Search People Result

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 …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Chemistry, for the years 1970 – 2020

Linus Pauling
# 1
Linus Pauling

1901 - 1994 (93 years)

#72 person's overall influence

Linus Carl Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topics. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000, he was rated the 16th most important scientist in history. For his scientific work, Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954. For his peace activism, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. He is one of four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize . Of these, he is the

John Pople
# 2
John Pople

1925 - 2004 (79 years)

#4225 person's overall influence

Sir John Anthony Pople was a British theoretical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Walter Kohn in 1998 for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry.

Paul Anastas
# 3
Paul Anastas

1962 - Present (59 years)

#8203 person's overall influence

Anastas is Director of Yale University’s Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. He is known as the “Father of Green Chemistry” for his work on the design and development of safe and environmentally-friendly chemicals. Anastas earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and his master’s and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Brandeis University.

Glenn Seaborg
# 4
Glenn Seaborg

1912 - 1999 (87 years)

#966 person's overall influence

Glenn Theodore Seaborg was an American chemist whose involvement in the synthesis, discovery and investigation of ten transuranium elements earned him a share of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His work in this area also led to his development of the actinide concept and the arrangement of the actinide series in the periodic table of the elements.

Jean-Marie Lehn
# 5
Jean-Marie Lehn

1939 - Present (82 years)

#6268 person's overall influence

Lehn is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg’s Institute of Advanced Study (USIAS), as well as Chair of Chemistry of Complex Systems. He is also a member of the Reliance Innovation Council of Reliance Industries Limited, India. Lehn studied philosophy and chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, receiving his undergraduate degree in chemistry, and later his Ph.D.

Karl Barry Sharpless
# 6
Karl Barry Sharpless

1941 - Present (80 years)

#8621 person's overall influence

Karl Barry Sharpless is an American chemist and Nobel Laureate known for his work on stereoselective reactions and click chemistry.

Richard Smalley
# 7
Richard Smalley

1943 - 2005 (62 years)

#3138 person's overall influence

Richard Errett Smalley was the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. In 1996, along with Robert Curl, also a professor of chemistry at Rice, and Harold Kroto, a professor at the University of Sussex, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of a new form of carbon, buckminsterfullerene, also known as buckyballs. He was an advocate of nanotechnology and its applications.

Robert Curl
# 8
Robert Curl

1933 - Present (88 years)

#3428 person's overall influence

Curl is the Pitzer–Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus, and Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Rice University. Curl received his Bachelor of Science degree from Rice University (then the Rice Institute) in 1954. He got his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1957. Curl won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for his groundbreaking work on nanomaterials.

Carolyn Bertozzi
# 9
Carolyn Bertozzi

1966 - Present (55 years)

#3385 person's overall influence

Carolyn Bertozzi is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, and is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She earned a B.A. in chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

George M. Whitesides
# 10
George M. Whitesides

1939 - Present (82 years)

#2470 person's overall influence

Whitesides is Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Harvard College in 1960, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1964. A prolific researcher, Whitesides earned the highest Hirsch index rating of all living chemists in 2011, an index that attempts to measure the productivity and impact of scholars by analyzing their publications.

Kyriakos Costa Nicolaou
# 11
Kyriakos Costa Nicolaou

1946 - Present (75 years)

#12346 person's overall influence

Kyriacos Costa Nicolaou is a Cypriot-American chemist known for his research in the area of natural products total synthesis. He is currently Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Chemistry at Rice University, having previously held academic positions at The Scripps Research Institute/UC San Diego and the University of Pennsylvania.

Roald Hoffmann
# 12
Roald Hoffmann

1937 - Present (84 years)

#7761 person's overall influence

Hoffman is the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus, at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University in 1958. He earned his Master of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1960. He also received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Hoffman won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1981.

Harry B. Gray
# 13
Harry B. Gray

1935 - Present (86 years)

#5252 person's overall influence

Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology. Gray received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Western Kentucky University in 1957. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University in 1960.

