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The Greatest Minds of All Time

Updated August 28, 2018 731.6k votes 65.7k voters 1.6m views1.4k items

List RulesVote 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.
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    Leonardo da Vinci

    Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)
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    Isaac Newton

    Dec. at 84 (1643-1727)
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    Marie Curie

    Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)
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    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)
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  • 5
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    Galileo Galilei

    Dec. at 78 (1564-1642)
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  • 6
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    Albert Einstein

    Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)
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    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was...  more

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    Aristotle

    Dec. at 62 (383 BC-321 BC)
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    Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or...  more

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    Michael Faraday

    Dec. at 76 (1791-1867)
    Michael Faraday FRS (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist who...  more
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    1,310

    Alan Turing

    Dec. at 42 (1912-1954)
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    Michelangelo

    Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)
    Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian...  more

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    Nicolaus Copernicus

    Dec. at 70 (1473-1543)
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    Johannes Kepler

    Dec. at 59 (1571-1630)
    Johannes Kepler (; German: [joˈhanəs ˈkɛplɐ, -nɛs -]; December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630)...  more
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    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)
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    Wilhelm Röntgen

    Dec. at 78 (1845-1923)
    Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (; German: [ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈʁœntɡən]; 27 March 1845 – 10 February 1923) was a...  more
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    Carl Friedrich Gauss

    Dec. at 78 (1777-1855)
    Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (; German: Gauß [ˈkaɐ̯l ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs] (listen); Latin: Carolus...  more
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    Euclid (; Ancient Greek: Εὐκλείδης – Eukleídēs, pronounced [eu̯.kleː.dɛːs]; fl. 300 BC),...  more
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    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Dec. at 65 (1685-1750)
    Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and...  more

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    Max Planck

    Dec. at 89 (1858-1947)
    Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS (German: [ˈplaŋk]; English: ; 23 April 1858 – 4 October...  more
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    Johannes Gutenberg

    Dec. at 70 (1398-1468)
    Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; c. 1400 – February 3, 1468) was a German...  more
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    Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz

    Dec. at 70 (1646-1716)
    Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (sometimes spelled Leibnitz) (; German: [ˈɡɔtfʁiːt ˈvɪlhɛlm...  more
  • 25
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    René Descartes

    Dec. at 54 (1596-1650)
    René Descartes ( day-KART, also UK: DAY-kart, French: [ʁəne dekaʁt] (listen); Latinized:...  more