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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 2010 – 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.

Bin He
# 4
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.

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.

Robert Samuel Langer, Jr.
# 6
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.

Dawn Bonfield
# 7
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.

Larry Page
# 8
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.

Fortunato de la Peña
# 9
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.

Chris Toumazou
# 10
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.

Eric Schmidt
# 11
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.

John Perkins
# 12
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.

Alan J. Heeger
# 13
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
# 14
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.

Frank Gehry
# 15
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.

Richard Stallman
# 16
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.

Tim Cook
# 17
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.

Moshe Kam
# 18
Moshe Kam

1955 - Present (66 years)

#23284 person's overall influence

Moshe Kam is Dean of the Newark College of Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and an engineering educator. He earned a B.S. in electrical and electronics engineering from Tel Aviv University. After serving his mandatory military service obligation in Israel, he earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Drexel University.

Subra Suresh
# 19
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.

L. Rafael Reif
# 20
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.

Ravi V. Bellamkonda
# 21
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.

Santiago Calatrava
# 22
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

Jamie Hyneman
# 23
Jamie Hyneman

1956 - Present (65 years)

#26642 person's overall influence

James Franklin Hyneman is an American special effects expert who is best known as the co-host of the television series MythBusters alongside Adam Savage. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters was filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry Blendo, which was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is the inventor of the Sentry, an unmanned firefighting robotic vehicle. He is also one of the designers of the aerial cable robotic camera system Wavecam used in sports and entertainment events.

John Warnock
# 24
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.

Rem Koolhaas
# 25
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.

Adam Savage
# 26
Adam Savage

1967 - Present (54 years)

#15355 person's overall influence

Adam Whitney Savage is an American special effects designer and fabricator, actor, educator, and television personality and producer, known as the former co-host of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters and Unchained Reaction. His model work has appeared in major films, including Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and The Matrix Reloaded. He is the host of the TV program, Savage Builds, which premiered on the Science Channel on June 14, 2019.

Ernő Rubik
# 27
Ernő Rubik

1944 - Present (77 years)

#22580 person's overall influence

Ernő Rubik is a Hungarian inventor, architect and professor of architecture. He is best known for the invention of mechanical puzzles including Rubik's Cube , Rubik's Magic, Rubik's Magic: Master Edition, and Rubik's Snake.

Tim Berners-Lee
# 28
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...

Benita Mehra
# 29
Benita Mehra
#38611 person's overall influence

Benita Mehra was born near London into a family of Indian immigrants. She is based in London, where she works as an engineer in the public and private sectors. Mehra obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering from City University London.

Carver Mead
# 30
Carver Mead

1934 - Present (87 years)

#7090 person's overall influence

Carver Mead is the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology. He earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology, where he also taught for more than 40 years.

Bilal M. Ayyub
# 31
Bilal M. Ayyub

1958 - Present (63 years)

#57105 person's overall influence

Bilal M. Ayyub is the president of BMA Engineering, Inc. and director of the Center for Technology and Systems Management and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned a B.S. in civil engineering from Kuwait University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Marcian Hoff
# 32
Marcian Hoff

1937 - Present (84 years)

#2224 person's overall influence

Marcian Edward "Ted" Hoff Jr. is one of the inventors of the microprocessor.

Irwin M. Jacobs
# 33
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.

# 34
Stanley Mazor

1941 - Present (80 years)

#3467 person's overall influence

Stanley Mazor is an American microelectronics engineer who was born on 22 October 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. He is one of the co-inventors of the world's first microprocessor architecture, the Intel 4004, together with Ted Hoff, Masatoshi Shima, and Federico Faggin.

Zaha Hadid
# 35
Zaha Hadid

1950 - 2016 (66 years)

#7100 person's overall influence

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

Dawn Childs
# 36
Dawn Childs

1970 - Present (51 years)

#42000 person's overall influence

Dawn Elizabeth Childs is a British engineer who has moved between several engineering disciplines including mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering and civil engineering. She has been the first woman engineer in several Officer posts in the Royal Air Force and the first female head of engineering at a major international airport. Childs has a track record of developing women within her organisation as well as working to bring more women and girls into the discipline. Childs is currently UK Change Director at National Grid plc.

Satya Nadella
# 37
Satya Nadella

1967 - Present (54 years)

#4882 person's overall influence

Satya Narayana Nadella is an Indian-American business executive. He is the chief executive officer of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014. Before becoming CEO, he was the executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms.

Masatoshi Shima
# 38
Masatoshi Shima

1943 - Present (78 years)

#1761 person's overall influence

is a Japanese electronics engineer. He was one of the architects of the world's first microprocessor, the Intel 4004. In 1968, Shima worked for Busicom in Japan, and did the logic design for a specialized CPU to be translated into three-chip custom chips. In 1969, he worked with Intel's Ted Hoff and Stanley Mazor to reduce the three-chip Busicom proposal into a one-chip architecture. In 1970, that architecture was transformed into a silicon chip, the Intel 4004, by Federico Faggin, with Shima's assistance in logic design.

Rashid Bashir
# 39
Rashid Bashir

1967 - Present (54 years)

#31403 person's overall influence

Rashid Bashir is the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering and Abel Bliss Professor of Bioengineering for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a B.S.E.E. from Texas Tech University, and an M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Paul G. Allen
# 40
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.

Moshe Safdie
# 41
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.

Federico Faggin
# 42
Federico Faggin

1941 - Present (80 years)

#1297 person's overall influence

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

Mung Chiang
# 43
Mung Chiang

1977 - Present (44 years)

#23329 person's overall influence

Mung Chiang is the Director of the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University, a technology entrepreneur, foreign policy expert, and engineering educator. He earned B.S. degrees in mathematics and engineering, an M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Zhong Lin Wang
# 44
Zhong Lin Wang

1961 - Present (60 years)

#45937 person's overall influence

Zhong Lin Wang is the Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering and Regents’ Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a materials scientist and engineer with a specialty in nanotechnology and energy science. He earned a B.S. in applied physics from Xidian University and a Ph.D. in physics from Arizona State University.

Richard Branson
# 45
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.

G. Madhavan Nair
# 46
G. Madhavan Nair

1943 - Present (78 years)

#8022 person's overall influence

G. Madhavan Nair was the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and Secretary to the Department of Space, Government of India. He has also been the Chairman of the Space Commission and Chairman of the Governing Body of the Antrix Corporation, Bangalore. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology Patna until he stepped down due to his involvement in a controversial deal relating to sale of radio spectrum bandwidth involving Antrix. He was subsequently barred from holding any government positions.

Michael Porter
# 47
Michael Porter

1947 - Present (74 years)

#1268 person's overall influence

Michael Eugene Porter is an American academic known for his theories on economics, business strategy, and social causes. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, and he was one of the founders of the consulting firm The Monitor Group and FSG, a social impact consultancy. He is credited for creating Porter's five forces analysis, which is instrumental in business strategy development today.

Andrew Viterbi
# 48
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.

Jean Nouvel
# 49
Jean Nouvel

1945 - Present (76 years)

#9437 person's overall influence

Jean Nouvel is a French architect. Nouvel studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture. He has obtained a number of prestigious distinctions over the course of his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture , the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008. A number of museums and architectural centres have presented retrospectives of his work.

Vint Cerf
# 50
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.