Famous 21st Century Biologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Biologists

 1 Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
10
Famous As: Evolutionary Biologist
Birthdate: March 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya

Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, author, and evolutionary biologist. He first achieved popularity after publishing his book, The Selfish Gene, which is credited with popularizing the gene selection theory. The book is also credited with introducing the term meme. In 2006, he established the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to promote secularism and scientific literacy.

 2 E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson
4
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: June 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died: December 26, 2021

E. O. Wilson is an American naturalist, biologist, and writer. An influential biologist, Wilson has earned several nicknames, such as The Darwin of the 21st century. He has also been referred to as the father of biodiversity and the father of sociobiology. In 1995, he was ranked among the most influential American personalities by Time magazine.

 3 David Attenborough

David Attenborough
4
Famous As: Broadcaster
Birthdate: May 8, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Isleworth, England

Widely regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom, Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received BAFTAs for TV shows meant for different television sets, such as black and white, color, 3D, HD, and 4K. In 2002, he was mentioned in BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

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 4 Terri Irwin

Terri Irwin
8
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: July 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Eugene, Oregon, United States

American–Australian naturalist Terri Irwin is best known as the co-host of The Crocodile Hunter, along with her husband, the late animal expert Steve Irwin. She has also been part of shows such as Croc Files and Crikey! It's the Irwins, and helped in the development of Australia Zoo.

 5 Craig Venter

Craig Venter
4
Famous As: Biotechnologist known for leading the first draft sequence of the human genomeand assembled the first team to transfect a cell with a synthetic chromosome
Birthdate: October 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Craig Venter biotechnologist and businessman best known for leading the first draft sequence of the human genome. He is the founder of Celera Genomics and the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the co-founder of Human Longevity Inc.  He received the Dan David Prize for his contribution to genome research and is a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

 6 Juliane Koepcke

Juliane Koepcke
6
Famous As: Lone Survivor of 1971 LANSA Plane Crash
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Juliane Koepcke is a German Peruvian mammalogist. She is well-known for being the only survivor of the Líneas Aéreas Nacionales S.A. Flight 508 plane crash; she survived ten days in the Amazon rainforest after surviving a fall of 9843 feet while strapped to her airplane seat. Her story inspired films like Miracles Still Happen (1974) and Wings of Hope (1998).

 7 Jeremy Wade

Jeremy Wade
4
Famous As: Television presenter, Writer
Birthdate: March 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ipswich, Suffolk, England

Jeremy Wade is a British TV presenter, biologist, and freshwater detective. He is best known for his TV series River Monsters, Mighty Rivers, and Dark Waters. He attended the University of Kent and began his career as a biology teacher. He made his TV debut by chance and didn’t take long to become a popular TV presenter. 

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 8 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
4
Famous As: Business woman
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bangalore, Mysore State, India

Biocon founder and chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a self-made billionaire entrepreneur who made it to Forbes’s Power Women 2020 list. Though she initially wished to be a brewer like her father, she later drifted to the biochemical industry. Apart from revolutionizing the Indian biopharma market, she also heads a charitable organization.

 9 Nell Newman

Nell Newman
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

Nell Newman is a biologist, environmentalist, and former child actress. An ardent supporter of sustainable agriculture, Newman is credited with founding a pet food and organic food production company called Newman's Own. For her environmental leadership, Newman was honored with the Rachel Carson Award in 2014. In 2017, she was made an inductee of the Specialty Food Hall of Fame.

 10 Kathleen Rubins

Kathleen Rubins
4
Famous As: Astronaut, Biologist
Birthdate: October 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Farmington

Kathleen Rubins is a microbiologist and NASA astronaut. In 2016, she became the 60th woman to fly in space when she launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. She traveled to the International Space Station and returned to Earth after a few months. She has spent a total of 300 days, 1 hour, and 31 minutes in space. 

