Best known for his books popularizing science, including the fun “Mr. Tompkins” series and the terrific One, Two, Three…Infinity (I have them all – I am a Gamow book collector!), George Gamow, in 1928 explained radioactive decay, in the 30s, after defecting from the Soviet Union (successfully after 2 failed attempts by kayak!), created what became known as the “Gamow factor” which explains how fusion is possible, in 1948 published the famous science joke (its history can be found here) quantifying the processes that formed the Big Bang, and later predicting the Cosmological Background Radiation 17 years before it was discovered, and, for grins, in 1954 formed the RNA Tie Club and proposed how to crack the genetic code by using triplets of nucleotides. Obviously an overachiever.