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The Greatest Minds of All Time 

Walter Graves
Originally by
Updated August 28, 2018 777.9k votes 61.5k voters 1.5M views 1,471 items

List Rules Vote up the individuals who you think had the most influential ideas throughout history.

List of the Greatest Minds of All Time, throughout history. This list represents the most influential thinkers across various disciplines, ranked in a way that represents the power of their ideas and their impact on the world. The wisest men and women include top philosophers, physicists, famous poets, thinkers, teachers, physiologists, artists, inventors, engineers, the most irreplaceable CEOs in the world, economists and politicians and those whose talents span across many fields of study.

This list takes a historic perspective, so the greatest thinkers who are included on this list come from many different eras. The greatest minds of the 21st century may be quite different from great geniuses from the distant past, but each person should be judged within the context of the time that they were living. For example, inventing a new type of telephone in 2013 would not qualify one as "the most brilliant mind of all time," but in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell first patented the telephone, it was an act of genius not seen before.

See Also: The Most Influential People of All Time.
list ordered by
1
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)

Birthplace: Europe, Vinci, Eurasia, Italy, Southern Europe, + more

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is ...more

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2
Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1643-1727)

Birthplace: Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, United Kingdom

Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") ...more

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3
Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1564-1642)

Birthplace: Pisa, Italy

Galileo Galilei ( GAL-il-AY-oh, also US: -⁠EE-oh, Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath ...more

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4
Socrates is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time

Birthplace: Classical Athens

Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western ...more

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5
Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 62 (383 BC-321 BC)

Birthplace: Stagira, Greece

Aristotle (; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum ...more

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6
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

Birthplace: Ulm, Germany

Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the ...more

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7
Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time

Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy

Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is ...more

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8
Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

Birthplace: Smiljan, Eurasia, Croatia

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9
Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)

Birthplace: Warsaw, Second Polish Republic

Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who ...more

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10
Plato is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time

Birthplace: Classical Athens

Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in ...more

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11
Pythagoras is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time

Birthplace: Samos, Greece

Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna ...more

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12
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)

Birthplace: Europe, Eurasia, Province of Arezzo, Italy, Southern Europe, + more

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled ...more

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13
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

Birthplace: Bonn, Germany

Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the ...more

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14
Johann Sebastian Bach is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 65 (1685-1750)

Birthplace: Eisenach, Germany

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, ...more

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15
Nicolaus Copernicus is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1473-1543)

Birthplace: Toruń, Second Polish Republic

Nicolaus Copernicus (; Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik; German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; Niklas Koppernigk; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer, who ...more

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16
Johannes Kepler is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 59 (1571-1630)

Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany

Johannes Kepler (; German: [joˈhanəs ˈkɛplɐ, -nɛs -]; December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer. He is a key figure in the 17th-century ...more

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17
Max Planck is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Polar Bear added Dec. at 89 (1858-1947)

Birthplace: Kiel, Germany

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS (German: [ˈplaŋk]; English: ; 23 April 1858 – 4 October 1947) was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize ...more

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18
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 35 (1756-1791)

Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. Born in ...more

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19
Alan Turing is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
speroe added Dec. at 42 (1912-1954)

Birthplace: Maida Vale, London, United Kingdom

Alan Mathison Turing (; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential ...more

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20
Charles Darwin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1809-1882)

Birthplace: The Mount, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

Charles Robert Darwin, (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that ...more

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21
Carl Friedrich Gauss is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1777-1855)

Birthplace: Braunschweig, Germany

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (; German: Gauß [ˈkaɐ̯l ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs] (listen); Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss; (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and ...more

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22
Michael Faraday is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 76 (1791-1867)

Birthplace: Newington Butts, United Kingdom

Michael Faraday FRS (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the ...more

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23
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1706-1790)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, ...more

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24
Hippocrates is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 83 (459 BC-376 BC)

Birthplace: Kos, Greece

Hippocrates of Kos (; Greek: Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος, translit. Hippokrátēs ho Kṓos; c. 460 – c. 370 BC), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles (Classical ...more

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25
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Minds of All Time
Dec. at 56 (1844-1900)

Birthplace: Röcken, Germany

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (, German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə] (listen) or [- ˈniːtsʃə]; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, ...more

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