Top Ten List

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The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History By Michael H. Hart
Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Person Muhammad Isaac Newton Jesus Christ Buddha Confucius St. Paul Ts’ai Lun Johann Gutenberg Christopher Columbus Albert Einstein Louis Pasteur Galileo Galilei Aristotle Euclid Moses Charles Darwin Shih Huang Ti Augustus Caesar Nicolaus Copernicus Antoine Laurent Lavoisier Time Frame 570-632 1642-1727 c. 6BC-c. 30 563BC-483BC 551BC-479BC c. 4-c. 64 c. 105 1400-1468 1451-1506 1879-1955 1822-1895 1564-1642 384BC-322BC c. 300 BC 13th c. BC 1809-1882 259BC-210BC 63BC-14 1473-1543 1743-1794 Occupation Secular and religious leader Scientist Prophet; Spiritual leader Spiritual leader Philosopher; Teacher Christian apostle Political official in imperial China Inventor Explorer Scientist Chemist and biologist Scientist Philosopher and scientist Teacher Prophet Biologists Chinese Emperor Political leader Lawyer; Astronomer Scientist Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Prophet; Founder of Islam; Wrote the Koran Many scientific and mathematical inventions/theories Founder of Christianity Founder of Buddhism Created Confucianism His writings in the New Testament of the Bible Invented paper Inventor of printing (printing press) Discovery of the Americas led to world-wide exploration Theory of relativity Germ theory and preventive inoculation Developed the scientific method; Invented the telescope Wrote over 170 books on astronomy, zoology, geography, etc; Originated the study of formal logic Wrote Elements, greatest textbook on geometry Political figure who led the Hebrews in the Exodus from Egypt; Wrote five books of the Bible (the Jewish Torah); Encouraged the belief of monotheism (belief in one god) Originated the theory of organic evolution by means of natural selection United China by force of arms and instituted a set of sweeping reforms Founder of the Roman Empire Copernican Theory (First to assert the Earth revolves around the sun) Organized the system of chemical theory

Name 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Person Constantine the Great James Watt Michael Farday James Clerk Maxwell Martin Luther George Washington Karl Marx Orville Wright & Wilbur Wright Genghis Khan Adam Smith Edward de Vere (William Shakespeare) John Dalton Alexander the Great

TimeFrame c. 280-337 1736-1819 1791-1867 1831-1879 1483-1546 1732-1799 1818-1883 1871-1948 1867-1912 c. 1162-1227 1723-1790 1550-1604 1766-1844 356BC-323BC

Occupation Political leader Inventor Inventor Physicist Teacher and author Political leader Philosopher Inventors Emperor Philosopher Playwright and poet Scientist Political leader and conqueror General and Emperor 2

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List First Christian emperor of the Roman Empire Inventor of the first practical steam engine and key figure in the Industrial Revolution Invented the first electric motor; Discovered electromagnetic induction Developed a set of four equations that best express the basic laws of electricity and magnetism Chiefly responsible for the beginning of the Reformation period; The start of Protestantism Military leader and first president of the United States Principal originator of “scientific socialism”; His writings form the theoretical basis of Communism Invented the first airplane Ruthless leader who eventually ruled the largest empire in all of history Wrote The Wealth of Nations; Leading figure in the development of economic theory Wrote at least 36 plays (including Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Othello), 154 sonnets, and a few longer poems Introduced the atomic hypothesis into the mainstream of science Conquered and controlled vast amounts of land; Brought together Greek and Middle Eastern civilizations which resulted in cultural diffusion Great military leader; Authorized the sale of land to the USA (known as the Louisiana Purchase)


Napoleon Bonaparte


Number 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Person Thomas Edison Antony van Leeuwenhoek William T. G. Mortin Guglielmo Marconi Adolf Hitler Plato Oliver Cromwell Alexander Graham Bell Alexander Fleming John Locke

Time Frame 1847-1931 1632-1723 1819-1868 1874-1937 1889-1945 427BC-347BC 1599-1658 1847-1922 1881-1955 1632-1704

Occupation Inventor Government worker Dentist Inventor Political leader Philosopher Military leader Inventor Physician Philosopher


