Throughout the history of humankind, we have witnessed lots of great thinkers and great minds from a variety of disciplines. The great thinkers of today would be the first to acknowledge that they are standing on the shoulders of the great minds that came before them.
Societies and civilizations have progressed to where we are today because of the work that these visionaries had as well as many others who followed in their footsteps. While numerous people could’ve made this list, we believe these are ten (10) of the greatest minds in all of history.
Originally born in Poland, Marie Curie was a physicist, a chemist, an inventor, and a philanthropist. Her family relocated to France to escape Russian control of their homeland. After achieving several major accomplishments during her lifetime, one of her most notable was the discovery of radium and polonium.
Madame Curie originally coined the phrase “radioactivity” and pursued it as a possible cure for cancer. She was also the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize for her work in physics and radioactivity.
And then she followed that achievement by becoming the first scientist to ever win a second Nobel Prize. Her second Nobel was for her work in chemistry as she discovered radium.
Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer during the Renaissance age. His works of art have had a tremendous influence on the development of Western art.
As with many great minds, his accomplishments were numerous. As a sculptor, his famous pieces known as the Pieta and David are still considered to be the most extraordinary pieces of work today.
Although he considered himself to be mostly a sculptor, his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are among the greatest pieces of art in all of history.
Archimedes of Syracuse was an ancient Greek mathematician, a physicist, an engineer, an inventor, and an astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is still considered one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity.
Archimedes was the first person to use applied mathematics for describing the physical world. For instance, he discovered and formulated the laws of levers and pulleys, which today allow us to move very heavy objects with smaller forces. He also discovered the law of buoyancy which allows huge metal ships to remain afloat in the oceans.
Archimedes was also the first to use exponents in mathematics to write and define larger numbers. Along with that he also defined most laws of exponents that are still used in mathematics today. He is probably most famous for inventing outrageous war machines that kept the Ancient Romans from capturing Syracuse for several years.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. He showed incredible ability from his earliest childhood. Already quite competent on keyboard and violin at the age of five, Mozart composed and performed before European royalty.
Incredibly he wrote his first symphony at age eight and went on to compose over 600 different works. Among them were symphonies, concertos, and operas. Most of these have been recognized as pinnacles of their genre.
Amazingly these great achievements were reached within his short life of just 35 years as he suffered an early death from kidney failure. Had he lived a normal lifespan, there is no telling how many more creations he would have shared with the world.
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, physicist, and futurist. He is well known for his design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.
Tesla gained experience in communications and electrical engineering before migrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. His accomplishments were many as he had close to 300 patents under his name in 26 different countries.
His most famous achievement was creating the alternating current induction motor. Tesla won the famous battle of electrical currents against Edison as his alternating current design is presently used today to power the cities of the world. Tesla also created the first remote control, the first x-ray, and helped create the first hydroelectric plant.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist who was born in Macedonia. Located on the northern edge of classical Greece, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens at the age of 18.
He studied there until the age of 37. Many of his writings led to the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy which includes views regarding morality, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.
This thought system became the supporting pillar for both Islamic and Christian philosophies. It is even said by many experts that Aristotle was possibly the last man to have known all the known possible fields in the world. These contributions in so many subjects have made Aristotle one of the most famous personalities of all time.
Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution during the Renaissance. He made significant improvements to the telescope which led to extraordinary astronomical observations.
Galileo has been called both the father of modern physics and the father of modern science. His achievements were quite numerous. To begin with, his observations of Venus proved that the Sun was the center of the universe and not the earth. He also discovered the four large moons of Jupiter.
Galileo invented the thermoscope which paved the way for the invention of the thermometer. He also invented a more precise military compass. And his Galilean Invariance laid the groundwork for both Newton’s laws of motion and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Sir Isaac Newton
Born in England, Sir Isaac Newton was a physicist and mathematician who is considered one of the most prominent scientists of all time. His book Principia laid the foundations for classical mechanics.
Newton’s three laws of motion have had more impact on science than any other piece of work. These laws led to the treatment of gravity as a universal force, led to the discovery of planets, and ultimately to space travel.
He also made huge developments in the field of mathematics as he discovered calculus which can solve many problems of science, economics, and engineering that algebra cannot. Newton also conducted groundbreaking work in the field of optics. He created the reflecting telescope, was the first to break light rays down to colors using a prism.
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. he perhaps contributed more than anyone in the development of our world his Annus Mirabilis papers, which were released in 1905, were the basis for modern physics and it changed views on space-time mass and energy.
His work provided empirical evidence of atomic theory as well as the existence of atoms and molecules. He also determined the size of molecules and verified Avogadro’s number.
Einstein proposed the theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity. He created the mass-energy equivalence through his famous equation. His debate was Niels Bohr led to quantum mechanics. Finally, Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
Leonardo De Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was the leading figure of the Italian Renaissance. It is hard to find anyone else in history who had more expertise across a wider variety of areas than Da Vinci.
He is credited with countless inventions and discoveries. For instance, he invented a tank 400 years before it became a reality. He designed the mechanical Knight which was known as Leonardo’s robot. He designed a precursor to the modern-day diving suit. And he also conceptualized the parachute, the helicopter, and landing gear before their time.
In anatomy, Da Vinci conducted the most detailed study of the human body ever conducted. Before the 20th century, his study led to several discoveries in the field of anatomy. In art, Da Vinci was considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time. He created perhaps the most famous painting in all of history known as the Mona Lisa.