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 Earth Sciences, for the years 2000 – 2020

Naomi Oreskes
# 1
Naomi Oreskes

1958 - Present (63 years)

#2517 person's overall influence

Naomi Oreskes is a Professor of the History of Science, and an Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She earned a B.S. in mining geology from the Royal School of Mines of the Imperial College of London. She went on to earn a Ph.D in geological research and history of science from Stanford University. Her body of work has encompassed geology, scientific methods, climate change, plate tectonics and the history and philosophy of science.

Michael E. Mann
# 2
Michael E. Mann

1965 - Present (56 years)

#2378 person's overall influence

Michael E. Mann is the director of the Earth System Science Center for Pennsylvania State University, a climatologist, and geophysicist. He has earned an A.B. in applied mathematics and an A.B. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley, before earning an M.S. and M.Phil in physics, an M.Phil in geology, and a Ph.D in geology & geophysics from Yale University. His work has resulted in new techniques for recording and evaluating past climate data and how to distinguish between useful climate data and statistical noise.

Robert Hazen
# 3
Robert Hazen

1948 - Present (73 years)

#20823 person's overall influence

Robert Miller Hazen is an astrobiologist and mineralogist. He earned a B.S. and S.M. in earth science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D in mineralogy and crystallography from Harvard University. Hazen is currently the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University and the Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, a global research study of the impacts of carbon. He is also a research scientist for the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Earth and Planets Laboratory.

Christopher Jackson
# 4
Christopher Jackson

1977 - Present (44 years)

#34499 person's overall influence

Christopher Jackson is a professor of geology at Imperial College London. He earned a B.Sc and a Ph.D from the University of Manchester. Jackson’s work has focused on the evolution of sedimentary basins through stratigraphic, structural, and geodynamic forces. His revolutionary work has earned him a reputation as the leading interpreter of geological and seismic data of his generation.

Clive Oppenheimer
# 5
Clive Oppenheimer

1964 - Present (57 years)

#37486 person's overall influence

Clive Oppenheimer is a professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography. He earned a B.A. from University of Cambridge, where he studied their Natural Sciences Tripos, and a Ph.D from Open University. Oppenheimer has done substantial research work in Antarctica.

David Karoly
# 6
David Karoly

1955 - Present (66 years)

#14197 person's overall influence

David John Karoly is an Australian atmospheric scientist, currently based at CSIRO.

Keith Beven
# 7
Keith Beven

1950 - Present (71 years)

#49814 person's overall influence

Keith John Beven is a British hydrologist and distinguished Emeritus Professor in Hydrology at Lancaster University. According to Lancaster University he is the most highly cited hydrologist.

# 8
Ken Caldeira
#7767 person's overall influence

Kenneth Caldeira is an atmospheric scientist who works at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology. He researches ocean acidification, climate effects of trees, intentional climate modification, and interactions in the global carbon cycle/climate system. He also acted as an inventor for Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based invention and patent company headed up by Nathan Myhrvold.

Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir
# 9
Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir

1954 - Present (67 years)

#42204 person's overall influence

Krístin Vala Ragnarsdóttir was born in Iceland. She is Professor of Sustainability Science with the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Institute of Sustainability Studies at the University of Iceland. She also served as the University of Iceland’s Dean of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences from 2008 until 2012. Vala was the first woman to serve as Dean of a School at the University.

Piers Sellers
# 10
Piers Sellers

1955 - 2016 (61 years)

#13153 person's overall influence

Piers John Sellers OBE was a British-American meteorologist, NASA astronaut and Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA/GSFC. He was a veteran of three space shuttle missions. Sellers attended Cranbrook School, Cranbrook, Kent, United Kingdom, until 1973, and achieved a bachelor's degree in ecological science from the University of Edinburgh in 1976. In 1981 he gained a doctorate in biometeorology from the University of Leeds. In 2011, Sellers retired from the NASA Astronaut Corps.

R. Stephen J. Sparks
# 11
R. Stephen J. Sparks

1949 - Present (72 years)

#36116 person's overall influence

Sir Robert Stephen John Sparks is the Changing Wills Professor of Geology for the University of Bristol’s Department of Earth Sciences (where he has been since 1989) and one of the leading volcanologists in the world. Sparks earned a B.Sc and a Ph.D from Imperial College in London. His work on igneous petrology and volcanology has been cited more than 10,000 times, making him among the ISI’s Most Highly Cited Researchers. His research has included fluid mechanics, sedimentology, and geophysics and included risk assessment for environmental hazards such as seismic disturbances and volcanic flow...