 11 James Lovelock

James Lovelock
4
Famous As: Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 12 Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey de Grey
8
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: April 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 13 Yoshinori Ohsumi

Yoshinori Ohsumi
4
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: February 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fukuoka, Japan

 14 Paul R. Ehrlich

Paul R. Ehrlich
3
Famous As: Entomologist, Zoologist, University teacher
Birthdate: May 29, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Paul R. Ehrlich is a biologist best known for the 1968 book The Population Bomb, which he co-authored with his wife, Anne. He kindled controversy for his views on the consequences of population growth in a world with limited resources. He has been called an "irrepressible doomster” by his critics, while his supporters credit him for spreading concern about overpopulation. 

 15 Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
4
Famous As: Biologist, Researcher
Birthdate: October 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is a German developmental biologist. She studied at the University of Tübingen where she earned a Ph.D. for her research on protein–DNA interactions. Together with biologist Eric Wieschaus and geneticist Edward B. Lewis, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995. She is also a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. 

 16 Paul Stamets

Paul Stamets
4
Famous As: Mycologist
Birthdate: July 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Columbiana, Ohio, United States

Paul Stamets is an American entrepreneur and mycologist. An ardent supporter of mycoremediation and medicinal fungi, Stamets sells various mushroom products. In 2014, he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with an Invention Ambassador award. In 2019, he contributed immensely to the creation of a documentary film titled Fantastic Fungi.

 17 Elizabeth Blackburn

Elizabeth Blackburn
5
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: November 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hobart, Australia

Nobel Prize-winning Australian-American biochemist and molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn is best known for co-discovering the enzyme telomerase. She was allegedly removed from the American President's Council on Bioethics over her support for stem cell research, which went against the government. She has honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

 18 Pierre Joliot

Pierre Joliot
3
Famous As: Biologist and researcher for the CNRS.
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

 19 Bruce Lipton

Bruce Lipton
4
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mount Kisco, New York, United States

Bruce Lipton is a developmental biologist. He is best known as the author of the book The Biology of Belief, in which he claims that beliefs control human biology rather than DNA and inheritance. He earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Virginia and began his academic career. He received the 2009 Goi Peace Award. 

 20 David Baltimore

David Baltimore
3
Famous As: Virologist
Birthdate: March 7, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

David Baltimore is an American university administrator and biologist. He is currently serving as President Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He won the 1975 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the interaction between the genetic material of the cell and tumor viruses. In 1999, he was honored with the National Medal of Science. 

 21 Shinya Yamanaka

Shinya Yamanaka
3
Famous As: Biologist, Physician, Professor
Birthdate: September 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Osaka

 22 John Maynard Smith

John Maynard Smith
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 2004

One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of his generation, John Maynard Smith was originally aeronautical engineer. Later, he took a second degree in genetics and did extensive research on subjects like population genetics and evolution of sex. Known for formalizing the central concept in evolutionary game theory, he introduced the evolutionarily stable strategy, impacting a wide variety of studies.  

 23 Anne McLaren

Anne McLaren
3
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: April 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 7, 2007

Geneticist Anne McLaren is remembered for her pioneering research in embryology that paved the way for further research in fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization. The Royal Society fellow had also appeared as a child actor in the film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel Things to Come.

 24 Sydney Brenner

Sydney Brenner
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: January 13, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germiston, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Died: April 5, 2019

Sydney Brenner was a South African biologist who made important contributions to various areas of molecular biology, including the genetic code. Brenner shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir John E. Sulston and H. Robert Horvitz. Sydney Brenner is credited with founding the Molecular Sciences Institute, which is situated in the United States of America.

 25 Jeff Corwin

Jeff Corwin
4
Famous As: biologist, television presenter, actor
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Norwell

Jeff Corwin is a biologist and wildlife conservationist. He is most popular for hosting TV shows on nature, such as Disney Channel's Going Wild With Jeff Corwin and The Jeff Corwin Experience on Animal Planet. He studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has been involved in conservation since his student days and lectures on wildlife, ecology, and conservation. 

 26 Linda B. Buck

Linda B. Buck
2
Famous As: American biologist
Birthdate: January 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Seattle

Linda B. Buck is an American biologist who received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work on olfactory receptors; she shared the award with molecular biologist Richard Axel. An important and influential biologist, Linda has also won several other awards, such as the Takasago Award, Unilever Science Award, Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award, and R.H. Wright Award.

