Who are the most influential thinkers in world?
Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!
Note: These rankings change dynamically as our artificial intelligence system learns new things and incorporates new publications and citations. Academics are constantly doing research and publishing new insights, with the result that our measure of influence is subject to continual adjustments. For quality assurance reasons, however, we forgo real-time changes, with most public updates happening only quarterly. In any case, don’t be surprised to see our rankings change over time.Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …
100 - 170 (70 years)
Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, and astrologer who wrote about a dozen scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to later Byzantine, Islamic, and Western European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, although it was originally entitled the Mathēmatikē Syntaxis or Mathematical Treatise, and later known as The Greatest Treatise. The second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion on maps and the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to a
64 BC - 23 (87 years)
Strabo was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.Life Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in around 64BC. His family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars. As the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Rom
384 BC - 322 BC (62 years)
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology, geology and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. It was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its int
276 BC - 194 BC (82 years)
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek polymath: a mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. His work is comparable to what is now known as the study of geography, and he introduced some of the terminology still used today.
1880 - 1930 (50 years)
Alfred Lothar Wegener was a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist.During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar research, but today he is most remembered as the originator of continental drift hypothesis by suggesting in 1912 that the continents are slowly drifting around the Earth . His hypothesis was controversial and widely rejected by mainstream geology until the 1950s, when numerous discoveries such as palaeomagnetism provided strong support for continental drift, and thereby a substantial basis for today's mode
1769 - 1859 (90 years)
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a German polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt . Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography. Humboldt's advocacy of long-term systematic geophysical measurement laid the foundation for modern geomagnetic and meteorological monitoring.
1850 - 1934 (84 years)
William Morris Davis was an American geographer, geologist, geomorphologist, and meteorologist, often called the "father of American geography".He was born into a prominent Quaker family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Edward M. Davis and Maria Mott Davis . Davis studied geology and geography at Harvard's Lawrence Scientific School and then joined the Harvard sponsored geographic exploration party to the Colorado territory, led by the inaugural Sturgis-Hooper professor of geology, Josiah Dwight Whitney. Wild stories had circulated since soon after the Louisiana Purchase about Rocky Moun
1918 - 2002 (84 years)
Arthur Newell Strahler was a geoscience professor at Columbia University who in 1952 developed the Strahler Stream Order system for classifying streams according to the power of their tributaries.Strahler was largely responsible for the shift from qualitative to quantitative geomorphology during the mid 20th century.
1906 - 1969 (63 years)
Harry Hammond Hess was an American geologist and a United States Navy officer in World War II who is considered one of the "founding fathers" of the unifying theory of plate tectonics. He is best known for his theories on sea floor spreading, specifically work on relationships between island arcs, seafloor gravity anomalies, and serpentinized peridotite, suggesting that the convection of the Earth's mantle was the driving force behind this process.
1846 - 1903 (57 years)
Vasily Vasilyevich Dokuchaev was a Russian geologist and geographer who is credited with laying the foundations of soil science.Overview Vasily Vasil'evich Dokuchaev is commonly regarded as the father of soil science, the study of soils in its natural setting. He developed soil science in Russia, and was, perhaps the first person to make wide geographical investigations of different soil types. His great contribution to science was, figuratively, to "put soils on the map".
1811 - 1863 (52 years)
Auguste Bravais was a French physicist known for his work in crystallography, the conception of Bravais lattices, and the formulation of Bravais law. Bravais also studied magnetism, the northern lights, meteorology, geobotany, phyllotaxis, astronomy, statistics and hydrography.
1801 - 1880 (79 years)
Prof William Hallowes Miller FRS HFRSE LLD DCL was a Welsh mineralogist and laid the foundations of modern crystallography.Miller indices are named after him, the method having been described in his Treatise on Crystallography . The mineral known as millerite is named after him.
190 BC - 120 BC (70 years)
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry, but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. Hipparchus was born in Nicaea, Bithynia, and probably died on the island of Rhodes, Greece. He is known to have been a working astronomer between 162 and 127 BC.
