1943–1977 - German
Terrorist. From a start as a student protestor in the 1960's, he became more and more alienated from contemporary German society with its capitalist institutions and ties with the United States, and co-founded the Red Army Faction, an underground terrorist group. He was captured and committed suicide.
1699–1760 - Russian
Jewish teacher. Toward the end of his life, he created the Hassidic movement that drew upon the tradition of the Cabala and emphasized a direct, mystical, and enthusiastic communion with God. Initially the concern with spirit seemed to de-emphasize the Law, which did not necessarily sit well with the orthodox. But today, within the context of an often religiously liberal Judaism, Hassidism is considered orthodox in its degree of observance.
1875–1967 - American
Business author. He pioneered the use of statistics in business, economics, and the stock market, thus quantifying and advancing empirical methods. Perhaps best known for forecasting the stock market crash in 1929, he founded a business college for women as well as one for men.
1561–1626 - Irish
Philosopher and political figure. Bacon's philosophical writings have been widely credited with launching empiricism, induction, and indirectly, the scientific revolution. This is exaggerated. Others such as Harvey seem to have had a better grasp of rudimentary science. But Bacon was a brilliant essayist and deservedly influential. His political as opposed to philosophical career was more of an object lesson than a beacon light for values. After successfully abandoning and then prosecuting his former patron, Lord Essex, for treason against Queen Elizabeth, his previously stalled political career took off. He held many important posts under King James I including the position of Lord Chancellor, and was made a peer as Lord Verulam. However, nemesis struck, he was convicted of taking large bribes, and never regained office.
1220–1292 - English
Philosopher, polymath, and pre-scientist. He was an early critic of the inhibiting effect of authorities on thought, and an early exponent of empiricism, logic, the experimental method in science, along with the encouragement of technology and invention. Given these attitudes, his decision at age forty-one to join the Franciscan Order was a tragic error, since the Franciscans were even less receptive to his work than other orders might have been. He was silenced, then permitted by the Papacy to write specifically for the Pope, then imprisoned by the Order for fourteen years, after which he died.
1857–1941 - English
Soldier and social organizer. He became well known to the British public for his celebrated defense of Mafeking in South Africa during the Boer War. After his retirement from the military, he founded the Boy Scouts and (with his sister) the Girl Guides (Girl Scouts in the U.S.). Scouting quickly became an international movement seeking to teach youths good character ("A scout is truthful.") as well as skills and a love of the outdoors.
Sir Douglas Bader
1910–1982 - English
Aviator. Although crippled by a flying accident that cost him his legs, he returned to the Royal Air Force to fly in the Battle of Britain when in Churchill's words, "Never was owed by so many to so few." He lost his plane in 1941 and was captured but miraculously survived the war. His career exemplified character, courage, skill, and daring.
1863–1944 - Belgian
Chemist. Among other inventions, he helped develop plastics, an extraordinarily useful material which poses risks for the environment and for human health. He thus illustrated the power of combining science with technology but also the inherent ambiguity of all technical advances.
1826–1877 - English
Economist and journalist. His English Constitution of 1807 helped define a Constitution which, famously, remains unwritten to this day. He was thus a major figure in the movement for constitutional government as well as lawyer, economist, and editor of The Economist magazine.
1817–1892 - Iranian
Religious leader. He began as a follower of Bab-ed-Din (Mizra Ali Mohammed), the founder of the Babi Sect in Iran, who prophesied the coming of a new Shiite Imam but was executed as a heretic in 1850. Baha-Allah then assumed the mantle of the prophet and founded Bahaism, a new religion which states that God is unknowable, that all religions are one because they are all successive emanations of the incomprehensible truth of God, and that Jesus, Mohammed, and Bab-ed-Din were examples of such emanations.
Francis Lee Bailey
Born 1933 - American
Criminal lawyer. He epitomized the idea of turning a court of law into a form of theater. Although critics charged that his defense antics represented both the theater of the absurd and a travesty of the concept of justice, he prepared each case with meticulous detective work, and was often masterful in manipulating the emotions of the jury.