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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.

About our data on gender

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

Jiankui He
# 1
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
# 2
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

Christopher J. Wiernicki
# 3
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.

Frank Gehry
# 4
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.

Rasmus Lerdorf
# 5
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.

Richard Stallman
# 6
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.

A. Q. Khan
# 7
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.

Steve Jobs
# 8
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.

Santiago Calatrava
# 9
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

Neil Armstrong
# 10
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.

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.
# 11
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.

Bin He
# 12
Bin He

1957 - Present (64 years)

#10065 person's overall influence

Bin He is a biomedical engineering scientist, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. He then earned an M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D in bioelectrical engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He then went on to conduct his postdoctoral study at Harvard-MIT’s Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Andrew Viterbi
# 13
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.

Tim Berners-Lee
# 14
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...

Larry Page
# 15
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.

Barry Boehm
# 16
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.

# 17
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.

Rem Koolhaas
# 18
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.

Padmasree Warrior
# 19
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.

# 20
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.

Alan J. Heeger
# 21
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.

Bill Nye
# 22
Bill Nye

1955 - Present (66 years)

#1415 person's overall influence

William Sanford Nye , popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science communicator, television presenter, and mechanical engineer. He is best known as the host of the PBS and syndicated children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy , the Netflix show Bill Nye Saves the World , and for his many subsequent appearances in popular media as a science educator.

K. Eric Drexler
# 23
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.

Eric Schmidt
# 24
Eric Schmidt

1955 - Present (66 years)

#790 person's overall influence

Eric Emerson Schmidt is an American businessman and software engineer. He is currently chair of the US Department of Defense's Defense Innovation Advisory Board. He is known for being the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, executive chairman of Google from 2011 to 2015, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. from 2015 to 2017, and Technical Advisor at Alphabet from 2017 to 2020. In 2017, Forbes ranked Schmidt as the 119th-richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of US$11.1 billion.

Subra Suresh
# 25
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.

# 26
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.

John Warnock
# 27
John Warnock

1940 - Present (81 years)

#4719 person's overall influence

John Edward Warnock is an American computer scientist and businessman best known as the co-founder of Adobe Systems Inc., the graphics and publishing software company. Warnock was President of Adobe for his first two years and chairman and CEO for his remaining sixteen years at the company. Although retired as CEO in 2000, he still co-chairs the board with Geschke. Warnock has pioneered the development of graphics, publishing, Web and electronic document technologies that have revolutionized the field of publishing and visual communications.

Zaha Hadid
# 28
Zaha Hadid

1950 - 2016 (66 years)

#7100 person's overall influence

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid was a British Iraqi architect from Baghdad, Iraq.

Paul G. Allen
# 29
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.

Irwin M. Jacobs
# 30
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.

Bill Joy
# 31
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.

Vint Cerf
# 32
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.

Tim Cook
# 33
Tim Cook

1960 - Present (61 years)

#2148 person's overall influence

Timothy Donald Cook is an American business executive, philanthropist and industrial engineer. Cook is the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., and previously served as the company's chief operating officer under its cofounder Steve Jobs.

John Perkins
# 34
John Perkins

1950 - Present (71 years)

#14974 person's overall influence

John Perkins is a retired engineering scientist, academic, and government adviser. He earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Imperial College London, and his Ph.D studies took place at Imperial College, the Salters’ Institute of Industrial Chemistry, and the University of Cambridge.

Chris Toumazou
# 35
Chris Toumazou

1961 - Present (60 years)

#20449 person's overall influence

Chris Toumazou is Chief Scientist of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Circuit Design at Imperial College London, Founder of Toumaz Holdings, Ltd., Chief Scientific Advisor to GENEU, Co-founder of DNAnudge, Executive chairman and Founder of DNA Electronics Ltd, and Imperial College London’s first Regius Professor of Engineering. He earned his undergraduate degree and doctorate from Oxford Polytechnic. He went on to become a Research Fellow and then, the youngest professor at Imperial College.

Ravi V. Bellamkonda
# 36
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.

Fortunato de la Peña
# 37
Fortunato de la Peña

1949 - Present (72 years)

#6886 person's overall influence

Fortunato "Boy" Tanseco de la Peña is a Filipino engineer and professor serving as the Secretary of Science and Technology in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte. Before he assumed leadership of the Department of Science and Technology , he was the Undersecretary for Science and Technology Services from 2001 to 2014. Except for his brief retirement from 2014 to 2016, he has been with the department since 1982.

Gordon Moore
# 38
Gordon Moore

1929 - Present (92 years)

#1474 person's overall influence

Gordon Earle Moore is an American businessman, engineer, and the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation. He is also the author of Moore's law. As of October 2019, Moore's net worth is reported to be $11.9 billion.

# 39
M.Y.S. Prasad

1953 - Present (68 years)

#11388 person's overall influence

M.Y.S. Prasad is an Indian scientist and the former director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre Sriharikota Range . He is currently serving as the Vice-Chancellor in India's one of the top private universities, Vignan's University located in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Richard Branson
# 40
Richard Branson

1950 - Present (71 years)

#645 person's overall influence

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, investor, author and former philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s, which controls more than 400 companies in various fields.

Samar Mubarakmand
# 41
Samar Mubarakmand

1942 - Present (79 years)

#5681 person's overall influence

Samar Mubarakmand , is a Pakistani nuclear physicist known for his research in gamma spectroscopy and experimental development of the linear accelerator.

Donald Knuth
# 42
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...

# 43
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.

L. Rafael Reif
# 44
L. Rafael Reif

1950 - Present (71 years)

#1616 person's overall influence

Leo Rafael Reif is the current president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an electrical engineer. He studied electrical engineering at the Universidad de Carabobo before earning a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Moshe Safdie
# 45
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 Grove
# 46
Andrew Grove

1936 - 2016 (80 years)

#8073 person's overall influence

Andrew Stephen Grove was a Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer, author and a pioneer in the semiconductor industry. He escaped from Communist-controlled Hungary at the age of 20 and moved to the United States, where he finished his education. He was the third employee and eventual third CEO of Intel, helping transform the company into the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors.

# 47
M. Elizabeth Cannon
#17178 person's overall influence

Elizabeth Cannon is a Canadian engineer specializing in geomatics engineering and president Emerita of the University of Calgary. From 2010 to 2018, she served as the university's eighth president and vice-chancellor, the first alumna to hold that position.

Dawn Bonfield
# 48
Dawn Bonfield
#23672 person's overall influence

Dawn Bonfield currently holds the titles of Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Inclusive Engineering at Aston University, as well as Director of Engineering Equality Diversity and Inclusion at Aston University. Bonfield is also a past president and chief executive of the Women’s Engineering Society.

Daniel A. Vallero
# 49
Daniel A. Vallero

1953 - Present (68 years)

#38250 person's overall influence

Daniel A. Vallero is an American environmental author and scientist. He was born in East St. Louis, Illinois and grew up in Collinsville, Illinois. He received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in city and regional planning from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He also earned a masters in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Kansas and a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University with a thesis on "“Dicarboximide Fungicide Flux to the Lower Troposphere from an Aquic Hapludult Soil”

Buzz Aldrin
# 50
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.