# 12
Robert Kates

1929 - 2018 (89 years)

#53515 person's overall influence

Robert W. Kates was an American geographer and independent scholar in Trenton, Maine, and University Professor at Brown University.

# 13
Susan Kieffer

1942 - Present (79 years)

#58916 person's overall influence

Susan Elizabeth Werner Kieffer is an American physical geologist and planetary scientist. Kieffer is known for her work on the fluid dynamics of volcanoes, geysers, and rivers, and for her model of the thermodynamic properties of complex minerals. She has also contributed to the scientific understanding of meteorite impacts.

Kerry Emanuel
# 14
Kerry Emanuel

1955 - Present (66 years)

#10099 person's overall influence

Kerry Andrew Emanuel is an American professor of meteorology currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. In particular he has specialized in atmospheric convection and the mechanisms acting to intensify hurricaness. He was named one of the Time 100 influential people of 2006.

# 15
Timothy Ball

1938 - Present (83 years)

#43116 person's overall influence

Timothy Francis Ball is a Canadian public speaker and writer who was a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. Ball then became very active in promoting climate change denial, giving public talks and writing opinion pieces and letters to the editor for Canadian newspapers. He has been a member of energy industry funded lobbying groups, and wrote for the climate change denial website Tech Central Station.

Richard Alley
# 16
Richard Alley

1957 - Present (64 years)

#52243 person's overall influence

Richard Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University and among the most highly cited researchers in the world. He attended Ohio State University before earning a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Isabelle Daniel
# 17
Isabelle Daniel

1968 - Present (53 years)

#62499 person's overall influence

Isabelle Daniel is a mineralogist for the Claude Bernard University Lyon 1. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s in Earth sciences at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon and her Ph.D from Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1. She went on to also earn a master’s in geology from the University of Rennes. Her research has focused on mineral interactions under the most extreme conditions available and the extreme pressure or temperatures create conditions inhospitable for life. She also studies the biosignatures of early life in near impossible conditions.

# 18
Alan Nursall
#44482 person's overall influence

Alan Nursall is a Canadian scientist and television personality, who reports on science news for the Canadian television series Daily Planet and the Alan Nursall Experience on the Discovery Channel. He is head of the Telus World of Science - Edmonton.

Shekhar C. Mande
# 19
Shekhar C. Mande

1962 - Present (59 years)

#82379 person's overall influence

Shekhar C. Mande is a Structural and Computational Biologist. He did his M.Sc. in Physics from University of Nagpur. He holds Doctor of philosophy in Molecular Biophysics, from the Indian Institute of Science. Following his PhD, he joined Prof. Wim G. J. Hol as Post Doctoral Fellow at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands. Since 2001, he was senior staff scientist at Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics. Between September 2011 and September 2018 He served as director at National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, India. Currently he serves as the Director General of the Counc...

Joan Abella i Creus
# 20
Joan Abella i Creus

1968 - Present (53 years)

#150572 person's overall influence

Joan Abella i Creus is a Catalan gemmologist and mineralogist who discovered abellaite, a mineral that receives this name in his honor

Stuart Corbridge
# 21
Stuart Corbridge

1957 - Present (64 years)

#14535 person's overall influence

Stuart Edward Corbridge, FRGS is a British geographer and academic specialising in geopolitics, development studies, and India. Since September 2015, he has been Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University. From 2013 to 2015, he was Provost and Deputy Director of the London School of Economics. He was also Professor of Development Studies at LSE.

# 22
Wendy Larner

1963 - Present (58 years)

#27940 person's overall influence

Wendy Larner is a New Zealand social scientist who has focussed on the interdisciplinary areas of globalisation, governance and gender. She is currently Provost at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. In July 2018 she became the President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, taking over from Richard Bedford.

# 23
Gwenn Flowers
#115505 person's overall influence

Gwenn Elizabeth Flowers is a Canadian/American glaciologist. She is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Iceland. As a Canada Research Chair from 2005–2014, she established a research program dedicated to the geophysical study of glaciers.

# 24
Peter Doran

1950 - Present (71 years)

#31251 person's overall influence

Peter Doran, Ph.D. is Professor of Geology and Geophysics and John Franks Endowed Chair at Louisiana State University.