Kary Mullis
# 14
Kary Mullis

1944 - 2019 (75 years)

#713 person's overall influence

Kary Banks Mullis was an American biochemist. In recognition of his invention of the polymerase chain reaction technique, he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and was awarded the Japan Prize in the same year. His invention became a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology, described by The New York Times as "highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before PCR and after PCR."

Fraser Stoddart
# 15
Fraser Stoddart

1942 - Present (79 years)

#5472 person's overall influence

Stoddart is Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University in the United States. He is also Head of the Stoddart Mechanostereochemistry Group in the Department of Chemistry. Stoddart received his bachelor’s degree as well as his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1967.

Robert H. Grubbs
# 16
Robert H. Grubbs

1942 - Present (79 years)

#8418 person's overall influence

Grubbs is the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He received his bachelor of science in Chemistry at the University of Florida in 1963. He received his master’s degree from Florida in 1965. Grubbs got his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University in New York City in 1968.

Ronald Breslow
# 17
Ronald Breslow

1931 - 2017 (86 years)

#8883 person's overall influence

Ronald Charles D. Breslow was an American chemist from Rahway, New Jersey. He was University Professor at Columbia University, where he was based in the Department of Chemistry and affiliated with the Departments of Biological Sciences and Pharmacology; he had also been on the faculty of its Department of Chemical Engineering. He had taught at Columbia since 1956 and was a former chair of the university's chemistry department.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage
# 18
Jean-Pierre Sauvage

1944 - Present (77 years)

#20768 person's overall influence

Sauvage is Director Emeritus of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Strasbourg, France. Sauvage received his Ph.D. from Louis Pasteur University (now part of the University of Strasbourg) in 1971. Sauvage was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford for two years, and taught at the University of Strasbourg as Professor of Chemistry along with his position as Director of Research at CNRS for many years. In 2016, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on molecular machines.

Elias James Corey
# 19
Elias James Corey

1928 - Present (93 years)

#13732 person's overall influence

“E.J.” Corey is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living chemists. He is Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry at Harvard University. After matriculating at MIT at the age of 16 to study mathematics and engineering, Corey switched his major to Chemistry, and received his degree in that field at MIT. He then completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at MIT.

Yves Chauvin
# 20
Yves Chauvin

1930 - 2015 (85 years)

#9526 person's overall influence

Yves Chauvin was a French chemist and Nobel Prize laureate. He was honorary research director at the Institut français du pétrole and a member of the French Academy of Science. He was known for his work for deciphering the process of metathesis for which he was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock.

# 21
David A. Evans

1941 - Present (80 years)

#21300 person's overall influence

David A. Evans is the Abbott and James Lawrence Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He is a prominent figure in the field of organic chemistry and his research focuses on synthetic chemistry and total synthesis, particularly of large biologically active molecules. Among his best-known work is the development of aldol reaction methodology .

Allen J. Bard
# 22
Allen J. Bard

1933 - Present (88 years)

#14904 person's overall influence

Allen J. Bard is a chemist and the Hackerman-Welch Regents Chair Professor and director of the Center for Electrochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. He studied at the City College of New York before earning a Master’s degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Sumio Iijima
# 23
Sumio Iijima

1939 - Present (82 years)

#8502 person's overall influence

Sumio Iijima is a University Professor at Meijo University, a physicist and inventor, best known for inventing carbon nanotubes. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Electro-Communications and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in solid-state physics from Tohoku University.

Robert Bergman
# 24
Robert Bergman

1942 - Present (79 years)

#13906 person's overall influence

Robert Bergman is the Gerald E. K. Branch Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carleton College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He completed his post-doctoral research at Columbia University.

Herbert C. Brown
# 25
Herbert C. Brown

1912 - 2004 (92 years)

#9275 person's overall influence

Herbert Charles Brown was an American chemist and recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with organoboranes.

Eric Scerri
# 26
Eric Scerri

1953 - Present (68 years)

#25728 person's overall influence

Scerri is Lecturer at the (UCLA). He is also Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Foundations of Chemistry, a triannual a peer-reviewed academic journal. Scerri is widely acknowledged as an authority on the Periodic Table, appearing in the PBS documentary The Mystery of Matter. He received his bachelor’s of science degree from Westfield College, the , his MPhil from the and his Ph.D. from King’s College London.

