1847–1931 - American
Inventor. He was one of the most prolific inventors in history, but is especially remembered for the electric light bulb. His career exemplified the power of one curious human mind to change everyone's life and also, to many people, the hope and promise of progress.
1879–1955 - German-American
Physicist. He became world famous for his theory of relativity while in Germany, but moved to the United States because of Hitler. His moral thought was evocative of Buddhism, with its avoidance of metaphysics and personal desire, and he was generally sympathetic with socialist and pacifist ideas.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803–1882 - American
Author and lecturer. A failed Unitarian minister, he became a kind of secular preacher, and developed a wide audience. His "transcendental" philosophy is usually called "idealist," but is not Kantian. In moral philosophy, he was a romantic individualist and emphasized self-reliance, the title of a famous essay.