Nigel Thrift
# 25
Nigel Thrift

1949 - Present (72 years)

#20772 person's overall influence

Sir Nigel Thrift is the Executive Director of the Schwarzman Scholars and a noted geographer. Thrift studied geography at the University of Wales and earned a Ph.D from the University of Bristol. He has been influential in the fields of geography and economics, and is even credited with inventing the term soft capitalism.

Hans von Storch
# 26
Hans von Storch

1949 - Present (72 years)

#18384 person's overall influence

Hans von Storch is a German climate scientist. He is a Professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, and Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany. He is a member of the advisory boards of the journals Journal of Climate and Annals of Geophysics.

# 27
Ellen Mosley-Thompson

1952 - Present (69 years)

#70012 person's overall influence

Ellen Mosley-Thompson is a glaciologist and climatologist. She is a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University and Director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at OSU. She is known as a pioneer in the use of ice cores from the Polar Regions for paleoclimatic research and is an influential figure in climate science. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marcia McNutt
# 28
Marcia McNutt

1952 - Present (69 years)

#8440 person's overall influence

Marcia McNutt is the 22nd President of the United States’ National Academy of Sciences. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College and a Ph.D in earth sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Harold E. Brooks
# 29
Harold E. Brooks

1959 - Present (62 years)

#90175 person's overall influence

Harold Edward Brooks is an American meteorologist whose research is concentrated on severe convective storms and tornadoes, particularly severe weather climatology, as well as weather forecasting.

# 30
Jerry D. Mahlman

1940 - 2012 (72 years)

#52014 person's overall influence

Jerry Mahlman was an American meteorologist and climatologist.

Julie Arblaster
# 31
Julie Arblaster

1965 - Present (56 years)

#115878 person's overall influence

Julie Arblaster is a scientist and an associate professor at the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University. She earned a Bachelor of Technology in Atmospheric Science from Macquarie University and an M.Sc. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from the University of Colorado. She then went on to the University of Melbourne in Australia, where she earned her Ph.D. studying the drivers of southern hemisphere climate change.

# 32
Marek Grad

1951 - 2020 (69 years)

#105858 person's overall influence

Marek Andrzej Grad is a Polish geophysicist and seismologist, professor of Earth sciences. He works in the Department of Physics of Litosphere of the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Warsaw.

Thomas H. Jordan
# 33
Thomas H. Jordan

1948 - Present (73 years)

#34298 person's overall influence

Thomas H. Jordan is an American seismologist, and former director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at The University of Southern California. He was formerly the head of the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
# 34
Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
#57787 person's overall influence

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a soil biogeochemist and political ecologist. She is currently Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences; University of California, Merced. Her research group works to understand how soil helps regulate the earth's climate.

# 35
Ekhard Salje

1946 - Present (75 years)

#38369 person's overall influence

Ekhard Karl Hermann Salje, FRS is Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology and former Head of the Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University.

Paul Markowski
# 36
Paul Markowski
#95921 person's overall influence

Paul Markowski is a meteorologist and expert on tornadogenesis and forecasting. He earned a B.S. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

Ceridwen Fraser
# 37
Ceridwen Fraser

1979 - Present (42 years)

#152963 person's overall influence

Ceridwen Fraser is a research associate professor at the Department of Marine Science for the University of Otago (New Zealand). She conducted her undergraduate studies at the University of Canberra (paper conservation) and Macquarie University (marine science) and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Otago.

# 38
Margaret Bryan Davis

1931 - Present (90 years)

#36528 person's overall influence

Dr. Margaret Bryan Davis is an American palynologist and paleoecologist, who used pollen data to study the vegetation history of the past 21,000 years . She showed conclusively that temperate- and boreal-forest species migrated at different rates and in different directions while forming a changing mosaic of communities. Early in her career, she challenged the standard methods and prevailing interpretations of the data and fostered rigorous analysis in palynology. As a leading figure in ecology and paleoecology, she served as president of the Ecological Society of America and the American Qua

Matthew Zook
# 39
Matthew Zook
#30394 person's overall influence

Matthew Zook is an American geographer and professor in the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky. He studies the geography of the Internet, the GeoWeb, economic geography and domain names In 2009 Matthew Zook and Mark Graham cofounded the FloatingSheep blog to understand the interactions between the GeoWeb and the offline world. In 2011 Zook cofounded the New Mappings Collaboratory at the University of Kentucky to focus on public engagement in Lexington, 'big data' and user-generated Internet content, as well as the affordances of place-based thinking, analysis, and representatio...