# 27
Robert A. Holton

1944 - Present (77 years)

#6012 person's overall influence

Robert A. Holton is an American academic chemist who is known for his work regarding the chemical synthesis for Taxol , a widely utilized and highly effective anti-cancer drug. He is a Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University.

Arnold Thackray
# 28
Arnold Thackray

1939 - Present (82 years)

#16190 person's overall influence

Arnold Thackray is a science historian who is the founding president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation , the Life Sciences Foundation, and Science History Consultants. He is an emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles M. Lieber
# 29
Charles M. Lieber

1959 - Present (62 years)

#14657 person's overall influence

Charles M. Lieber is co-founder of Nanosys and Vista Therapeutics, a pioneer in nanoscience and nanotechnology and a chemist. He earned a B.A. in chemistry from Franklin & Marshall College before earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He completed a two-year postdoctoral program at Caltech, where he studied long-distance electron transfer in metalloproteins.

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
# 30
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao

1934 - Present (87 years)

#4812 person's overall influence

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao FRS, also known as C. N. R. Rao , is an Indian chemist who has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He has honorary doctorates from 60 universities from around the world, and has authored around 1,600 research publications and 51 books. He is described as a scientist who had won all possible awards in his field except the Nobel Prize.

John F. Hartwig
# 31
John F. Hartwig

1964 - Present (57 years)

#31840 person's overall influence

John F. Hartwig is the Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. His laboratory focuses on developing new methods for the preparation of a broad range of organic compounds. His explorations have illustrated the potential of the transition metal-catalyzed construction of important carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom linkages in a way that has elevated such transformations to strategy level reactions.

Peter G. Schultz
# 32
Peter G. Schultz

1956 - Present (65 years)

#6615 person's overall influence

Schultz is the CEO and Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. He is also founder and former director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF). In 2012, he founded the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), and now serves as its director. Academically, Schultz received his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1979 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Caltech in 1984.

James D. Watson
# 33
James D. Watson

1928 - Present (93 years)

#93 person's overall influence

James D. Watson is a zoologist, geneticist and molecular biologist. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is most recently well-known due to his controversial comments about race and genetics, for which he has been largely ostracized.

Gerhard Herzberg
# 34
Gerhard Herzberg

1904 - 1999 (95 years)

#737 person's overall influence

Gerhard Heinrich Friedrich Otto Julius Herzberg, was a German-Canadian pioneering physicist and physical chemist, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971, "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals". Herzberg's main work concerned atomic and molecular spectroscopy. He is well known for using these techniques that determine the structures of diatomic and polyatomic molecules, including free radicals which are difficult to investigate in any other way, and for the chemical analysis of astronomical objects. Herzbe...

Martin Karplus
# 35
Martin Karplus

1930 - Present (91 years)

#5509 person's overall influence

Karplus is Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, emeritus at Harvard University. He received his Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree from Harvard University in 1950, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1953, working with the famous Nobel laureate Linus Pauling. Karplus is also currently the Director of the Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory, a joint laboratory between the French National Center for Scientific Research and the University of Strasbourg, France.

# 36
Joseph O. Hirschfelder

1911 - 1990 (79 years)

#10444 person's overall influence

Joseph Oakland Hirschfelder was an American physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project and in the creation of the nuclear bomb. Robert Oppenheimer assembled a team at the Los Alamos Laboratory to work on plutonium gun design Thin Man, that included senior engineer Edwin McMillan and senior physicists Charles Critchfield and Joseph Hirschfelder. Hirschfelder had been working on internal ballistics. Oppenheimer led the design effort himself until June 1943, when Navy Captain William Sterling Parsons arrived took over the Ordnance and Engineering Division and direct management of the "T

# 37
James R. Heath

1962 - Present (59 years)

#5752 person's overall influence

James R. Heath is an American chemist and the president and professor of Institute of Systems Biology. Previous to this, he was the Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, after having moved from University of California Los Angeles.

