Top 50 Geniuses of All Time

August 1, 2012 | By | 13 Replies More


Waking Times

In random random order.

1) Albert Einstein - Albert Einstein is a name that comes to mind first when thinking of geniuses. Einstein’s brain was found to be deficient in certain parts, but extraordinarily powerful in others. Another trait of Albert’s brain was the fact that he had a much larger corpus callosum than the average man. The corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres and allows them to successfully transfer information back and forth (communicate with one another). Einstein has received the Nobel Prize in physics, was named “Person Of The Century” by Time Magazine, and has contributed phenomenal theories to the world of science (i.e. theory of relativity, unique field theory, etc).

2) Leonardo Da Vinci - Leonardo Da Vinci is considered one of the best painters of all time and possibly the most multi-talented man to have ever lived! Two of his works include: The Last Super & The Mona Lisa. Da Vinci was truly ahead of his time with ideas such as: a helicopter, a tank, solar power, a calculator, and a theory of plate tectonics. Leonardo was a unique individual who exercised the curiosity of his powerful brain.

3) Nikola Tesla- Tesla was a renowned physicist, inventor, and engineer. He has made phenomenal contributions to science and has been classified as the “world’s greatest electrical engineer.” Nikola engaged in studying many works, memorizing complete books, and supposedly had a photographic memory. Tesla had above average brain power and was an advanced thinker when compared to others of his time.

4) Sir Isaac Newton - Sir Isaac Newton was an astronomer astronomer, physicist, inventor, mathematician, and philosopher. In a 2005 poll, Newton was named more influential than Einstein in science. He has developed laws of motion, principles of momentum, and invented the reflecting telescope. Newton has had tons of great scientific achievements. His diverse list of scientific and mathematic accomplishments demonstrate the incredible ability of his brain.

5) Stephen Hawking - Hawking is known best for his theories of black holes, cosmology, and quantum gravity. He has also written several bestselling books such as: “A Brief History Of Time” and “The Universe In A Nutshell.” Though Stephen is currently bound to a wheelchair due to paralysis from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). Hawking has been recognized as a revolutionary thinker and one who displays above average intelligence.

6) Michelangelo - Michelangelo was a phenomenal painter, sculptor, architect, and poet. His diverse interest in art and the world really showed. He sculpted the Pieta and the David before he was 30 years old! He painted the Sistine Chapel and worked on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo was a genius that was able to bring an entirely new artistic perspective from his mind to reality.

7) Archimedes - Archimedes was a Greek philosopher, engineer, inventor and astronomer. He is also considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Though there isn’t a ton of documented information regarding his personal life, we do know that he has had a large impact on science and physics. Archimedes’ thoughts were clearly ahead of his time: not many would disagree that he was a genius.

8) Warren Buffet – Though Warren Buffet isn’t a big contributor to science like many other names listed, he does have a ton of knowledge about making money through investing. He is a known philanthropist (someone who donates their time & money for charitable causes) and Time Magazine has regarded Buffet as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the world. He was also ranked by Forbes in 2008 as the richest person in the world. His company [Berkshire Hathaway] has an estimated net worth of $62 billion dollars. Warren is a very intelligent man and a financial genius.

9) Swami Vivekananda - In the Eastern world, Swami Vivekananda is regarded as a genius by many. He was one of the most influential and spiritual leaders ever and was a highly-renowned thinker. Because of his insight and unique philosophy that he had contributed to eastern religions, his knowledge and intellect will continue to be admired.

10) Samuel Johnson - Samuel Johnson is regarded as one of the biggest literary influences of all time. He was a biographer, critic, and essayist. Johnson is the highest quoted author since William Shakespeare and was one of the most influential people in the 18th century. The man invented and compiled terms for what many consider the first official dictionary.

11) Immanuel Kant - Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from Russia. He has been considered one of the most influential thinkers of all time in Europe. Kant brought forth a unique theory of perception and thought deeply about life. Many regard Kant as a genius of his time.

12) Aristotle - Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, student of Plato and one who taught Alexander the Great. Aristotle became a great writer and is regarded as one of the most important and influential figures towards shaping Western philosophy. His works were the first to ever study “logic” and he had a profound influence on others during his time.

13) Pablo Picasso - Though Picasso may not have been an amazing scientist, his revolutionary mind forever changed the way people looked at art. He was a master drawer, painter, and sculptor. He founded “cubism” – an art style which became a huge movement in the 20th century. Pablo Picasso’s unique perception, which he expressed through his art, caused many people to view reality from a different perspective.

14) Niles Bohr - Niels Bohr was a phenomenal physicist and a highly advanced thinker. He invented the Bohr Model which is regarded as a huge contribution to atomic physics. Bohr was heavily involved with post World War II scientific issues and carried a great head on his shoulders.

15) Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson was a very brilliant individual. He was the 3rd president of the United States, wrote The Declaration Of Independence, and was the most influential Founding Father for the U.S. He influenced the republican party and was a horticulturist, statesman, architect, author and inventor. Jefferson was the founder of the University of Virginia and understood that slavery was unethical in a time when most everyone else thought it was proper. Thomas Jefferson was definitely had an exceptional brain.

16) Plato - Plato was a Greek philosopher that was taught by Socrates, but taught Aristotle. Along with Socrates and Aristotle, Plato helped lay the groundwork for Western philosophy. He was known to be a mathematician, great writer, and founded “the Academy” or “institute of higher education and learning,” in Athens. His works in philosophy, logic, and mathematics, were studied and used by many teachers after his time. Not only was Plato a revolutionary thinker, he was a genius of his time.

17) Winston Churchill – Winston Churchill was a rightfully famous British politician during World War II. He is well-known for his abilities as a great leader, speaker, officer in the British Army, a historical writer, and an artist. Churchill became a hero of his time and is considered one of the most intelligent men of his time.

Benjamin Franklin

18) Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S., an author, and a printer. He was also a great politician, inventor, and scientist. Benjamin Franklin’s scientific contributions have shaped physics and the field of electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, the odometer, and the glass harmonica. Franklin created the first public lending library in the United States and first fire department in the city of Pennsylvania. Ben Franklin was a true genius of his time.

19) Thomas Edison – Thomas Edison was a great inventor and businessman who created many appliances that have had profound influence on life around the world. A couple of his inventions are: the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. Jefferson was also one of the first inventors to apply the idea of “mass production” to the invention process. Many give Jefferson credit with creating the first ever industrial research lab. He is considered one of the most gifted inventors ever and holds over 1,000 United States patents. Edison truly added his touch of genius to the scientific community.

20) Daniel Tammet - Daniel Tammet is a high-functioning autistic savant. He has been gifted with a knack for mathematics, language learning, and above average memorization skills. He was featured on a discovery channel special that tested his abilities and showed his ability to learn arguably the toughest language, Icelandic, in less than 7 days to appear in an interview. Daniel has an incredible brain and was gifted with an above-average intellect.

21) William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare was a poet, playwright, and has been hailed “the greatest writer” in the English language and the worlds best dramatist. He has been deemed the national poet of England and his works include: nearly 40 plays, around 150 sonnets, and 2 long poems. Shakespeare’s plays have been translated into every language, and are performed more often than any other playwright. Shakespeare shed his genius-like thoughts through his complex storytelling.

22) Kim Peek - Though Kim Peek is a savant, he has some exceptional brain abilities. He is lacking a functional corpus callosum (which makes it impossible for his right and left brain hemispheres to exchange information) and has a damaged cerebellum. Without a corpus callosum, some develop above average memory abilities. In Kim Peek’s case, he can read a new book in about 1 hour and manages to retain over 98% of the information within the book! Impressive.

23) Ludwig van Beethoven - Beethoven was a German pianist and legendary musician. He was very influential in Western classical music and is thought of as the best composer of all time. Though Beethoven’s hearing began to cease in his early twenties, he was still able to create classical masterpieces. He was able to conduct, compose, and perform music even after he was completely deaf! Beethoven blessed the world with his musical genius and brilliant mind.

24) Srinivasa Ramanujan - Srinivasa was an Indian mathematician who was able to make huge contributions in the area of mathematical analysis and number theory. Srinivasa demonstrated an uncanny, natural ability to master mathematics. He had a complete math book mastered by 13, and even discovered theorems of his own. He won many awards by showing others his superior mathematical ability at his school. By age 17, this mathematical prodigy was doing his own research with mathematics and numbers. He compiled nearly 4,000 equations and identities in his short lifetime.

25) Johann Sebastian Bach - Bach was an exceptional composer and organist. He specialized in choir, orchestra, and solo instruments. He was able to enrich the German composing style with a full harmonic scale and was able to adapt rhythms from Italy and France. Though his music began early in the 19th century, he is now noted as one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition. Bach was yet another musical genius.

26) Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart - Mozart was a very influential composer during the classical era. He was able to create over 600 compositions that were widely accepted and acknowledged. His music specialties included symphony, chamber music, piano, opera, and choral music. Mozart is among the most popular of classical composers, and many of his works are still included in concerts today. Mozart clearly demonstrated his musical proficiency and level of genius.

27) Sir Francis Drake - Drake was a famous traveler, navigator, and politician from England. He managed to circumnavigate the world in 1577 and has been proclaimed a legend in England. Drake was an exceptionally smart individual and had an estimated I.Q. of 130. Sir Francis was a powerful man that happened to have an incredibly powerful brain.