 27 Michael Levitt

Michael Levitt
3
Famous As: Physicist, Biologist, Bioinformatician, Chemist, Scientist, Educationist, University teacher
Birthdate: May 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pretoria

Michael Levitt is a biophysicist who has been serving as a Stanford University professor of structural biology since 1987. Along with Arieh Warshel and Martin Karplus, Levitt received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013. He has also received several other awards, including the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences and was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

 28 Andrew Baldwin

Andrew Baldwin
3
Famous As: Reality star, naval officer and athlete most famous as the star of the reality show "The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman."
Birthdate: February 5, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States

Although best known for his appearances on the ABC reality dating show The Bachelor, Andrew James Baldwin is much more than just a television personality. A Medical Officer with US Navy, he is known for his humanitarian works and enthusiasm for triathlon, being named to the All-Navy triathlon team five times, besides competing internationally in numerous Half-Ironman and Ironman events.

 29 Yuan Longping

Yuan Longping
3
Famous As: Biologist, Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: September 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing

 30 Keith L. Moore

Keith L. Moore
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 5, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brantford, Canada
Died: December 6, 2019

A legend of anatomy, Keith L. Moore was also one of the founders of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists. The author of books such as Before We Are Born, Moore was also known for his study on the scientific accuracy of statements related to embryology mentioned in the Quran.

 31 PZ Myers

PZ Myers
3
Famous As: Biologist, Zoologist, Blogger, University teacher
Birthdate: March 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kent

PZ Myers is a biologist known for founding the Pharyngula science blog. His blog is one of the top-ranked blogs by a scientist. A "science geek" from an early age, he obtained a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon. As an academician, he has taught at the University of Oregon, the University of Utah, and Temple University.  

 32 Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery
3
Famous As: Biologist, Paleontologist, Zoologist, Environmentalist
Birthdate: January 28, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Melbourne

Tim Flannery is an Australian paleontologist, mammalogist, environmentalist, explorer, conservationist, and public scientist. Tim Flannery is credited with discovering over 30 mammal species. He is also credited with co-founding Climate Council, a non-profit organization that aims at providing accurate information on climate change to the Australian public. In 2007, Tim Flannery was named Australian of the Year.

 33 Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Best known as the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies and the New York Times bestseller The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee is an Indian-American oncologist and a Columbia University professor. He is also a former Rhodes scholar, a Padma Shri winner, and a Stanford alumnus.

 34 Leonard Adleman

Leonard Adleman
3
Famous As: Computer Scientist
Birthdate: December 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Leonard Adleman is a computer scientist best known as a co-creator of the RSA encryption algorithm. He was honored with the 2002 Turing Award, often called the Nobel prize of Computer science, for this work. He is also a pioneer in the field of DNA computing and one of the original discoverers of the Adleman–Pomerance–Rumely primality test. 

 35 Harold E. Varmus

Harold E. Varmus
3
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: December 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oceanside, New York, United States

Harold E. Varmus is an American scientist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with J. Michael Bishop for their discovery of the retroviral oncogenes' cellular origin. From 1993 to 1999, he served as the director of the National Institutes of Health. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the director of the National Cancer Institute.

 36 Bill Mollison

Bill Mollison
3
Famous As: scientist, naturalist, psychologist
Birthdate: May 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stanley
Died: September 24, 2016

Known for co-developing the concept of a sustainable form of agriculture called the permaculture, Bill Mollison was one of the most influential ecological pioneers, authors, and teachers. Also the founder of The Permaculture Institute (Tasmania) and co-publisher of a book called Permaculture One, he is credited with training thousands of people the art of growing food without harming the nature.  

 37 Mario Capecchi

Mario Capecchi
3
Famous As: Molecular Geneticist
Birthdate: October 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Verona, Italy

Mario Capecchi is a molecular geneticist who received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans. They received the prize for discovering a method to create a knockout mouse, a genetically modified mouse in which a certain gene is turned off for experimental purposes. In 2001, Capecchi received the National Medal of Science.

