The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Men  

Mike Rothschild
4.4k votes 1.3k voters 68.5k views 33 items

List Rules Vote up the men who are the best at everything.

There's an easy way to become a renaissance man: become really good at a lot of things. Okay, maybe it's not that easy. But it can be done, judging by the names on this list of the most accomplished polymaths we're lucky enough to have with us today. They've become famous for their prowess in multiple fields, including the arts, science, mathematics, politics, and linguistics. They're inventors and poets, astronauts and authors, explorers and celebrities.

These are the true modern day renaissance men, the modern day incarnations of people like Leonardo da Vinci. For example, Queen guitarist Brian May is also an accomplished astronomer, physicist Douglas Hofstadter is also a renowned expert in technology and human consciousness, and former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a second career as a foreign policy expert and novelist.

If you want to know how to be a modern renaissance man, study the people on this list - then study a bunch of other things and uncover the secrets of the universe... or at least more than one field of Earth-bound science, art, or other area of expertise. Easy, right?!
Story Musgrave is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Men
Photo: NASA/Wiki Commons
1 423 VOTES

Franklin Story Musgrave is an American physician and a retired NASA astronaut. He is a public speaker and consultant to both Disney's Imagineering group and Applied Minds in California. In 1996 he became only the second astronaut to achieve the record of six spaceflights. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 83

Birthplace: Boston, USA, Massachusetts

Nationality: United States of America

Profession: Biophysicist, Public speaker, Physiologist, Astronaut, Computer scientist, + more

Schools: University of California, Los Angeles, St. Mark's School, Marietta College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, + more

Major/Field Of Study: Biophysics, Chemistry, Literature, Mathematics, Statistics, + more

Degree: Doctor of Medicine, Master of Science, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science, MBA, + more

Credits: Mission to Mars

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Brian May is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Men
Photo: Matthew Baker/Getty Images
2 390 VOTES

Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and astrophysicist who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. He uses a home-built electric guitar, called the Red Special. His compositions for the band include "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash", "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On". He was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2005 for "services to the music industry and for charity work". May attained a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College in 2007 and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 to 2013. He ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 71

Birthplace: Eurasia, London, United Kingdom, Hampton, London, + more

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

Profession: Astrophysicist, Record producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, + more

Schools: Imperial College London, University of London, Hampton School

Major/Field Of Study: Physics, Pure mathematics

Degree: Bachelor's degree

Credits: Ted, Moulin Rouge!, Flash Gordon, Step Brothers

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Bill Gates is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Men
Photo: Paolo Bona/Shutterstock
3 426 VOTES

William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. Gates originally established his reputation as the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company, with Paul Allen. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, and was also the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He has also authored and co-authored several books. Today he is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2014—excluding a few brief periods post-2008. Between 2009 and 2014 his wealth more than ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 63

Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Profession: Programmer, Software Architect, Businessperson, Investor, Entrepreneur

Schools: Lakeside School, Harvard College

Credits: The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires, Freakonomics, Give Us the Money, The Billionaires' Pledge

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Noam Chomsky is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Modern Day Renaissance Men
Photo: via Reddit
4 220 VOTES

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll. Born to a middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish family in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from relatives in New York ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 90

Birthplace: East Oak Lane, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Profession: Linguist, Cognitive scientist, Historian, Logician, Screenwriter, + more

Schools: University of Pennsylvania, Central High School

Major/Field Of Study: Linguistics

Degree: PhD, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts

Credits: L'encerclement - La démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Noam Chomsky: Distorted Morality, Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause

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