1823 - 1913 (90 years)
Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper on the subject was jointly published with some of Charles Darwin's writings in 1858. This prompted Darwin to publish On the Origin of Species.
1917 - 2008 (91 years)
Edward Norton Lorenz was an American mathematician and meteorologist who established the theoretical basis of weather and climate predictability, as well as the basis for computer-aided atmospheric physics and meteorology. He is best known as the founder of modern chaos theory, a branch of mathematics focusing on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions.
1927 - 2002 (75 years)
Richard John Chorley was an English geographer, and Professor of Geography at Cambridge University, known as leading figure in quantitative geography in the late 20th century, who played an instrumental role in bringing in the use of systems theory to geography.
1888 - 1923 (35 years)
Walther Penck was a geologist and geomorphologist known for his theories on landscape evolution. Penck is noted for criticizing key elements of the Davisian cycle of erosion, concluding that the process of uplift and denudation occur simultaneously, at gradual and continuous rates. Penck's idea of parallel slope retreat led to revisions of Davis's cycle of erosion.
1779 - 1859 (80 years)
Carl Ritter was a German geographer. Along with Alexander von Humboldt, he is considered one of the founders of modern geography. From 1825 until his death, he occupied the first chair in geography at the University of Berlin.
135 BC - 51 BC (84 years)
Posidonius "of Apameia" or "of Rhodes" , was a Greek politician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, historian, mathematician, and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. After a period learning Stoic philosophy from Panaetius in Athens, he spent many years in travel and scientific researches in Spain, Africa, Italy, Gaul, Liguria, Sicily and on the eastern shores of the Adriatic. He settled as a teacher at Rhodes where his fame attracted numerous scholars. Next to Panaetius he did most, by writings and personal lectures, to spread Stoicism to the Roman world, and he became well known to many le...
1777 - 1855 (78 years)
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and science. Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum and "the greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science, and is ranked among history's most influential mathematicians.
610 BC - 547 BC (63 years)
Anaximander was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia . He belonged to the Milesian school and learned the teachings of his master Thales. He succeeded Thales and became the second master of that school where he counted Anaximenes and, arguably, Pythagoras amongst his pupils.
1889 - 1975 (86 years)
Carl Ortwin Sauer was an American geographer. Sauer was a professor of geography at the University of California at Berkeley from 1923 until becoming professor emeritus in 1957. He has been called "the dean of American historical geography" and he was instrumental in the early development of the geography graduate school at Berkeley. One of his best known works was Agricultural Origins and Dispersals . In 1927, Carl Sauer wrote the article "Recent Developments in Cultural Geography," which considered how cultural landscapes are made up of "the forms superimposed on the physical landscape."
110 - 180 (70 years)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second century AD, who lived in the time of the Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his firsthand observations. This work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology.
1726 - 1797 (71 years)
James Hutton was a Scottish geologist, agriculturalist, chemical manufacturer, naturalist and physician. Often referred to as the ‘father’ of modern geology, he played a key role in establishing geology as a modern science.
1100 - 1166 (66 years)
Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani as-Sabti, or simply al-Idrisi , was an Arab Muslim geographer, cartographer and Egyptologist who for some time lived in Palermo, Sicily at the court of King Roger II. Muhammed al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta then belonging to the Almoravids. He created the Tabula Rogeriana, one of the most advanced medieval world maps.