Alexander Gerst
# 40
Alexander Gerst

1976 - Present (45 years)

#67318 person's overall influence

Alexander Gerst is a German European Space Agency astronaut and geophysicist, who was selected in 2009 to take part in space training. He was part of the International Space Station Expedition 40 and 41 from May to November 2014. Gerst returned to space on June 6, 2018, as part of Expedition 56/57. He was the Commander of the International Space Station. He returned to Earth on December 20, 2018. Since the end of his second mission, he holds the record for most time in space of any active ESA astronaut , succeeding Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who f...

Frankie MacDonald
# 41
Frankie MacDonald

1984 - Present (37 years)

#149185 person's overall influence

Frankie MacDonald is a Canadian amateur meteorologist from the Whitney Pier area of Sydney, Nova Scotia. MacDonald, who has autism, is known for his boisterous online weather forecasts. Frankie records meteorologist reports then he posts the videos to his YouTube channel , where they have received more than 32 million views. He also maintains a Twitter account and blog. Weather reports MacDonald has produced include warnings for his home province of Nova Scotia, a snowstorm in Winnipeg, heavy rainfall in Vancouver, a storm in Minnesota, New York, Australia, and Bermuda during Hurricane Gonzal...

Jesse Ausubel
# 42
Jesse Ausubel

1951 - Present (70 years)

#33257 person's overall influence

Jesse H. Ausubel is the Director of the Program for the Human Environment and Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University, chair of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, a former executive of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and an environmental scientist. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and two master’s degrees from Columbia University.

Kurt Lambeck
# 43
Kurt Lambeck

1941 - Present (80 years)

#57826 person's overall influence

Kurt Lambeck is Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University and former President of the Australian Academy of Science. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New South Wales and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

Cornelia Lüdecke
# 44
Cornelia Lüdecke

1954 - Present (67 years)

#92441 person's overall influence

Cornelia Lüdecke is a German polar researcher and author. A leading figure in the history of German polar research and the history of meteorology and oceanography, she founded the Expert Group on History of Antarctic Research within the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research , institutionalising historical study and reflection for the Antarctic scientific community. Her books, among others, about the Schwabenland Expedition to Antarctica during the Third Reich and Deutsche in der Antarktis are milestones in the history of polar research publications.

# 45
John Pickles

1952 - Present (69 years)

#48774 person's overall influence

John Pickles currently serves as the Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Pickles attended the University of Oxford, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Geography, with a minor in Geology, and a master's degree in Geography. He later earned doctorate degrees from the University of Natal, South Africa, and the Pennsylvania State University, United States. Pickles is a scholar in the areas of critical cartography, phenomenology, geography of media and communication and post-socialist s

Catherine Hickson
# 46
Catherine Hickson

1955 - Present (66 years)

#93626 person's overall influence

Catherine Hickson is a Canadian volcanologist, formerly with the Geological Survey of Canada, part of Natural Resources Canada. Since 2014, she has been the Chief Operating Officer for Dajin Resources Corp. and President, Tuya Terra Geo Corp. Hickson studied at the University of British Columbia and received her PhD in Geology and Volcanology in 1987.

# 47
Jon Claerbout

1937 - Present (84 years)

#70238 person's overall influence

Jon F. Claerbout is an American geophysicist and seismologist. He is the Cecil Green Professor Emeritus of Geophysics at Stanford University. Since the later half of the 20th century, he has been a leading researcher and pioneered the use of computers in processing and filtering seismic exploration data, eventually developing the field of time series analysis and seismic interferometry, modelling the propagation of seismic waves.

# 48
Éric Calais

1964 - Present (57 years)

#107986 person's overall influence

Éric Calais is a French geologist-geophysicist, born in 1964, internationally recognized practitioner of high-precision spatial geodesy and a pioneer in its applications to measure seismic deformations at the boundaries of tectonic plates and in their interiors.

Janine Krippner
# 49
Janine Krippner
#188375 person's overall influence

Janine Krippner is a physical volcanologist from New Zealand who uses remote sensing to study pyroclastic flows and is a popular science communicator.

# 50
Jan Veizer

1941 - Present (80 years)

#58742 person's overall influence

Ján Veizer is the Distinguished University Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa and Institute for Geology, Mineralogy und Geophysics, of Bochum Ruhr University. He held the NSERC/Noranda/CIFAR Industrial Chair in Earth System Isotope and Environmental Geochemistry until 2004. He is an award-winning isotope geochemist; his research interests have included the use of chemical and isotopic techniques in determining Earth's climatic and environmental history.