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.

# 1

Grigori Perelman

1966 - Present (55 years)

#3031 person's overall influence

Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician who is known for his contributions to the fields of geometric analysis, Riemannian geometry, and geometric topology.

# 2

Keith Devlin

1947 - Present (74 years)

#5525 person's overall influence

Devlin is formerly a Consulting Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University and now co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford’s Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute, founded in 2006. He is also a member of Stanford’s Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), an important research center for work in computational linguistics, computer science, and mathematics. Devlin received his bachelor’s (special) in mathematics at Kings College, London and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Bristol in 1971.

# 3

Terence Tao

1975 - Present (46 years)

#4092 person's overall influence

Tao is arguably the greatest living mathematician, and has been called the greatest mathematician of his generation. Born in South Australia, Tao was a child prodigy, the youngest person ever to win a medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad—he was ten. He has since won the Field Medal, the “Nobel Prize” for mathematicians. Terence Tao holds the James and Carol Collins Chair in Mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

# 4

Helaman Ferguson

1940 - Present (81 years)

#26600 person's overall influence

Helaman Rolfe Pratt Ferguson is an American sculptor and a digital artist, specifically an algorist. He is also well known for his development of the PSLQ algorithm, an integer relation detection algorithm.

# 5

Stephen Hawking

1942 - 2018 (76 years)

#134 person's overall influence

Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, England in 1942 and died in March of 2018. He attended University College, Oxford where he received a BA in physics. Within his first year as a PhD student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Hawking’s speech became difficult to understand and he started to have difficulty walking. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and predicted to only live another two years. Luckily his disease progressed much more slowly than anticipated. It’s a good thing, because he is widely considered one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. Hawking was Lucasian Professo...

# 6

Timothy Gowers

1963 - Present (58 years)

#12105 person's overall influence

Gowers is Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge, UK. He also holds the Rouse Ball Chair in Mathematics at Cambridge (Roger Penrose holds this Chair at the other granting institution, Oxford), and is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Gowers received his early training at King’s College and Eton, where he was a King’s Scholar. He received his Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1990.

# 7

Marcus du Sautoy

1965 - Present (56 years)

#13616 person's overall influence

Du Sautoy holds a Title of Distinction Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. (A “Title of Distinction” is an honor for faculty who have served with distinction. A “Chair” is an honor which is funded by an endowment. Oxford grants the “Title of Distinction” for full professors with distinguished records. It also grants Chairs.) Du Sautoy received a first class honors degree in Mathematics from Wadham College, Oxford as well as his Ph.D. in Mathematics, the latter awarded by Wadham in 1991.

# 8

Andrew Wiles

1953 - Present (68 years)

#3386 person's overall influence

Wiles is Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford. He became an overnight sensation when he proved one of the most famous conjectures in all of mathematics, known as Fermat’s Last Theorem, after the 17th century mathematician Pierre Fermat. Wiles received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Oxford and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. He spent a year at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study and then became Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. He has taught back and forth between Princeton and Oxford for much of his s...

# 9

Andrei Okounkov

1969 - Present (52 years)

#14407 person's overall influence

Okounkov is Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University, where he works on representation theory and its applications. Representation theory is a branch of mathematics concerned with abstract algebraic structures and their representation. It has applications to a number of disciplines, including geometry, physics, and probability theory.

# 10

William Thurston

1946 - 2012 (66 years)

#5974 person's overall influence

William Paul Thurston was an American mathematician. He was a pioneer in the field of low-dimensional topology. In 1982, he was awarded the Fields Medal for his contributions to the study of 3-manifolds. From 2003 until his death he was a professor of mathematics and computer science at Cornell University.

# 11

James Franklin

1953 - Present (68 years)

#16614 person's overall influence

James Franklin is an Australian philosopher, mathematician and historian of ideas.

# 12

Ian Stewart

1945 - Present (76 years)

#3005 person's overall influence

Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, England. Stewart received his bachelor’s of arts degree (first class) in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1966 and his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Warwick in 1969.

# 13

Vladimir Voevodsky

1966 - 2017 (51 years)

#22735 person's overall influence

Vladimir Alexandrovich Voevodsky was a Russian-American mathematician. His work in developing a homotopy theory for algebraic varieties and formulating motivic cohomology led to the award of a Fields Medal in 2002. He is also known for the proof of the Milnor conjecture and motivic Bloch–Kato conjectures and for the univalent foundations of mathematics and homotopy type theory.