Ludwig Van Beethoven



46 47 48 49

Werner Heisenberg Louis Daguerre Simon Bolivar Rene Descartes

1901-1976 1787-1851 1783-1830 1596-1650

Physicist Inventor Political leader Philosopher, scientist, and mathematician

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Developed over 1,000 inventions including the phonograph and the practical incandescent light bulb Discovered microbes Introduced the use of anesthesia in surgery Invented the radio Leader of the Nazi party; Leader of Germany during WWII; Masterminded the Holocaust Wrote over 36 books (including the Republic); Considered one of the great fathers of Western thought Man most responsible for eventual establishment of parliamentary democracy as the English form of government Invented the telephone Discovered penicillin First writer to put together a coherent form of the basic ideas of constitutional democracy Wrote nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, five piano concertos, ten sonatas for the piano and violin, a series of magnificent string quartets, vocal music, theater music, and much more Played a significant role in the creation of quantum mechanics Developed the first practical method of photography Given the title, The Liberator; He led the liberation of five S. American countries from Spanish rule Invented analytic geometry


Number 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

Person Michelangelo Pope Urban II ‘Umar ibn al-Kattab Asoka St. Augustine William Harvey Ernest Rutherford John Calvin Gregor Mendel Max Planck Joseph Lister Nikolaus August Otto Fransisco Pizarro Hernando Cortes Thomas Jefferson

Time Frame 1475-1564 1042-1099 c. 586-644 c. 300BC-c. 232BC 354-430 1578-1657 1871-1937 1509-1564 1822-1884 1858-1947 1827-1912 1832-1891 c. 1475-1541 1485-1547 1743-1826

Occupation Artist Religious leader Religious leader Political leader Theologian Physician Physicist Theologian Monk and teacher Physicist Surgeon Inventor Adventurer and conqueror Adventurer and conqueror Political leader

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List His work (paintings, statues, drawings, etc.) profoundly influenced the development of European painting and sculpture Gave the order to start the First Christian Crusades After Muhammad, Umar was the principle figure in the spread of Islam Third ruler of the Mauryan dynasty and considered the most important monarch in the history of India His writings profoundly influenced Christian doctrines and attitudes throughout the Middle Ages Discovered the circulation of blood and the function of the heart Originated the study of nuclear physics Influential Protestant leader who developed Calvinism (importance of the Bible, dedication to hard work, etc.) Discovered the basic principles of heredity Generally considered to be the father of quantum mechanics (developed Planck’s theory) Introduced the use of antiseptic measures in surgery Built the first four-stroke internal combustion engine Conquered the Inca Empire of Peru Conquered the Aztec Empire of Mexico Third president of the United States; Author of the Declaration of Independence


Number 65 66 67

Person Queen Isabella I Joseph Stalin Julius Caesar

Time Frame 1451-1504 1879-1953 100BC-44Bc

Occupation Political ruler Political leader Military and political leader

68 69 70 71 72

William the Conqueror Sigmund Freud Edward Jenner William Conrad Rontgen Johann Sebastian Bach

c. 1027-1087 1856-1939 1749-1823 1845-1923 1685-1750

Monarch Psychologist Physician Scientist Composer

73 74 75 76 77

Lao Tzu Voltaire Johannes Kepler Enrico Fermi Leonhard Euler

4th c. BC 1694-1778 1571-1630 1901-1954 1707-1783

Author Historian and philosopher Astronomer Scientist Mathematician and physicist

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Financed Columbus’s voyage across the Atlantic Ocean; Instituted the Spanish Inquistion Ruthless dictator of the Soviet Union Played a significant role in the downfall of the Roman Republic; Under his leadership, Roman troops conquered Gaul which provided security for the Roman Empire Led the Norman conquest of England which resulted in the blend of the French and Anglo-Saxon cultures Originator of psychoanalysis Developed and popularized the technique of vaccination as a preventive measure against smallpox Developed the use of X-rays Considered to be one of the two or three composers of all time; First man to successfully combine the differing national styles of music which existed in Western Europe Wrote Tao Te Ching; This book is the basis for Taoism Wrote numerous books – most famous, Candide; Influenced political thought which ultimately resulted in the French Revolution Discovered the laws of planetary motion Designed the first nuclear reactor One of the most brilliant and prolific scientists of all time; Wrote 32 full length books concerning practical applications of laws of mechanics


Number 78 79 80

Person Jean-Jacques Rousseau Niccolo Machiavelli Thomas Mahus

Time Frame 1712-1778 1469-1527 1766-1834

Occupation Philosopher Political philosopher Parson (member of the clergy) and professor of history and political economy Political leader Biologist Prophet Political leader Emperor Explorer Military and political leader

81 82 83 84 85 86 87

John F. Kennedy Gregory Pincus Mani Lenin Sui Wen Ti Vasco de Gama Cyrus the Great

