Richard Nixon was the thirty-seventh president of the United States. He successfully served as a member of the House of Representatives and of the Senate and was vice president under Dwight Eisenhower (1890–1969).
The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and other explosives, but he is best remembered for using the bulk of his personal fortune to create the Nobel Foundation, which awards Nobel Prizes every year to those who benefit mankind.
Isamu Noguchi was a well-respected and admired Japanese American sculptor and designer. His sculptures, fountains, and gardens are focal points in major cities of the United States and worldwide.
First a friend, then an enemy of the United States, Manuel Noriega, the strongman of Panama, was finally taken down by a U.S. military operation, captured, and brought to Miami for trial on drug charges in 1989.
Jessye Norman is an African American opera singer. Her rich soprano voice covers an uncommonly wide range, from classical to modern compositions.
Nostradamus was a physician (doctor) and astrologer (someone who believes that the future can be learned by studying the stars and planets). Today Nostradamus is remembered chiefly for the predictions he made of future events.
The Russian-born dancer and choreographer (a composer of dance) Rudolph Nureyev captured international acclaim as the greatest male ballet dancer of the 1960s and 1970s. His versatility (the ability to change easily) and energy were expressed in countless classical and modern roles, on both stage and screen.
One of the United States's most prolific (producing a lot of work) and versatile (producing a wide variety of work) contemporary writers, Joyce Carol Oates focuses upon the spiritual, sexual, and intellectual decline of modern American society.
In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve as a justice in the 191-year history of United States Supreme Court. A Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan, O'Connor has grit and intelligence that has made her an interesting figure in the nation's highest court of law.
The American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986) developed a distinctive art form that includes startling details of plant forms, bleached bones, and landscapes of the New Mexico desert—all created with natural clarity.
Laurence Olivier, internationally popular for his acting and directing, was often regarded as one of the supreme actors of his generation.
An internationally famous first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis raised her two children alone after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963).
Eugene O'Neill was among the leading dramatists of the America theater. Four of his plays were honored with the Pulitzer Prize.
George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, Bengal, India, to Richard and Ida Mabel Blair. He had an older sister and a younger sister.
Ovid was a Roman poet. His verse is distinguished by its easy elegance and sophistication (subtle complexity).
American track star Jesse Owens became the hero of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, as his series of victories scored a moral victory for African American athletes.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was shah of Iran following his father's reign. He established many reforms to improve the country, but a revolution, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900–1989) in 1979, forced him into exile.
Arnold Palmer was the first person to make one million dollars playing golf. Palmer attracted legions of fans—known as "Arnie's Army"—who hung on his every shot, celebrating his successes and suffering his failures along with him.
Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus was a Swiss doctor and alchemist (medieval doctor) noted for founding medical chemistry. He also was the first physician to correctly describe a number of serious illnesses, including tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs.
Charlie Parker, American musician, was one of the most widely influential soloists in jazz history and one of the creators of a new style of playing called bop, or bebop.
Blaise Pascal was an influential mathematical writer, a master of the French language, and a great religious philosopher (a person who seeks wisdom). He began making contributions to mathematics at a very young age.
The French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur is famous for his germ theory and for the development of vaccines. He made major contributions to chemistry, medicine, and industry.
The American chemist Linus Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize twice. Through his research he clarified much about the structure of the smallest units of matter.
Luciano Pavarotti is possibly the most operatic tenor (the highest male singing voice) since Enrico Caruso (1873–1921). He is noted for combining accuracy of pitch and quality of sound production with a natural musicality.
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist (someone who studies the physical and chemical workings of living things) and a leader in the study of blood circulation, digestion, and conditioned reflexes (unconscious physical reactions to outside forces that are the result of repetition of those forces and reactions). He believed that he established Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation.
Anna Pavlova was in her time—and is perhaps even now—the most famous dancer in the world. Pavlova carried on long, globe-covering tours, creating new ballet audiences everywhere.
Chinese American architect, I. M.
Pelé, called "the Black Pearl," was one of the greatest soccer players in the history of the game. With a career total of 1,280 games, he may have been the world's most popular athlete in his prime.