I think Newton might be the smartest person that ever lived. The math of his day couldn't meet his needs, so he developed calculus. How awesome is that? Einstein's theories of relativity took a leap of imagination but relied on the discoveries of others before him. The same is true of Newton, of course, but I think it's more true for Einstein.
Based on results, I think Newton and Einstein are rightfully immortal.
For as genius as he was in math, he was scarily obsessed with literally interpreting the Bible, even convinced that prophecies lied within it in codes that he could crack, and he was also frighteningly obsessed with alchemy and other mystic rites. He owned 170 books about 'practical magic'. It's theorized that he suffered from schizophrenia, he definitely had a psychotic breakdown at one point in his life. He also definitely suffered from paranoia, memory loss, and bouts of confusion. He thought he had a very personal relationship with God. As a child he was even a hypochondriac.
In short: he was insane.
Ironically, that probably led to his creation of calculus.
As far as my favorite scientists, Tesla is DEFINITELY up there. But as I've stated in another thread, my absolutely favorite scientist above that (as far as for his time) is Heron of Alexandria. Tesla is definitely a very close second.
Tyson is entertaining to say the least, especially his breakdown of what it would be like to die by black hole. There was an interesting discussion between him and Dawkins you can find on YouTube. I have a nerd crush on Dawkins though and he'd probably be my third favorite scientist with a lot of bias.
Me? Sorry, someone had to pick me... :-) (I'm a Planetary Scientist...) Actually, I'd say my favorite Scientist would be Gene Shoemaker who almost single handedly founded the field of Astrogeology. While he might not be the theoretician that a Newton, Einstein or Hawking was/was/is, he made landmark contributions for example proving beyond a doubt that Meteor Crater really was a meteor impact crater and he extended Geology to the surface of the Moon and beyond. Many of my friends and colleagues owe a great deal of gratitude to the leadership he provided in moving Planetary Science from the study of points of light or small disks in the sky to real places with real geologic histories that can be gleaned from remote sensing by spacecraft and by boots (or robotic wheels) in the soil. Unlike Newton and Einstein, I got to meet and know my favorite scientist and I remember that Shoemaker was one of the first scientists I ever recognized as a scientist: When I was young and watching the Apollo Moonlandings, Shoemaker often was a scientific guest on the TV programs during the landings and subsequent moonwalks. Later, he created one of the landmark Near-Earth Asteroid surveys that used film and wide field telescopes on Mt. Palomar with his wife Carolyn and was a co-discoverer of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which impacted on Jupiter in 1994, bringing to full circle his study of impacts and the hazards of impacts on planets and the resulting impact structures that he spent his entire career studying. Gene Shoemaker died in a traffic accident while in the field in Australia studying impact structures there in July 1997. Thanks Gene and we miss you!
My absolute favorites would be Bill Nye and Carl Sagan because they were who got me interested in science in the first place. Other scientists that I have read a little about and like a lot in no particular order are: Newton, Charles Lyell, Darwin, Einstein, Mendel, Watson & Crick, Pasteur, Hypatia, Marie Curie, Kepler, Hubble, Lamarck, Eratosthenes, Linnaeus, Dawkins, Krauss, Tyson, Edward Jenner... I'm sure I left a name or two out.