# 14

Shing-Tung Yau

1949 - Present (72 years)

#2693 person's overall influence

Chinese-born Shing-Tung Yau currently holds the title of William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, where he has worked since 1987. He is also the director of three mathematical institutes in China, including the Yau Mathematical Sciences Center at Tsinghua University. Yau completed his undergraduate education in mathematics at Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1969, then his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 1971.

# 15

Alain Connes

1947 - Present (74 years)

#6501 person's overall influence

Connes is currently Professor at the Collège de France, IHÉS, in France, as well as at Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University. Connes’ work focuses on algebra, or what is known as “operator algebra,” an important area in functional analysis. Born in France, Connes received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from the prestigious École normale supérieure in Paris and his Ph.D. from the University Pierre et Marie Curie.

# 16

Eleanor Robson

1969 - Present (52 years)

#30134 person's overall influence

Eleanor Robson is a Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History at the Department of History, University College London, former chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq and a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

# 17

Edward Witten

1951 - Present (70 years)

#923 person's overall influence

Witten is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). He is known world-wide for his many important contributions to the mathematics of string theory and treatments of theoretical physics. Interestingly, Witten received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a minor in Linguistics at Brandeis University in 1971. After graduation, Witten wrote for The New Republic and The Nation, and even worked on George McGovern’s presidential campaign! He returned to college and studied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before dropping out, retur

# 18

Peter Sarnak

1953 - Present (68 years)

#23987 person's overall influence

Sarnak is a permanent faculty member in Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). The IAS is located on 1 Einstein Drive in Princeton, New Jersey, an address inspired by Albert Einstein’s famous tenure there in the early and mid-20th century. Some of the greatest mathematical minds in modern times have called the IAS home, like John Von Neumann of early computing fame. Sarnak is thus in good company, past and present. Sarnak is also the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University.

# 19

Richard S. Hamilton

1943 - Present (78 years)

#15336 person's overall influence

Richard Streit Hamilton is Davies Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University.

# 20

Roger Penrose

1931 - Present (90 years)

#635 person's overall influence

Sir Roger Penrose was born in Colchester, England in 1931. He is best known for his significant contributions to the mathematical physics of general relativity and cosmology. Penrose attended University College London where he earned his bachelor’s in mathematics. He received a PhD studying algebraic geometry at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1958. In his free time at Cambridge, he attended a few lectures led by Hermann Bondi and Paul Dirac, which lent some of his curiosity in the direction of physics. Penrose went on to become an innovator in the field of mathematical physics, and is now wid

# 21

Jeremy Gray

1947 - Present (74 years)

#40791 person's overall influence

Jeremy John Gray is an English mathematician primarily interested in the history of mathematics.

# 22

George Hart

1955 - Present (66 years)

#49347 person's overall influence

George William Hart is an American geometer. He is an interdepartmental research professor at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York and his work includes both academic and artistic approaches to mathematics.

# 23

Erik Demaine

1981 - Present (40 years)

#10008 person's overall influence

Demaine is a professor of computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His university education is extraordinary, because Demaine was a child prodigy. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Dalhousie University at age 14. By 20, he had completed his Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo. His dissertation on computational origami won Canada’s national prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in Canada in 2003.

# 24

Hilary Putnam

1926 - 2016 (90 years)

#708 person's overall influence

Hilary Whitehall Putnam was an American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist, and a major figure in analytic philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. He made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. Outside philosophy, Putnam contributed to mathematics and computer science. Together with Martin Davis he developed the Davis–Putnam algorithm for the Boolean satisfiability problem and he helped demonstrate the unsolvability of Hilbert's tenth problem.

# 25

Charles Fefferman

1949 - Present (72 years)

#7808 person's overall influence

Not alone in among any list of top mathematicians, Fefferman was a child prodigy. He received degrees in mathematics and physics at the University of Maryland at age 17. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at Princeton University in three years and by 22 he was full professor at the University of Chicago, the youngest full professor ever in the United States. At the ripe old age of 24, he returned to Princeton as full professor and has been there since. In 1984, he became Herbert Jones Professor of Mathematics at Princeton. Not surprisingly, the prodigy Fefferman won the Fields Medal in 1978.

