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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.

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

A. Q. Khan
# 1
A. Q. Khan

1936 - Present (85 years)

#691 person's overall influence

Abdul Qadeer Khan , known as A. Q. Khan, is a Pakistani nuclear physicist and metallurgist who is colloquially known as the "father of uranium enrichment project" for his nation's clandestine atomic bomb program.

Neil Armstrong
# 2
Neil Armstrong

1930 - 2012 (82 years)

#404 person's overall influence

Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, and the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.

Jiankui He
# 3
Jiankui He

1984 - Present (37 years)

#2067 person's overall influence

Jiankui He is a biophysics researcher, former professor at Southern University of Science and Technology, and the creator of the first gene-edited babies. He earned a B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China and a Ph.D. from Rice University. While at Rice University, he began working with CRISPR, and throughout his career, has used CRISPR on human embryos, mice and monkeys.

Elon Musk
# 4
Elon Musk

1971 - Present (50 years)

#450 person's overall influence

Elon Reeve Musk is a business magnate, industrial designer, engineer, and philanthropist. He is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018. In 2018, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People, and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. As of September 2, 2020, his net worth was estimated by Forb

Steve Jobs
# 5
Steve Jobs

1955 - 2011 (56 years)

#245 person's overall influence

Steven Paul Jobs was an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor. He was the chairman, chief executive officer , and co-founder of Apple Inc., the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar, a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Munir Ahmad Khan
# 6
Munir Ahmad Khan

1926 - 1999 (73 years)

#504 person's overall influence

Munir Ahmad Khan , , was a Pakistani nuclear reactor physicist who is credited, among others, with being the "father of the atomic bomb program" of Pakistan for their leading role in developing their nation's nuclear weapons during the successive years after the war with India in 1971.

Frank Gehry
# 7
Frank Gehry

1929 - Present (92 years)

#724 person's overall influence

Frank Owen Gehry, , FAIA is a Canadian-born American architect, residing in Los Angeles.

Jay Wright Forrester
# 8
Jay Wright Forrester

1918 - 2016 (98 years)

#3759 person's overall influence

Jay Wright Forrester was a pioneering American computer engineer and systems scientist. He is credited with being one of the inventors of magnetic core memory, the predominant form of random-access computer memory during the most explosive years of digital computer development . It was part of a family of related technologies which bridged the gap between vacuum tubes and semiconductors by exploiting the magnetic properties of materials to perform switching and amplification.

Genrich Altshuller
# 9
Genrich Altshuller

1926 - 1998 (72 years)

#4419 person's overall influence

Genrikh Saulovich Altshuller , was a Soviet engineer, inventor, and writer. He is most notable for the creation of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, better known by its Russia acronym TRIZ. He founded the Azerbaijan Public Institute for Inventive Creation, and was the first President of the TRIZ Association. He also wrote science fiction under the pen-name Genrikh Altov.

Tim Berners-Lee
# 10
Tim Berners-Lee

1955 - Present (66 years)

#409 person's overall influence

Tim Berners-Lee (also called “TimBL” or “TBL”) is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Berners-Lee is best known for inventing a markup language, the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) that has (of course) become the basis for Web pages. In a very real sense, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web! And more. In 2016, Berners-Lee received the prestigious Turing Award for “for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to sc...

Richard Stallman
# 11
Richard Stallman

1953 - Present (68 years)

#948 person's overall influence

Richard Matthew Stallman , often known by his initials, rms, and occasionally upper-case RMS, is an American free software movement activist and programmer. He campaigns for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedoms to use, study, distribute, and modify that software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman launched the GNU Project, founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote the GNU General Public License.

Barry Boehm
# 12
Barry Boehm

1935 - Present (86 years)

#3579 person's overall influence

Barry W. Boehm is an American software engineer, distinguished professor of computer science, industrial and systems engineering; the TRW Professor of Software Engineering; and founding director of the Center for Systems and Software Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is known for his many contributions to the area of software engineering.

Carl Sagan
# 13
Carl Sagan

1934 - 1996 (62 years)

#165 person's overall influence

Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now-accepted hypothesis that...

Eliyahu M. Goldratt
# 14
Eliyahu M. Goldratt

1947 - 2011 (64 years)

#4125 person's overall influence

Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt was an Israeli business management guru. He was the originator of the Optimized Production Technique, the Theory of Constraints , the Thinking Processes, Drum-Buffer-Rope, Critical Chain Project Management and other TOC derived tools.

Jacob Rubinovitz
# 15
Jacob Rubinovitz

1947 - Present (74 years)

#5450 person's overall influence

Jacob Rubinovitz is an Israeli scientist. He was the head of the Laboratory for robotics and CIM at the Technion.

Donald Knuth
# 16
Donald Knuth

1938 - Present (83 years)

#688 person's overall influence

Knuth is professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech). As an undergraduate at the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), Knuth received the extraordinary honor of receiving his bachelor of science degree together with a master of science in mathematics based on the strength of his work at Case. He also helped redesign an early IBM computer while at Case, and made fundamental contributions to programming—writing a program to help predict the scores of basketba...

Arthur C. Clarke
# 17
Arthur C. Clarke

1917 - 2008 (91 years)

#125 person's overall influence

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was an English science-fiction writer, science writer, futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.

David Parnas
# 18
David Parnas

1941 - Present (80 years)

#2588 person's overall influence

Parnas earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught as a professor at numerous universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Victoria in Canada, and the University of Limerick in Ireland.

K. Eric Drexler
# 19
K. Eric Drexler

1955 - Present (66 years)

#1559 person's overall influence

Kim Eric Drexler is an American engineer best known for seminal studies of the potential of molecular nanotechnology , from the 1970s and 1980s. His 1991 doctoral thesis at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was revised and published as the book Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery Manufacturing and Computation , which received the Association of American Publishers award for Best Computer Science Book of 1992.

Bill Joy
# 20
Bill Joy

1954 - Present (67 years)

#1876 person's overall influence

William Nelson Joy is an American computer engineer and venture capitalist. He co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla, and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as CTO at the company until 2003. He played an integral role in the early development of BSD UNIX while being a graduate student at Berkeley, and he is the original author of the vi text editor. He also wrote the 2000 essay Why The Future Doesn't Need Us, in which he expressed deep concerns over the development of modern technologies.

Santiago Calatrava
# 21
Santiago Calatrava

1951 - Present (70 years)

#3155 person's overall influence

Santiago Calatrava Valls is a Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter, particularly known for his bridges supported by single leaning pylons, and his railway stations, stadiums, and museums, whose sculptural forms often resemble living organisms. His best-known works include the Olympic Sports Complex of Athens, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Turning Torso tower in Malmö, Sweden, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City, the Auditorio de Tenerife in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, Texas, and his largest project, the City

Lorne Trottier
# 22
Lorne Trottier

1948 - Present (73 years)

#3080 person's overall influence

Lorne M. Trottier, OC is a Canadian engineer, businessman and philanthropist. He co-founded Matrox, a computer corporation that specializes in computer graphics. Trottier sits as an advisor to Canada's Ecofiscal Commission.

Claude Shannon
# 23
Claude Shannon

1916 - 2001 (85 years)

#312 person's overall influence

Claude Elwood Shannon was an American mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as "the father of information theory". Shannon is noted for having founded information theory with a landmark paper, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", which he published in 1948.

Vint Cerf
# 24
Vint Cerf

1943 - Present (78 years)

#659 person's overall influence

Vinton Grey Cerf is one of the founding fathers of the Internet. He received his degree in mathematics from Stanford University. After a two year stint as an engineer working on QUICKTRAN, an early computer language based on FORTRAN, Cerf received his masters and his Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA.

Irwin M. Jacobs
# 25
Irwin M. Jacobs

1933 - Present (88 years)

#2232 person's overall influence

Irwin Mark Jacobs is an American electrical engineer, billionaire, a co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, and chair of the board of trustees of the Salk Institute.

G. Wayne Clough
# 26
G. Wayne Clough

1941 - Present (80 years)

#3190 person's overall influence

Gerald Wayne Clough is President Emeritus for the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-founder of the United States Universities Council of Geotechnical Engineering Research. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.

Rasmus Lerdorf
# 27
Rasmus Lerdorf

1968 - Present (53 years)

#6579 person's overall influence

Rasmus Lerdorf is a Danish-Canadian programmer. He co-authored and inspired the PHP scripting language, authoring the first two versions of the language and participating in the development of later versions led by a group of developers including Jim Winstead , Stig Bakken, Shane Caraveo, Andi Gutmans, and Zeev Suraski. He continues to contribute to the project.

Ravi V. Bellamkonda
# 28
Ravi V. Bellamkonda

1968 - Present (53 years)

#8939 person's overall influence

Ravi V. Bellamkonda is the Vinik Dean of Engineering and professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in biomedical engineering from Osmania University and a Ph.D. in medical science and biomaterials from Brown University.

Moshe Safdie
# 29
Moshe Safdie

1938 - Present (83 years)

#3628 person's overall influence

Moshe Safdie is an Israeli-Canadian architect, urban designer, educator, theorist, and author. He is most identified with designing Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, as well as his debut project Habitat 67, which was originally conceived as his Master's thesis while studying at McGill University and paved the way for his international career.

Andrew Viterbi
# 30
Andrew Viterbi

1935 - Present (86 years)

#2729 person's overall influence

Andrew Viterbi is co-founder of Qualcomm Inc., Presidential Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. (The school is, as you suspect, named for Viterbi. The school bestowed this honor in recognition for his gift of over $50 million to the school.) He earned a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in digital communications from the University of Southern California.

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.
# 31
Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.

1948 - Present (73 years)

#7022 person's overall influence

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr. is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a chemical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and an Sc.D. in chemical engineering from MIT.

Christopher J. Wiernicki
# 32
Christopher J. Wiernicki

1958 - Present (63 years)

#9133 person's overall influence

Christopher J. Wiernicki is a naval architect, engineer, and businessperson. He is the Chairman, President, and CEO of American Bureau of Shipping, an international classification organization, and also serves as Chairman of ABS Group of Companies, a global risk consulting and technical services company.

# 33
Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood

1940 - Present (81 years)

#4668 person's overall influence

Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood is a Pakistani nuclear engineer and a scholar of Islamic studies. He was the subject of a criminal investigation launched by the Federal Investigation Agency over unauthorized travel in Afghanistan prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Albert P. Pisano
# 34
Albert P. Pisano

1954 - Present (67 years)

#5504 person's overall influence

Albert P. Pisano is the Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering for the University of California at San Diego. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, where he also earned an M.S., M.Phil. and Ph.D.

Fred Brooks
# 35
Fred Brooks

1931 - Present (90 years)

#3339 person's overall influence

Frederick Phillips "Fred" Brooks Jr. is an American computer architect, software engineer, and computer scientist, best known for managing the development of IBM's System/360 family of computers and the OS/360 software support package, then later writing candidly about the process in his seminal book The Mythical Man-Month. Brooks has received many awards, including the National Medal of Technology in 1985 and the Turing Award in 1999.

# 36
Shobu Yarlagadda

1971 - Present (50 years)

#10843 person's overall influence

Shobu Yarlagadda is an Indian American environmental engineer – turned film producer, and the son-in-law of veteran film maker K. Raghavendra Rao. He is the co-founder and CEO of Arka Media Works, a film production company known for its works exclusively in Telugu cinema. Shobu has garnered two National Film Awards, two state Nandi Awards, three Filmfare South Awards, two SIIMA awards, one Zee Cine Awards Telugu and the Saturn Award.

Buzz Aldrin
# 37
Buzz Aldrin

1930 - Present (91 years)

#830 person's overall influence

Buzz Aldrin is an American former astronaut, engineer and fighter pilot. Aldrin made three spacewalks as pilot of the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, and as the lunar module pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon.

Paul G. Allen
# 38
Paul G. Allen

1953 - 2018 (65 years)

#861 person's overall influence

Paul Gardner Allen was an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He was best known for co-founding Microsoft Corporation with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975, which helped spark the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, later making Microsoft the world's largest personal computer software company. Allen was ranked as the 44th-wealthiest person in the world by Forbes in 2018, with an estimated net worth of $20.3 billion at the time of his death.

Subra Suresh
# 39
Subra Suresh

1956 - Present (65 years)

#4794 person's overall influence

Subra Suresh is a Distinguished University Professor and President of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, a biological engineer and materials scientist. He earned a B.Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

# 40
Ravi Arimilli

1963 - Present (58 years)

#11331 person's overall influence

Ravi Arimilli is an IBM Fellow and Chief Architect. Largely responsible for development of the POWER5, he is one of the most prolific inventors in the world, being awarded 78 patents in 2002 and a further 53 in 2003. He has over 507 patents to his name and is listed among the most prolific inventors in the world as measured by U.S. utility patents.

Padmasree Warrior
# 41
Padmasree Warrior

1961 - Present (60 years)

#10686 person's overall influence

Padmasree Warrior is the Founder, CEO and President of Fable Group Inc., a curated reading platform focused on mental wellness. She also serves on the board of directors of Microsoft and Spotify.

Federico Faggin
# 42
Federico Faggin

1941 - Present (80 years)

#1297 person's overall influence

Federico Faggin is an Italian-American physicist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He is best known for designing the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004. He led the 4004 project and the design group during the first five years of Intel's microprocessor effort. Faggin also created, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968, the self-aligned MOS silicon-gate technology , which made possible MOS semiconductor memory chips, CCD image sensors, and the microprocessor. After the 4004, he led development of the Intel 8008 and 8080, using his SGT methodology for random logic

Larry Page
# 43
Larry Page

1973 - Present (48 years)

#1317 person's overall influence

Lawrence Edward Page is an American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Google along with Sergey Brin.

Marc Andreessen
# 44
Marc Andreessen

1971 - Present (50 years)

#1125 person's overall influence

Marc Lowell Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser; co-founder of Netscape; and co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He co-founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. Andreessen is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook. Andreessen was one of six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the First I...

# 45
Monty Finniston

1912 - 1991 (79 years)

#9907 person's overall influence

Sir Harold Montague "Monty" Finniston FRS FRSE was a Scottish industrialist.

Jack Kilby
# 46
Jack Kilby

1923 - 2005 (82 years)

#1752 person's overall influence

Jack St. Clair Kilby was an American electrical engineer who took part in the realization of the first integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments in 1958. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on December 10, 2000.

# 47
Thom Mayne

1944 - Present (77 years)

#4547 person's overall influence

Thom Mayne is an American architect. He is based in Los Angeles. In 1972, Mayne helped found the Southern California Institute of Architecture , where he is a trustee. Since then he has held teaching positions at SCI-Arc, the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and the University of California, Los Angeles . He is principal of Morphosis Architects, an architectural firm in Culver City, California. Mayne received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in March 2005.

Robert Noyce
# 48
Robert Noyce

1927 - 1990 (63 years)

#1028 person's overall influence

Robert Norton Noyce , nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley," was an American physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is also credited with the realization of the first monolithic integrated circuit or microchip, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

Alan J. Heeger
# 49
Alan J. Heeger

1936 - Present (85 years)

#4898 person's overall influence

Alan Jay Heeger is an American physicist, academic and Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry.

Rem Koolhaas
# 50
Rem Koolhaas

1944 - Present (77 years)

#3683 person's overall influence

Remment Koolhaas is Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, an architect, architectural theorist and urbanist. He is also the founding partner of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and AMO, his research and design studio. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and Cornell University.