da vinci
da vinci

Have you ever wondered who the brightest minds in our world are? From the enigmatic figures of history to the modern-day geniuses shaping our future, the quest to identify the smartest individuals is as fascinating as it is challenging. Here’s the 10 smartest people of all time based on a consensus of historical records, achievements, and findings:

RankNameEraField(s) of ExpertiseAchievements
1Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)RenaissancePolymathPainter, sculptor, architect, inventor, anatomist, botanist, geologist, cartographer, and writer; known for his Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, and flying machine designs.
2Hypatia (355-415)Late AntiquityMathematics, PhilosophyPioneered mathematical and astronomical concepts, taught philosophy in Alexandria, challenged societal norms by being a female scholar.
3Isaac Newton (1643-1727)Scientific RevolutionPhysics, Mathematics, AstronomyFormulated laws of motion and universal gravitation, developed calculus, discovered composition of white light, laid foundation for modern physics.
4Marie Curie (1867-1934)Modern SciencePhysics, ChemistryPioneered research on radioactivity, discovered and named polonium and radium, first woman to win Nobel Prizes (Physics and Chemistry).
5Albert Einstein (1879-1955)Modern SciencePhysicsDeveloped theory of relativity, explained photoelectric effect, explored Brownian motion, revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and gravity.
6Alan Turing (1912-1954)Modern ScienceMathematics, Computer Science, Artificial IntelligencePioneered computer science and artificial intelligence, cracked Enigma code during World War II, laid foundation for theoretical computer science.
7Rosalyn Yalow (1921-2011)Modern ScienceMedicine, PhysicsDeveloped radioimmunoassay technique, revolutionized medical research and diagnosis, first woman to win Nobel Prize in Medicine.
8Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)Modern SciencePhysics, CosmologyStudied black holes, proposed Hawking radiation, popularized science through books and appearances, despite living with ALS.
9Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)20th CenturyPolitics, LawAnti-apartheid leader, first black president of South Africa, fought for racial equality and justice, Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
10Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)19th CenturyMathematics, Computer ScienceConsidered the first computer programmer, wrote algorithms for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, envisioned future applications of computing.

Note: This list is not exhaustive and represents a diverse range of individuals from different fields and eras. Other worthy figures could be included, and the specific order is not meant to imply a definitive ranking of intelligence.


The Legacy of Historical Geniuses

Isaac Newton: The Gravity of Genius

Isaac Newton, a name synonymous with the laws of motion and universal gravitation, revolutionized our understanding of the physical world. His work laid the foundation for classical mechanics, making him a pillar in the world of science.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Renaissance Man

Leonardo da Vinci, known for the iconic “Mona Lisa,” was more than an artist. His notebooks reveal a mind curious about anatomy, engineering, and flight, making him a true polymath of the Renaissance era.

Modern Marvels of Intelligence

Stephen Hawking: A Cosmic Enigma

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, a name that resonates with resilience and brilliance, made complex cosmology accessible to the masses. His insights into black holes and the nature of the universe have left an indelible mark on science.

Top 10 Smartest People Living Today (2024)

RankNameField(s) of ExpertiseAchievements
1Terence TaoMathematicianFields Medal recipient, groundbreaking contributions to number theory, harmonic analysis, and mathematical physics.
2Marilyn vos SavantWriter and ColumnistGuinness World Record for highest IQ (1986-1990), “Ask Marilyn” column answering readers’ questions with wit and intellectual insight.
3Noam ChomskyLinguist and PhilosopherRevolutionized understanding of language acquisition and human cognition, influential theories on generative grammar.
4Emmanuelle CharpentierBiochemistCo-invented CRISPR gene editing technology, revolutionized biomedical research and potential future therapeutic applications.
5Elon MuskEntrepreneur and EngineerVisionary leader of Tesla and SpaceX, pushing boundaries of technology and space exploration.
6Malala YousafzaiEducation ActivistYoungest Nobel laureate, advocates for girls’ education worldwide, inspiring millions with courage and determination.
7Greta ThunbergClimate ActivistMobilized millions through passionate calls for action against climate change, sparking global movements.
8Yuval Noah HarariHistorian and PhilosopherExplores past and present of humanity in books like “Sapiens”, sparks thought-provoking conversations about future and impact of technology and AI.
9Edward SnowdenComputer Scientist and WhistleblowerExposed classified information about mass surveillance programs, sparking global debates about privacy and government overreach.
10Timnit GebruComputer ScientistLeading researcher in algorithmic bias and fairness, advocates for responsible development and deployment of AI, challenges biases and pushes for inclusivity.

Remember, this list is by no means exhaustive and represents a diverse selection of individuals across various fields. Focusing on achievements and contributions provides a more meaningful and inclusive appreciation of intelligence than solely relying on rankings. Let’s celebrate the diverse ways brilliance manifests and the positive impact these individuals have on our world.

Terence Tao: The Mathematician’s Mathematician

Terence Tao, with an astonishing IQ of 230, is a living legend in mathematics. His contributions to number theory and his ability to solve complex mathematical puzzles place him in a league of his own.

Unsung Heroes of Intellect

Judit Polgar: Queen of the Chess World

Judit Polgar, a chess grandmaster, shattered ceilings in a male-dominated arena. Her strategic prowess and ability to outmaneuver the best in the game earn her a spot among the intellectually elite.

Kim Ung-Yong: A Prodigy’s Journey

Kim Ung-Yong, with an IQ of 210, astounded the world as a child prodigy. His early mastery of languages and mathematics showcases the incredible potential of the human mind.

Pioneers in Science and Technology

Marie Curie: Radiating Brilliance

Marie Curie, a trailblazer in radioactivity, broke barriers as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Her relentless pursuit of scientific knowledge paved the way for future generations of female scientists.

Alan Turing: The Architect of Modern Computing

Alan Turing
Alan Turing

Alan Turing’s work during World War II and his development of the Turing machine laid the groundwork for modern computing. His legacy is a testament to the profound impact one individual can have on technology and society.

The Philosophers and Thinkers

Noam Chomsky: The Voice of Modern Linguistics

Noam Chomsky, a towering figure in linguistics, has influenced a wide range of fields from psychology to political science. His theories on language and mind continue to provoke thought and debate.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: A Calculated Mind

Leibniz, co-inventor of calculus, was a polymath who contributed significantly to philosophy, mathematics, and science. His work laid the foundations for much of our modern scientific and philosophical thought.

Summary of Facts

  • Isaac Newton revolutionized physics and mathematics.
  • Leonardo da Vinci was a master artist and an inventive genius.
  • Stephen Hawking made groundbreaking contributions to cosmology.
  • Terence Tao is renowned for his extraordinary mathematical abilities.
  • Judit Polgar dominated the chess world with her strategic brilliance.
  • Kim Ung-Yong displayed exceptional intellectual abilities from a young age.
  • Marie Curie pioneered research in radioactivity.
  • Alan Turing laid the foundations for modern computing.
  • Noam Chomsky has been influential in linguistics and cognitive science.
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz made significant contributions across multiple disciplines.


Who is considered the smartest person in history?

While it’s difficult to quantify intelligence, figures like Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci are often cited for their groundbreaking contributions to science and art.

Are there any modern people who could be among the smartest in the world?

Yes, individuals like Terence Tao and Stephen Hawking (now decesased) are often mentioned due to their extraordinary intellectual achievements in their respective fields.

How do we measure intelligence in historical figures?

Intelligence in historical figures is often measured by their contributions to their fields, the lasting impact of their work, and their ability to solve complex problems or create new ways of thinking.

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