1844 - 1904 (60 years)
Friedrich Ratzel was a German geographer and ethnographer, notable for first using the term Lebensraum in the sense that the National Socialists later would.Life Ratzel's father was the head of the household staff of the Grand Duke of Baden. Friedrich attended high school in Karlsruhe for six years before being apprenticed at age 15 to apothecaries. In 1863, he went to Rapperswil on the Lake of Zurich, Switzerland, where he began to study the classics. After a further year as an apothecary at Moers near Krefeld in the Ruhr area , he spent a short time at the high school in Karlsruhe and beca
1843 - 1917 (74 years)
Friedrich Robert Helmert was a German geodesist and an important writer on the theory of errors.Career Helmert was born in Freiberg, Kingdom of Saxony. After schooling in Freiberg and Dresden, he entered the Polytechnische Schule, now Technische Universität, in Dresden to study engineering science in 1859. Finding him especially enthusiastic about geodesy, one of his teachers, Christian August Nagel, hired him while still a student to work on the triangulation of the Erzgebirge and the drafting of the trigonometric network for Saxony. In 1863 Helmert became Nagel's assistant on the Central E
1910 - 1994 (84 years)
Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin was a Nobel Prize-winning British chemist who advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of biomolecules, which became an essential tool in structural biology.
1780 - 1856 (76 years)
Christian Samuel Weiss was a German mineralogist born in Leipzig.Following graduation, he worked as a physics instructor in Leipzig from 1803 until 1808. and in the meantime, conducted geological studies of mountain formations in Tyrol, Switzerland and France . In 1810 he became a professor of mineralogy at the University of Berlin, where in 1818/19 and 1832/33, he served as university rector. He died near Eger in Bohemia.
90 BC - 30 BC (60 years)
Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was an ancient Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, in forty books, fifteen of which survive intact, between 60 and 30 BC.
1875 - 1945 (70 years)
Robert Elmer Horton was an American civil engineer and soil scientist, considered by many to be the father of modern hydrology.Born in Parma, Michigan, he earned his B.S. from Albion College in 1897. After his graduation, he went to work for his uncle, George Rafter, a prominent civil engineer. Rafter had commissioned a weir study, the results of which Horton analyzed and summarized. In 1900, he was appointed New York District Engineer of the United States Geological Survey.
1744 - 1829 (85 years)
Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck , often known simply as Lamarck , was a French naturalist. He was a soldier, biologist, and academic, and an early proponent of the idea that biological evolution occurred and proceeded in accordance with natural laws.
1898 - 1957 (59 years)
Carl-Gustaf Arvid Rossby was a Swedish-born American meteorologist who first explained the large-scale motions of the atmosphere in terms of fluid mechanics. He identified and characterized both the jet stream and the long waves in the westerlies that were later named Rossby waves.
1862 - 1951 (89 years)
Vilhelm Friman Koren Bjerknes was a Norwegian physicist and meteorologist who did much to found the modern practice of weather forecasting. He formulated the primitive equations that are still in use in numerical weather prediction and climate modeling, and he developed the so-called Bergen School of Meteorology, which was successful in advancing weather prediction and meteorology in the early 20th century.
1920 - 1958 (38 years)
Rosalind Elsie Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA , RNA , viruses, coal, and graphite. Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely unrecognized during her life, for which she has been variously referred to as the "wronged heroine", the "dark lady of DNA", the "forgotten heroine", a "feminist icon", and the "Sylvia Plath of molecular biology".
1935 - Present (86 years)
David W. Harvey is a British-born Marxist economic geographer, podcaster and Distinguished Professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York . He received his PhD in geography from the University of Cambridge in 1961. Harvey has authored many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. He is a proponent of the idea of the right to the city.
1846 - 1940 (94 years)
Wladimir Peter Köppen ; 25 September 1846 – 22 June 1940Background and education Wladimir Koppen was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was . He lived there until he was 20 years old. He died in Graz, Austria. Köppen's grandfather was one of several German doctors invited to Russia by Empress Catherine II to improve sanitation and was later personal physician to the tsar. His father, Peter von Köppen , was a noted geographer, historian and ethnographer of ancient Russian cultures and an important contributor to intellectual exchanges between western European slavists and Russian scient
1773 - 1839 (66 years)
Carl Friedrich Christian Mohs was a German geologist and mineralogist. He was the creator of the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Mohs also introduced a classification of the crystal forms in crystal systems independently of Christian Samuel Weiss.