# 26

Béla Bollobás

1943 - Present (78 years)

#18885 person's overall influence

Béla Bollobás FRS is a Hungarian-born British mathematician who has worked in various areas of mathematics, including functional analysis, combinatorics, graph theory, and percolation. He was strongly influenced by Paul Erdős since the age of 14.

# 27

Manjul Bhargava

1974 - Present (47 years)

#15728 person's overall influence

Bhargava is the R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. He also holds a professorship at Leiden University in the Netherlands and multiple faculty positions at universities in his home country of India. Bhargava’s specialty in mathematics is number theory, the core and historically “famous” study of the integers. Bhargava was born in Canada and raised in Long Island. His mother Mira Bhargava is a mathematician at Hofstra University, who he calls his first math teacher. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Harvard in 1996, and his Ph.D. from Princeton...

# 28

Penelope Maddy

1950 - Present (71 years)

#5485 person's overall influence

Penelope Maddy is UCI Distinguished Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science and of Mathematics at the University of California, Irvine. Maddy specializes and is known for her influential work in the philosophy of mathematics and mathematical realism. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1979.

# 29

Ingrid Daubechies

1954 - Present (67 years)

#9862 person's overall influence

Daubechies is the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University. Prior to Duke, Daubechies was William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University from 2004-2011. She was the first female full professor of mathematics at the Ivy League institution. Daubechies is one of the most widely cited mathematicians, and is world renowned for her work on the mathematics of image compression, known as wavelets (an area of relevance to computer science and other disciplines in addition to mathematics). From Belgium, Daubechies received her bachelor’s in physics at the Vrije Un

# 30

Barry Mazur

1937 - Present (84 years)

#21236 person's overall influence

Barry Mazur currently holds the title of Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, where he has worked as a professor since 1962. Prior to his long tenure at Harvard, Mazur held post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study. Mazur earned his PhD in Mathematics at Princeton University; though he attended MIT as an undergraduate, he did not complete a bachelor’s degree.

# 31

Bruce C. Berndt

1939 - Present (82 years)

#41724 person's overall influence

Berndt is the Michio Suzuki Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois. Berndt received his undergraduate degree from Albion College in Michigan in 1961. He received his master’s and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With the exception of a year as visiting professor at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and a one-year stint at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Berndt has enjoyed his long and stellar career teaching and researching mathematics at the University of Illinois.

# 32

Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov

1943 - Present (78 years)

#16879 person's overall influence

Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov currently holds the title of Jay Gould Professor of Mathematics at the New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies (IHÉS). Prior to his current position, Gromov taught at Stony Brook University, the University of Paris VI, and the University of Maryland. Born in Boksitogorsk, Russia, Gromov completed his master’s in mathematics at Leningrad State University in 1965, and his PhD in 1969.

# 33

George Andrews

1938 - Present (83 years)

#34877 person's overall influence

George Andrews currently holds the title of Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, where he has worked since 1964. He has also held professorial roles at institutions including MIT, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Waterloo, Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Florida. Andrews earned his BS and MA at Oregon State University by 1960, and completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.

# 34

Ivor Grattan-Guinness

1941 - 2014 (73 years)

#8723 person's overall influence

Ivor Owen Grattan-Guinness was a historian of mathematics and logic.

# 35

Michael Atiyah

1929 - 2019 (90 years)

#4672 person's overall influence

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah was a British-Lebanese mathematician specialising in geometry.

# 36

Ken Ono

1968 - Present (53 years)

#23046 person's overall influence

Ken Ono currently holds the title of Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia, and is also Vice President of the American Mathematical Society and Chair of the Mathematics Section in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, Ono held positions at University of Wisconsin–Madison and Emory University. Ono completed his BA at the University of Chicago in 1989, and his PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993.

# 37

Hamid Naderi Yeganeh

1990 - Present (31 years)

#60508 person's overall influence

Hamid Naderi Yeganeh is an Iranian mathematical artist and digital artist. He is known for using mathematical formulas to create drawings of real-life objects, intricate illustrations, animations, fractals and tessellations. Naderi Yeganeh uses mathematics as the main tool to create artworks. Therefore, his artworks can be totally described by mathematical concepts. His artwork 9,000 Ellipses was used as the background cover image of The American Mathematical Monthly – November 2017. His artwork Heart was used as the image for the February page of the 2019 Calendar of Mathematical Imagery pu

# 38

Stanislav Smirnov

1970 - Present (51 years)

#5839 person's overall influence

Stanislav Konstantinovich Smirnov is a Russian mathematician currently working at the University of Geneva. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010. His research involves complex analysis, dynamical systems and probability theory.

