Luis Alvarez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968 for his work on elementary particle physics. However, he is probably better known for other work. Alvarez and his son Walter published the theory that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago after an asteroid collided with Earth in 1980.
Not only did the collision cause massive earthquakes and tsunamis, but it also created a cloud of dust that blocked much of the sun’s light for several years. While this was bad news for dinosaurs, it created new opportunities for mammals to evolve other.