28) George Berkeley - George Berkeley was an Irish philosopher and developed a famous theory of “immaterialism.” Berkeley also published a book called “The Analyst” that would critique calculus and influence common day mathematics. University Of California, Berkeley was named after George due to his intelligence and philosophical insight.

29) Ludwig Wittgenstein - Ludwig was an Austrian philosopher that developed theories involving logic. He contributed to the philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of the mind. He has had a huge influence on philosophy and is widely accepted as one of the twentieth century’s best philosophers. Wittengenstein published 2 books and both were highly influential in philosophy.

30) Socrates - Socrates is regarded as one of the best ancient greek philosophers of all time. As teacher of Plato, he has been associated with highly advanced thinking during his time. His work continues to form much of the foundation for the study of philosophy today. Socrates has made important contributions to the study of logic and writings, and has provided a lot of groundwork that much of the Western civilization has followed.

31) Linus Pauling – Linus Pauling was a peace activist, scientist, author, and teacher. Pauling is regarded as one of the most influential chemists in history and was one of the most important scientists of all time. He was one of the pioneers to work in the study of molecular biology and quantum chemistry. He has been awarded more than 1 Nobel Prize and is one of only 2 individuals to receive them for different fields.

32) Christopher Michael Langan - Christopher Langan is an American with an IQ was reported by “20/20″ and other media sources to have been measured at nearly 200. Though he used to work as a bouncer in Long Island, he rose to fame as “the smartest man in America” in 1999. Langan has developed “a theory of the relationship between mind and reality” which he calls the “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe” and is still alive today. This man has one of the highest I.Q.’s ever on Earth.

33) Michael Faraday - Michael Faraday was a phenomenal chemist and physicist who contributed to the fields of electrochemistry and electromagnetics. His inventions of electromagnetic devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became available for use in technology. Faraday was also the very first Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

34) Blaise Pascal – Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, religious philosopher, and great mathematician. Pascal was a child prodigy and was taught a lot by his father. Pascal’s contributions included: mechanical calculators, concepts of pressure, concepts of vacuum, and the study of fluids. In literature, Pascal is regarded as one of the most important authors of the French classical period. His name (Pascal) has been given to the SI unit of pressure, some programming language, and Pascal’s law.

35) Galileo Galilei - Galileo Galilei was a legendery astronomer, physicist, mathematician, and philosopher. He played a major role in the scientific revolution. His achievements include the first studies of uniformly accelerated motion, improvements to the telescope, and astronomical observations. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Science.” With his discoveries and studies, Galileo was able to display his brilliance.

36) Martin Luther - Martin Luther was a German professor, a monk, theologian, and church reformer.Luther’s theology challenged the authority of the church by stating that the Bible is the only infallible source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians are a priesthood of believers. According to Luther, salvation was attainable only by true repentance and faith in “Jesus as the Messiah.” His revolutionary ideas inspired the Protestant Reformation and changed the philosophy of Western civilization.

37) Robert Boyle - Was a natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor, and early gentleman scientist. Boyle was largely known for his works in physics and chemistry. He is best known for the creation of “Boyle’s law.” Boyle is recognized today as one of the first modern chemists and one of the founding fathers of chemistry. One of his works, “The Sceptical Chymist” is viewed as a legendary book in the field of chemistry.

38) John Locke - John Locke was a phenomenal English philosopher. Locke’s ideas had a huge influence on the development of political philosophy and he is considered one of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment and one of the biggest contibutors to liberal theory. Locke’s influence is reflected in the American Declaration of Independence. Locke was the first philosopher to define the self through a continuity of “consciousness.” John Locke was an independent thinker and among the greatest philosophers.

39) Charles Darwin - Charles Darwin was a naturalist and geologist who proposed that all species of life have evolved over time. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public. Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology. Darwin is yet another great thinker of his time and his theories are still studied and discussed today.

40) Johannes Kepler - Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. He was a huge influence towards the astronomical revolution of the 17th century. Kepler is best known for his laws of planetary motion. His laws also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation. Kepler is regarded as a man with revolutionary thoughts towards astronomy.

41) Napoleon Bonaparte - Napoleon Bonaparte was a political and French military leader who had a huge influence on European history. Napoleon was a general during the French Revolution, Emperor of France, King of Italy, and Mediator of the Swiss. Napoleon was a very intelligent military leader who used innovative tactics and strategy to help him win many battles.

Gary Kasparov

42) Garry Kasparov – Garry Kasparov was a former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist. Kasparov was a candidate for the Russian presidential race of 2008. Kasparov holds the all-time highest chess rating of 2851 and records for consecutive tournament victories.

43) John Stuart Mill – John Stuart Mill largely influenced British thought and politics in the 19th century. His large number of works include: texts in logic, economics, social and political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, and religion. John Stuart Mill is recognized as one of the most intelligent men of his time and is regarded as one of the smartest men of all time.