John D. Roberts
# 38
John D. Roberts

1918 - 2016 (98 years)

#7181 person's overall influence

John Dombrowski Roberts was an American chemist. He made contributions to the integration of physical chemistry, spectroscopy, and organic chemistry for the understanding of chemical reaction rates. Another characteristic of Roberts' work was the early use of NMR, the concept of spin-spin coupling.

Harry Kroto
# 39
Harry Kroto

1939 - 2016 (77 years)

#5702 person's overall influence

Sir Harold Walter Kroto , known as Harry Kroto, was an English chemist. He shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes. He was the recipient of many other honors and awards.

Carl Djerassi
# 40
Carl Djerassi

1923 - 2015 (92 years)

#5687 person's overall influence

Carl Djerassi was an Austrian-born Bulgarian-American chemist, novelist, playwright and co-founder of Djerassi Resident Artists Program with Diane Wood Middlebrook. He is best known for his contribution to the development of oral contraceptive pillss, nicknamed the father of the pill.

# 41
Nicholas F. Chilton
#34003 person's overall influence

Nicholas Frederick Chilton is an Australian chemist and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester. His research is based on magnetochemistry and computational chemistry, including on the design of high-temperature single molecule magnets, design of molecular spin qubits for quantum information and in developing methods and tools for modelling magnetic calculations.

Gerhard Ertl
# 42
Gerhard Ertl

1936 - Present (85 years)

#17410 person's overall influence

Gerhard Ertl is a German physicist and a Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany. Ertl's research laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhausts and even why iron rusts, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

Yuan T. Lee
# 43
Yuan T. Lee

1936 - Present (85 years)

#3725 person's overall influence

Yuan Tseh Lee is a Taiwanese chemist and a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He was the first Taiwanese Nobel Prize laureate who, along with the Hungarian-Canadian John C. Polanyi and American Dudley R. Herschbach, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 "for their contributions to the dynamics of chemical elementary processes".

John E. Bercaw
# 44
John E. Bercaw

1944 - Present (77 years)

#27636 person's overall influence

John E. Bercaw is an American chemist and Centennial Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology.

# 45
Floriana Tuna
#43782 person's overall influence

Floriana Tuna is a Romanian chemist and a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Manchester. Her research in general is based on inorganic chemistry and magnetochemistry, specifically on molecular magnetism, EPR spectroscopy and quantum computing.

Ada Yonath
# 46
Ada Yonath

1939 - Present (82 years)

#1309 person's overall influence

Yonath is Director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly of the Weizmann Institute of Science. She received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1962, her master’s in biochemistry in 1964, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1968.

# 47
Donald J. Cram

1919 - 2001 (82 years)

#12000 person's overall influence

Donald James Cram was an American chemist who shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean-Marie Lehn and Charles J. Pedersen "for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity." They were the founders of the field of host–guest chemistry.

Edward M. Burgess
# 48
Edward M. Burgess

1934 - 2018 (84 years)

#39616 person's overall influence

Edward Meredith Burgess was an American chemist. He specialized in organic chemistry with an emphasis on methodology, structure, and photochemistry. He is best known for the Burgess reagent that is used for selective dehydration of alcohols.

Stephen J. Lippard
# 49
Stephen J. Lippard

1940 - Present (81 years)

#18604 person's overall influence

Stephen James Lippard is the Arthur Amos Noyes Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is considered one of the founders of bioinorganic chemistry, studying the interactions of nonliving substances such as metals with biological systems. He is also considered a founder of metalloneurochemistry, the study of metal ions and their effects in the brain and nervous system. He has done pioneering work in understanding protein structure and synthesis, the enzymatic functions of methane monooxygenase , and the mechanisms of cisplatin anticancer drugs. His wo...

Ben Feringa
# 50
Ben Feringa

1951 - Present (70 years)

#16921 person's overall influence

Feringa is Jacobus van ’t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, the University of Groningen, Netherlands. He is also Academy Professor and Chair of Board of the Science Division of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Feringa shares the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Fraser Stoddart and Jean-Pierre Sauvage for work on molecular machines.