Well, my uncle worked on the atomic bomb, but that's pretty recent, and he's a relative but not an actual ancestor. I'm going to go with my great-great grandfather, the legendary preacher from Noble county, Indiana, Peter Winebrenner. It was because of his reputation that my grandfather got to go to U. C. Berkeley.
Rev. Peter Winebrenner, legendary circuit-riding preacher for the Christian Church, Eel River Conference. About 1870.
My grandfather, Peter W. Stoner, was named after his grandfather, Peter Winebrenner. I'm not sure that he ever met Peter Winebrenner. The journey between rural Cloud county, Kansas and Indiana was more difficult back then. I know Peter Winebrenner made the trip to visit in 1879, but my grandfather wasn't born until 1888. My grandfather (a devout Christian who did not believe in drinking alcohol) told me that he was embarrassed to have a middle name that meant a brewer of wine, so he legally changed it to W. when he came of age.
Peter W. Stoner went to a small country schoolhouse until he was about 15, then the family moved to Lincoln, Kansas, where he went to Kansas Christian College, completing high school, and earning an "AB" degree (a 4-year degree). After he graduated from Kansas Christian College, he spent a year at Kansas State University, which discounted some of his credits because of them being from a small college, so he could not enter as a graduate student.
Then his family all moved out to southern California, and he went, also, but went north and applied to U. C. Berkeley, in the fall of 1907, as a graduate student. Peter had an interview with the registrar, who also was concerned about the credits from some small podunk college in Kansas, and didn't want to accept him as a student. The registrar, however, was curious as to what my grandfather's middle name was. My grandfather insisted it was just "W". The registrar insisted that it must stand for something. In the end, my grandfather told him the story about being named after Peter Winebrenner, and changing his middle name. Whereupon, the registrar said, "Oh, you're a grandson of Peter Winebrenner of Indiana? I knew him well, and any grandson of Peter Winebrenner is welcome at this university." So my grandfather felt that he only got into the college because of his grandfather's name and reputation.
Peter W. Stoner, during his time at U. C. Berkeley, about 1910.