 38 Carol W. Greider

Carol W. Greider
3
Famous As: Biologist, Molecular biologist, Geneticist, Physician
Birthdate: April 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Davis

Carol W. Greider is a molecular biologist who discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984. Her discovery was honored several years later when she received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for their work on telomeres.  The trio also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the same work.  

 39 Jeffrey C. Hall

Jeffrey C. Hall
3
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: May 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jeffrey C. Hall is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as Brandeis University's Professor Emeritus of Biology. He is credited with conducting extensive research on the behavior and neurology of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), which revealed certain mechanisms of the circadian clocks. He received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Rosbash and Michael Young.

 40 Susumu Tonegawa

Susumu Tonegawa
2
Famous As: Immunologist, Molecular Biologist
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Susumu Tonegawa is a Japanese scientist known for his discovery of the genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity. For this work, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987. Even though he won the coveted award for his work in immunology, he is a molecular biologist by training. He now studies neuroscience. 

 41 Robert Trivers

Robert Trivers
2
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Robert Trivers is an American sociobiologist and evolutionary biologist. He is often counted among the most influential and important evolutionary theorists alive. Trivers' fundamental analysis of social evolution earned him the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences. A former faculty member of Harvard University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, Trivers is currently serving as a faculty member at Rutgers University.

 42 Jack W. Szostak

Jack W. Szostak
3
Famous As: Geneticist - Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
Birthdate: November 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian-American biochemist and geneticist Jack W. Szostak revolutionized medical science with his research on the manipulation of genes. The Cornell alumnus is credited with creating the first yeast artificial chromosome. He has also taught at the Harvard Medical School. In spite of being Polish, he doesn’t speak the language.

 43 Michael Rosbash

Michael Rosbash
3
Famous As: Geneticist
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri

Michael Rosbash is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as a researcher and professor at Brandeis University. In 2017, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of the controlling mechanisms of the circadian cycle. Rosbash has also received many other awards like the Massry Prize.

 44 Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci
3
Famous As: Biologist, Philosopher, Geneticist, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: January 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Monrovia

Massimo Pigliucci is an academician currently serving as a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. A staunch critic of pseudoscience and creationism, he advocates for secularism and science education. He was once the co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast. He often writes on topics, such as climate change denial, pseudoscience, intelligent design, and philosophy. 

 45 Michael W. Young

Michael W. Young
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: March 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

Michael W. Young is a biologist and geneticist. He has spent several years studying genetically controlled patterns of sleep and wakefulness within the fly species Drosophila melanogaster. Along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash, he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His wife, Laurel Eckhardt, is also a biologist and the couple often collaborates professionally. 

 46 Gerald Edelman

Gerald Edelman
2
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: July 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ozone Park, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 2014

 47 Barry Commoner

Barry Commoner
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: May 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: September 30, 2012

Barry Commoner was a cellular biologist. A leading ecologist of his era, he was one of the founders of the modern environmental movement. He opposed nuclear weapons testing and helped bring about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. He was a recipient of the 1970 International Humanist Award. As a political activist, he founded the Citizens Party in 1980.  

 48 Torsten Wiesel

Torsten Wiesel
2
Famous As: Neurophysiologist
Birthdate: June 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Uppsala, Sweden

Torsten Wiesel is a Swedish neurophysiologist whose work on ocular dominance columns along with David Hubel earned them the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Torsten Wiesel is also a human rights advocate whose work with non-governmental organizations earned him the David Rall Medal. He is also a founding member of a nonprofit establishment called the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization.

 49 John Gurdon

John Gurdon
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dippenhall, England

 50 Richard Evans Schultes

Richard Evans Schultes
3
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: January 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 10, 2001

Richard Evans Schultes was a biologist con whoducted numerous studies on the uses of plants by indigenous peoples and is considered the father of modern ethnobotany. In collaboration with chemists, he worked on entheogenic or hallucinogenic plants found in the Amazon jungle. He was one of the first Westerners to alert the world about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.