# 39

John Stillwell

1942 - Present (79 years)

#48883 person's overall influence

Born in Melbourne, Australia, John Stillwell holds the title of professor emeritus at the University of San Francisco. Though Stillwell came to USF in 2002, he spent the bulk of his career at Monash University in Melbourne from 1970-2001. Stillwell earned his PhD at MIT in 1970.

# 40

Andreas Schleicher

1964 - Present (57 years)

#6739 person's overall influence

Andreas Schleicher is a German-born statistician and researcher in the field of education. He is the Division Head and coordinator of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment and the OECD Indicators of Education Systems programme .

# 41

David Mumford

1937 - Present (84 years)

#6643 person's overall influence

David Bryant Mumford is an American mathematician known for distinguished work in algebraic geometry, and then for research into vision and pattern theory. He won the Fields Medal and was a MacArthur Fellow. In 2010 he was awarded the National Medal of Science. He is currently a University Professor Emeritus in the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University.

# 42

Jean-Pierre Serre

1926 - Present (95 years)

#5883 person's overall influence

Jean-Pierre Serre is a French mathematician who has made contributions to algebraic topology, algebraic geometry, and algebraic number theory. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1954, the Wolf Prize in 2000 and the inaugural Abel Prize in 2003.

# 43

Jonathan Borwein

1951 - 2016 (65 years)

#39360 person's overall influence

Jonathan Michael Borwein was a Scottish mathematician who held an appointment as Laureate Professor of mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He was a close associate of David H. Bailey, and they have been prominent public advocates of experimental mathematics.

# 44

Stephen Wolfram

1959 - Present (62 years)

#2529 person's overall influence

Stephen Wolfram is a British-American computer scientist, physicist, and businessman. He is known for his work in computer science, mathematics, and in theoretical physics. In 2012, he was named an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

# 45

Persi Diaconis

1945 - Present (76 years)

#14456 person's overall influence

Persi Warren Diaconis is an American mathematician of Greek descent and former professional magician. He is the Mary V. Sunseri Professor of Statistics and Mathematics at Stanford University.

# 46

Jordan Ellenberg

1971 - Present (50 years)

#45768 person's overall influence

Jordan Ellenberg currently holds the title of John D. MacArthur Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He previously taught at Princeton University, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). Ellenberg completed his BA in mathematics at Harvard University in 1993, and his PhD in mathematics at Harvard in 1998.

# 47

Maxim Kontsevich

1964 - Present (57 years)

#9582 person's overall influence

Kontsevich is Professor of Mathematics at the prestigious Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in France, as well as a distinguished professor at the University of Miami. Having dual Russian and French citizenship, Kontsevich studied at Moscow University before leaving before degree completion to take a position as a researcher at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow. His research there attracted the attention of the University of Bonn, where he was invited to attend. While there he sketched a proof of the famous Witten Conjecture, and was recognized as a true math

# 48

Peter Lax

1926 - Present (95 years)

#5960 person's overall influence

Hungarian-born Peter Lax currently holds the title of Professor Emeritus at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Lax began working at NYU in 1951; prior to that, he worked on the Manhattan Project.

# 49

Martin Hairer

1975 - Present (46 years)

#9878 person's overall influence

Sir Martin Hairer is currently a professor of mathematics and Chair in Probability and Stochastic Analysis at Imperial College London in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Mathematics. Previously, he held roles at the University of Warwick, and the Courant Institute of New York University. An Austrian Citizen born in Geneva, Switzerland, Hairer completed his BS in mathematics at the University of Geneva in 1994. He stayed there for his MS and PhD in physics, completed in 2001.

# 50

Freeman Dyson

1923 - 2020 (97 years)

#475 person's overall influence

Freeman John Dyson was a British-American theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician known for his works in quantum field theory, astrophysics, random matrices, mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and engineering. He was Professor Emeritus in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a member of the Board of Visitors of Ralston College, and a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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