1807 - 1873 (66 years)
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz FRS FRSE was a Swiss-born American biologist and geologist who is recognized as a scholar of Earth's natural history.Spending his early life in Switzerland, he received a doctor of philosophy and a medical degree at Erlangen and Munich, respectively. After studying with Georges Cuvier and Alexander von Humboldt in Paris, Agassiz was appointed professor of natural history at the University of Neuchâtel. He emigrated to the United States in 1847 after he visited Harvard University. He went on to become professor of zoology and geology at Harvard, to head its Lawren...
1304 - 1377 (73 years)
Ibn Battuta was a Muslim Moroccan scholar and explorer who travelled extensively in Afro-Eurasia, largely in the lands of Dar al-Islam, travelling more than any other explorer in pre-modern history, totalling around 117,000 km , surpassing Zheng He with about 50,000 km and Marco Polo with 24,000 km . Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of southern Eurasia, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, and the Iberian Peninsula. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and th...
1807 - 1884 (77 years)
Arnold Henry Guyot was a Swiss-American geologist and geographer.Early life Guyot was born on September 28, 1807, at Boudevilliers, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He was educated at Chaux-de-Fonds, then at the college of Neuchâtel. In 1825, he went to Germany and resided in Karlsruhe where he met Louis Agassiz, the beginning of a lifelong friendship. From Karlsruhe he moved to Stuttgart, where he studied at the gymnasium. He returned to Neuchâtel in 1827. He determined to enter the ministry and started at the University of Berlin to attend lectures. While pursuing his studies, he also attended
1865 - 1949 (84 years)
Erich Dagobert von Drygalski was a German geographer, geophysicist and polar scientist, born in Königsberg, East Prussia.Between 1882 and 1887, Drygalski studied mathematics and natural science at the University of Königsberg, Bonn, Berlin and Leipzig. He graduated with a doctorate thesis about ice shields in Nordic areas. Between 1888 and 1891, he was an assistant at the Geodetic Institute and the Central Office of International Geodetics in Berlin.
1807 - 1873 (66 years)
Matthew Fontaine Maury was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, educator, and naval officer for the United States and then the Confederacy. He was a devote Christian and, after reading Psalm 8:8, was determined to find "the paths of the seas".
1887 - 1956 (69 years)
Norman Levi Bowen FRS was a Canadian geologist. Bowen "revolutionized experimental petrology and our understanding of mineral crystallization". Beginning geology students are familiar with Bowen's reaction series depicting how different minerals crystallize under varying pressures and temperatures."
1897 - 1994 (97 years)
Ralph Walter Graystone Wyckoff, Sr. was an American scientist and pioneer of X-ray crystallography. He was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1949 and Foreign member of the Royal Society, on April 19, 1951.
1766 - 1844 (78 years)
John Dalton was an English chemist, physicist and meteorologist. He is best known for introducing the atomic theory into chemistry, and for his research into colour blindness, sometimes referred to as Daltonism in his honour.
1919 - Present (102 years)
James Ephraim Lovelock is an English independent scientist, environmentalist and futurist. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system.
1863 - 1932 (69 years)
Ellen Churchill Semple was an American geographer and the first female president of the Association of American Geographers. She contributed significantly to the early development of the discipline of geography in the United States, particularly studies of human geography. She is most closely associated with work in anthropogeography and environmentalism, and the debate about "environmental determinism".
1942 - Present (79 years)
George Michael Sheldrick, FRS is a British chemist who specialises in molecular structure determination. He is one of the most cited workers in the field, having over 280,000 citations as of 2020 and an h-index of 113. He was a professor at the University of Göttingen from 1978 until his retirement in 2011.
1685 - 1768 (83 years)
George Hadley was an English lawyer and amateur meteorologist who proposed the atmospheric mechanism by which the trade winds are sustained, which is now named in his honour as Hadley circulation. As a key factor in ensuring that European sailing vessels reached North American shores, understanding the trade winds was becoming a matter of great importance at the time. Hadley was intrigued by the fact that winds which should by all rights have blown straight north had a pronounced westerly flow, and it was this mystery he set out to solve.
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