Peter Robertson vs. James Cameron

We’d still be stripping screws if it weren’t for Robertson, but we wouldn’t have the special effects we do without Cameron

Peter Robertson

Why he’s famous: He’s the inventor of the Robertson screwdriver—you know, the square-shaped one in your toolbox.

Why he deserves to win: Before Robertson’s invention in 1908, we were stuck with the slip-prone flat bladed driver and slotted-head screw, a combo notorious for causing injuries. Later, when the cross-shaped Phillips screw and driver were invented, Consumer Reports magazine declared the Robertson superior because Phillips’ screws are easily stripped and degrade with wear. As writer Witold Rybcynski put it, “no matter how old, rusty, or painted over, a Robertson screw can always be unscrewed. [It’s] the biggest little invention of the 20th century.”

James Cameron

Why he’s famous: The Terminator. Aliens. True LiesTitanic. Oh, and those blue people in Avatar.

Why he deserves to win: Whether you like his movies or not, director James Cameron is a visionary. If the technology he needs to shoot a film doesn’t exist yet, he invents it. He initially dreamed up Avatar in 1995 and spent over a decade waiting for technology to catch up to his vision. His most notable invention is the 3-D camera that mimics human sight, revolutionizing the cinematic 3-D experience, and allowing the people behind the camera to observe the actors in their virtual forms. Now Cameron is working with NASA to incorporate that 3-D technology into a camera for the next Mars rover. Show off.

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Next: Guy Laliberté vs. Michel Tremblay

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