Alexander Graham Bell, scientist and inventor, 1847-1922
The Scottish-born engineer and innovator is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study. Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics.