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Who are the most influential thinkers in world?

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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.

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List of the most influential people in Chemistry, for the years 2000 – 2020

Paul Anastas
# 1
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.

Carolyn Bertozzi
# 2
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.

Kyriakos Costa Nicolaou
# 3
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.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage
# 4
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.

Robert Curl
# 5
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.

George M. Whitesides
# 6
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.

Karl Barry Sharpless
# 7
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.

Eric Scerri
# 8
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.

Fraser Stoddart
# 9
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.

Harry B. Gray
# 10
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.

Ada Yonath
# 11
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.

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
# 12
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.

Robert H. Grubbs
# 13
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.

Jean-Marie Lehn
# 14
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.

Omar M. Yaghi
# 15
Omar M. Yaghi

1965 - Present (56 years)

#33892 person's overall influence

Yaghi is the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Yaghi received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the State University of New York-Albany in 1985, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1990. He was then a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University for two years, working with the chemist Richard Holm.

Charles M. Lieber
# 16
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.

Roald Hoffmann
# 17
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.

Nigel Scrutton
# 18
Nigel Scrutton
#22278 person's overall influence

Nigel Shaun Scrutton is a British biochemist and biotechnology innovator known for his work on enzyme catalysis, biophysics and synthetic biology. He is Director of the UK Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, Director of the Fine and Speciality Chemicals Synthetic Biology Research Centre , and Co-founder and Director of the 'fuels-from-biology' company C3 Biotechnologies Ltd. He is Professor of Enzymology and Biophysical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester. He is former Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology .

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.

Richard Smalley
# 20
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.

Sumio Iijima
# 21
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.

Kendall Houk
# 22
Kendall Houk

1943 - Present (78 years)

#43427 person's overall influence

Kendall Newcomb Houk is the Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research group studies organic, organometallic, and biological reactions using the tools of computational chemistry. This work involves quantum mechanical calculations, often with density functional theory, and molecular dynamics, either quantum dynamics for small systems or force fields such as AMBER, for solution and protein simulations.

# 23
Jan-Olov Liljenzin

1936 - 2019 (83 years)

#22149 person's overall influence

Jan-Olov Liljenzin was a Swedish chemist and professor in nuclear chemistry.

Ben Feringa
# 24
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.

Harry Kroto
# 25
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.

# 26
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.

Ryōji Noyori
# 27
Ryōji Noyori

1938 - Present (83 years)

#26277 person's overall influence

is a Japanese chemist. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001, Noyori shared a half of the prize with William S. Knowles for the study of chirally catalyzed hydrogenations; the second half of the prize went to K. Barry Sharpless for his study in chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions .

John Warner
# 28
John Warner

1962 - Present (59 years)

#10177 person's overall influence

John Charles Warner is an American chemist, educator, and entrepreneur, best known as one of the founders of the field of green chemistry. Warner worked in industry for nearly a decade as a researcher at Polaroid Corporation, before moving to academia where he worked in various positions at University of Massachusetts Boston and Lowell. Warner is Co-founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer at the Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, as well as Co-Founder and President of Beyond Benign. He is the recipient of the 2014 Perkin Medal, widely acknowledged as the highest honor in A...

Ronald Breslow
# 29
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.

# 30
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 .

Martyn Poliakoff
# 31
Martyn Poliakoff

1947 - Present (74 years)

#52418 person's overall influence

Martyn Poliakoff is a research professor in the chemistry department at the University of Nottingham. He attended Westminster School before earning a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from King’s College in Cambridge.

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.

Gerhard Ertl
# 33
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.

Robert Bergman
# 34
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.

Allen J. Bard
# 35
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.

Alexander Shulgin
# 36
Alexander Shulgin

1925 - 2014 (89 years)

#9044 person's overall influence

Alexander Theodore Shulgin was an American medicinal chemist, biochemist, organic chemist, pharmacologist, psychopharmacologist, and author. He is credited with introducing MDMA to psychologists in the late 1970s for psychopharmaceutical use and for the discovery, synthesis and personal bioassay of over 230 psychoactive compounds for their psychedelic and entactogenic potential.

Itamar Willner
# 37
Itamar Willner

1947 - Present (74 years)

#67235 person's overall influence

Itamar Willner is a Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a chemist. He earned his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Paul Alivisatos
# 38
Paul Alivisatos

1959 - Present (62 years)

#21608 person's overall influence

Paul Alivisatos is an American scientist of Greek descent who has been hailed as a pioneer in nanomaterials development, and is an internationally recognized authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals and their use in biomedical and renewable energy applications. He is ranked fifth among the world's 100 top chemists in the list released by Thomson Reuters. In 2009, he was named the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and in 2014 he was named a laureate for the National Medal of Science. In 2016 he was named U.C. Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research. As of July 1, 2017, ...

John F. Hartwig
# 39
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.

# 40
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.

David P. Mills
# 41
David P. Mills
#71551 person's overall influence

David Paul Mills is a British chemist and a reader in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Manchester. His research typically investigates the chemistry of the lanthanide and actinide f-block elements. This is generally based on the synthesis of new f-block complexes, structural and bonding properties and their uses in different fields including in nuclear fuel cycles, energy and single molecule magnets.

George C. Schatz
# 42
George C. Schatz

1949 - Present (72 years)

#67175 person's overall influence

George C. Schatz is a theoretical chemist, editor-in-chief at the Journal of Physical Chemistry, and the Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. He earned his B.S. from Clarkson University and his Ph.D. from Caltech. He completed his post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, investigating chemical reaction kinetics.

# 43
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.

Lesley Yellowlees
# 44
Lesley Yellowlees

1953 - Present (68 years)

#63011 person's overall influence

Yellowlees is Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She is the first woman elected to head of chemistry at Edinburgh. She is also Head of the College of Science and Engineering. Yellowlees received her bachelor’s degree (BsC) in Chemical Physics at the University of Edinburgh in 1975, and finished her Ph.D. in Inorganic Electrochemistry at Edinburgh in 1982.

Jwalshik Wilford
# 45
Jwalshik Wilford

1968 - Present (53 years)

#52103 person's overall influence

Jwalshik Wilford is a professional Nigerian chemist. He is the third substantive Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria ; a parastatal of Federal Ministry of Health that regulates the teaching, learning and standard best practice of the Chemistry profession in Nigeria. As a professional, his major focus is the repositioning and projecting of the Chemistry profession to promote the role of chemists in addressing global challenges. Before his appointment on 1 June 2018, he was a Deputy Director of the Federal Capital Territory Water Board where he

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski
# 46
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski

1950 - Present (71 years)

#39806 person's overall influence

Krzysztof "Kris" Matyjaszewski is a Polish-American chemist. He is the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences at the Carnegie Mellon University Matyjaszewski is best known for the discovery of atom transfer radical polymerization , a novel method of polymer synthesis that has revolutionized the way macromolecules are made. In 2011 he was a co-winner of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

Martin Karplus
# 47
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.

# 48
Nicholas Turner
#28577 person's overall influence

Nicholas John Turner is a British chemist and a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Manchester. His research in general is based on biochemistry and organic chemistry, specifically on biotechnology, cell biology, biocatalysis and organic synthesis.

# 49
Stephen Liddle
#108699 person's overall influence

Stephen T. Liddle FRSC is a British professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Manchester. He is Head of Inorganic Chemistry and Co-Director of the Centre for Radiochemistry Research at the University of Manchester since 2015.

Tobin J. Marks
# 50
Tobin J. Marks

1944 - Present (77 years)

#26955 person's overall influence

Tobin J. Marks is the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry and a Professor of Material Science and Engineering at the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. He earned his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.