1917-1963 1903-1967 216-276 1870-1924 541-604 c. 1460-1524 c. 590BC529BC

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Major influence on educational theory; Important factor in the rise of Romanticism in literture Wrote the Prince – a book often called the “handbook for dictators” First person to stress the overwhelming importance of the problem of overpopulation and to bring this problem to the attention of the intellectual world President of the United States; The person who was primarily responsible for instituting the Apollo Space Program Led the way in the development of the oral contraceptive pill Founder of Manichaeism – a religion which, though extinct today, at its height had a very large number of follwers Leader principally responsible for the establishment of Communism in Russia Reunified China after it had been badly divided for hundreds of years; As a result, China continues on the path of a powerful nation Discovered the direct sea route from Europe to India by sailing around Africa Founder of the Persian Empire (united most of the ancient Middle East into a single state stretching from India to the Mediterranean Sea)


Number 88

Person Peter the Great

Time Frame 1672-1725

Occupation Political leader


Mao Zedong


Political leader

90 91 92 93

Francis Bacon Henry Ford Mencius Zoroaster

1561-1626 1863-1947 c. 371BC-c. 289BC c. 628BC-c. 551BC 1533-1603

Politician and philosopher Industrialist Philosopher Prophet


Queen Elizabeth I


95 96 97

Mikhail Gorbachev Menes Charlemagne

1931c. 3100 BC 742-814

Political leader Monarch Emperor

Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Generally acknowledged to be the most outstanding of the Russian czars (emperor); His policy of westernization was a major factor in the transformation of Russia into a great power Led the Communist party in China; Vastly transformed China politically, economically, socially, and culturally The first great philosopher to realize that science and technology could transform the world, and an effective advocate of scientific investigation Introduced the theory of mass production into modern industry Wrote, Book of Mencius; Immensely influential writer in China Founder of Zoroastrianism, a religion that has endured for over 2,500 years and still has followers today Her 45 year reign was marked by economic prosperity, a great literary flowering, and the rise of England to first rank among the world’s naval powers Soviet leader who led the decline and fall of the old Soviet regime and the democratization of the new Russia Original king of the first Egyptian dynasty; First ruler to unite Egypt Medieval emperor was the king of Franks, conqueror of Saxony, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, and one of the foremost rulers in European history


Number 98

Person Homer

Time Frame 8 c. BC?

Occupation Author


Justinian I

483-565 c. 599BC-c. 527BC


Reason(s) for Being Placed on the List Wrote the Iliad and Odyssey; Influenced Greek poets and playwrights Emperor renowned for the great codification of Roman law that was carried out during his reign; Later formed the basis for the development of the law in many European countries Founder of Jainism



Religious leader

Honorable Mentions and Interesting Misses
Abraham Archimedes Jeremy Bentham Nicolas Sadi Carnot Marie Curie Mary Baker Eddy Betty Friedan Henry VIII James Hutton Kemal Ataturk Gustav Kirchhoff Leonardo da Vinci Ferdinand Magellan Maria Montessori Blaise Pascal Pythagoras Erwin Schrodinger Sun Yat-sen Charles H. Townes Robert Watson-Watt Aesop Aristarchus of Samos Antoine Henri Becquerel Cheops (Khufu) Gottlieb Daimler Robert C. W. Ettinger Galen Henry the Navigator Ikhnaton John Maynard Keynes Kublai Khan Abraham Lincoln The Virgin Mary Samuel Morse Ivan Pavlov Ronald Reagan William B. Shockley William Henry Talbot Harry S. Truman Mary Wollstonecraft Howard H. Aiken Richard Arkwright Otto von Bismark Winston Churchhill Dante Alighieri George Fox Mohandas K. Gandhi Theodor Herzl Isaiah Har Gobind Khorana Georg W. F. Hegel Liu Pang Meijo Tenno Wolfgang Mozart Pablo Picasso Rembrandt Joseph Smith Tamurlane Alessandro Volta Frank Llody Wright Susan B. Anthony Neil Armstrong Niels Bohr Karl von Clausewitz King David Benjamin Franklin Karl Friedrich Gauss Hippocrates Joan of Arc Martin Luther King, Jr. Gottfried W. von Leibniz Louis XIV Dmitri Mendeleev Muawiya I Marco Polo Franklin D. Roosevelt Socrates Edward Teller Selman A. Waksman Boris Yeltsin St. Thomas Aquinas Charles Babbage Louis de Broglie Rudolf Clausius Democritus Frederick the Great Hammurabi Thomas Hobbes Immanuel Kant Alfred C. Kinsey Etienne Lenoir James Madison Montesquieu Gerard K. O’Neill Ptolemy Sankara Sophocles Henry David Thoreau James D. Watson Vladimir Zworykin


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