44) Rene Descartes - Rene Descartes was an influential philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. Descartes has been given the title “Father of Modern Philosophy,” and has contributed a lot to Western philosophy. His writings are still being studied today and he has had a huge influence in mathematics. Rene was a key figure in the scientific revolution and was able to share his incredible insights with others.

45) George Washington - George Washington was the first President of the United States, and lead the U.S. continental Army to defeat the British in the Revolutionary war. Washington is viewed as a symbol of the United States and republican party. He has been consistently ranked by citizens as one of the greatest presidents of the United States.

46) Miguel de Cervantes – Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish novelist, poet, painter and playwright. He is one of the most influential and important people in literature and the leader of culture in 16th century Spain. Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote” is considered a classic of Western literature and has been ranked among the best novels ever written. Miguel de Cervantes’ work is considered among the most important in all of literature!

47) Francois Marie-Arouet – Commonly known by the pen-name Voltaire, Francois Marie-Arouet was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher. He was known for his wit, defense of civil liberties, and philosophy. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform and was one of several Enlightenment figures whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.

48) Baruch de Spinoza - Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher that was very proficient in science. Most of Spinoza’s work was not recognized until after his death. Today, Spinoza is regarded as one of the greatest 17th century philosophers. His work in philosophy laid the foundation for the 18th century Enlightenment.

49) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - Leibniz was a German polymath who is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers. Liebniz invented calculus, and his version is widely used. He also discovered the binary system, the structure of modern computer architectures. He was, along with Rene Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, one of the 3 greatest 17th century philosophers. He also made major contributions to physics, technology, and made anticipations that surfaced much later in biology, medicine, geology, probability theory, psychology, and linguistics. Liebniz also wrote about politics, law, ethics, theology, and history.

50) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer whose works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe was a key figure in German literature and the movement of Weimar Classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.Goethe is the inventor of the concept of “world literature,” having taken great interest in the literatures of England, France, Italy, classical Greece, Persia, and Arabic literature. His influence on German philosophy is unparalleled and his influence has spread across Europe. Many of his works were a primary source of inspiration in music, drama, and poetry. Goethe is considered one of the most important thinkers in the Western culture and generally recognized as the most important writer in the German language.

This post originally appeared at 4mind4life.

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Category: Culture, History, Ideas, Ingenuity, Inspiration, Mind, Self, Society

Comments (13)

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  1. schrockstar says:

    When I saw Warren Buffet at #8 on this list I knew it was full of FAIL.

    Where is Hermes?

    • admin says:

      Warren Buffet could also be on the list of the top demons of all time, for sure, but the list is what it is. Write up a new version and I’ll post it.

      • Sue says:

        Is there no women geniuses..???

        • Alex says:

          You two hit it right on the head. I respect the list because most of it is really well done, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But…as far as my opinion goes…

          Warren Buffet is one of the parasites responsible for the horrid state of the world. Certainly not a genius.

          And, as Sue said, what, no women? Ada Lovelace? Marie Curie? Grace Hopper? Those three certainly should be on the list, if not more.

  2. al babel says:

    A few suspect inclusions but an interesting read and a terrific starting point for debate nonetheless. How about Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) or Jesus Christ or Muhammad, or Confucius even; certainly they could be considered spiritual/philosophical geniuses of a higher order than the Swami Vivekananda, and have made a much larger impact on humanity than the two savants you include. I agree with shrockstar that Hermes Trismegistus should also appear on the list.

    And Sue, sure there are women geniuses, but with all due respect, your grammar doesn’t help their case(hehe – sorry too easy).


  3. al babel says:

    Totally agree with Jung, but if you go that route I think you would have to include Freud as well… how about Joseph Campbell, heavily influenced by Freud and Jung he did incredibly insightful and prolific work in the field of comparative religion and mythology observing the common archetypes that recur in both the Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, laying the groundwork for increased understanding and communication amongst seemingly disparate cultures.

  4. al babel says:

    I would throw Nietzsche on the list as well.

  5. al babel says:

    Also, you can’t include the likes of Napoleon and George Washington without including include the greatest military/leadership genius of all time Alexander the Great, and how about strategic/tactical/political geniuses like Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Robespierre (architect of the French Revolution).

  6. al babel says:

    Francis Bacon anyone? Champion of the scientific method.

  7. Sampan Chakraborty says:

    PUT Newton and Tesla above Einstein and overall a decent post.Could have added some persons from philosophy,literature,music and sports.But please exclude Edison and Churchill,those two were biggest manipulator of all time.

    Pele,Muhammad Ali,Shen Kuo, Rabindranath Tagore,,Chaplin,Confucious,Christ,Buddha,Michael Faraday,Pasteur,Alexander the great,Galileo,Columbus are some other names who could easily featured in your list considering the fact that many in that list are way blow than those names I have taken.

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