advances than Albert Einstein."

Time's runners-up for person of the century were US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who it said represented the triumph of freedom and democracy over fascism and communism, and Mahatma Gandhi, who symbolised individuals struggling for their rights. The issue is out on Monday.

The previous issue named the founder of online bookstore Amazon, Jeff Bezos, "man of the year".

Slow starter

Earlier in the year, 100 of today's leading physicists voted Einstein the greatest physicist of all time.