Famous 21st Century Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 
Noam Chomsky
(A Major Figure in Analytic Philosophy Who is Also Known as 'The Father of Modern Linguistics')
Noam Chomsky
61
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Regarded by many as the father of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky has authored over 100 books on varied topics, such as politics, linguistics, and war. A multi-talented personality, Noam Chomsky is considered a popular figure in analytic philosophy. Apart from influencing a wide array of academic fields, he has also contributed to the development of cognitivism.

 2 
Thomas Sowell
(Economist)
Thomas Sowell
26
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina

One of the few personalities known for his disdain of self-promotion, Thomas Sowell is an important American social theorist and economist. Over the years, he has played a prominent role working as a faculty member of many prestigious universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cornell University

 3 
Amartya Sen
(Indian Philosopher, Economist and Winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)
Amartya Sen
12
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
Indian economist Amartya Sen was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory. Sen is known for his development of more sophisticated measures of poverty, and also for his work on the causes and prevention of famines. He is considered an important contemporary liberal thinker for his views about the nature and primacy of liberty. 
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 4 
Milton Friedman
(American Economist & Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences Who Extolled the Virtues of a Free Market Economic System)
Milton Friedman
16
Birthdate: July 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman was an American economist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Friedman was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976. One of the most influential personalities of the Chicago school of economics, Friedman mentored people like Gary Becker and Thomas Sowell who went on to become leading economists.

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 5 
Dian Fossey
(Zoologist, Conservationist)
Dian Fossey
9
Birthdate: January 16, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: December 26, 1985
Zoologist, primatologist, and conservationist Dian Fossey conducted research on mountain gorillas in Rwanda from 1966 until she was murdered in 1985. She was part of the Trimates assigned to study apes by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey. She wrote Gorillas in the Mist, which was later turned into a film.
 6 
Slavoj Žižek
(Slovene Philosopher and Cultural Theorist)
Slavoj Žižek
22
Birthdate: March 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher whose works in subjects, such as continental philosophy, Marxism, Hegelianism, and psychoanalysis, has gained him international influence. Often dubbed a celebrity philosopher and Elvis of cultural theory, Žižek was named in Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2012. His work has had an impact on widespread public audiences and academic.

 7 
Daniel Kahneman
(Winner of 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for His Work on the Psychology of Judgment and Decision-Making)
Daniel Kahneman
9
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.

 8 
Albert Bandura
(One of the Most Influential Psychologists of All Time)
Albert Bandura
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mundare, Canada
Died: July 26, 2021

Albert Bandura is a Canadian-American psychologist who has made significant contributions to several fields of psychology, such as personality psychology, therapy, and social cognitive theory. Regarded as the greatest living psychologist, Bandura is also counted among the most influential psychologists ever. He has been honored with over 16 honorary degrees. In 2016, Albert Bandura received the National Medal of Science.

 9 
Jean Baudrillard
(French Sociologist Known for His Analyses of Media, Contemporary Culture, and Technological Communication)
Jean Baudrillard
6
Birthdate: July 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: March 6, 2007

Renowned sociologist and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard is remembered for introducing concepts of hyperreality and simulacrum. Initially a teacher of German literature in schools, he later taught sociology at Paris X Nanterre. He coined the phrase the desert of the real, which was later used in the film The Matrix.

 10 
Jürgen Habermas
(German Philosopher and Sociologist Best Known for His Theory of ‘Communicative Action')
Jürgen Habermas
9
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Rhine Province, Prussia, Germany

German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas is counted among the most influential philosophers across the world and is identified with the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He influenced many disciplines through his work which addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere, and includes topics starting from social-political theory to aesthetics, language to philosophy of religion, and epistemology.

 11 
Jordan Peterson
(Canadian Clinical Psychologist and Author)
Jordan Peterson
78
Birthdate: June 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada

Canadian clinical psychologist, writer and YouTuber, Jordan Peterson became internationally known in the 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues. He propogates his views and ideas primarily through YouTube and podcasts. He has shared many videos and podcasts that have received millions of views.

 12 
Jane Goodall
(English Primatologist and Anthropologist Who is Considered World's Foremost Expert on Chimpanzees)
Jane Goodall
8
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Jane Goodall is an English anthropologist and primatologist. Goodall's research proved that chimpanzees could use tools like stalks of grass to fish out termites from termite holes; this also challenged the long-held belief that chimpanzees were vegetarians. Goodall also discovered that chimpanzees are capable of emotions like sorrow and joy. Goodall is also credited with founding the Jane Goodall Institute.

 13 
Desmond Tutu
(First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
Desmond Tutu
9
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 14 
Philip Zimbardo
(Psychologist Best Known for His 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment)
Philip Zimbardo
11
Birthdate: March 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Psychologist and Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo is best known for his Stanford prison experiment, which proved how prisoners get abusive due to situational factors. He is also known for his books The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Foundation.

 15 
Terry Jones
10
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 
 16 
Maya Harris
(American Lawyer, Public Policy Advocate & Sister of 49th Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris)
Maya Harris
9
Birthdate: January 30, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, United States

A lawyer, law professor, political analyst and a civil rights activist, Maya Harris’s list of achievements is huge. One of the youngest in the US to become a law school dean, Maya Harris has worked with Hillary Clinton and her own sister Kamala Harris in their respective presidential campaigns.

 17 
Martin Seligman
(Psychologist)
Martin Seligman
7
Birthdate: August 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
 18 
David Harvey
(Professor of Anthropology & Geography)
David Harvey
6
Birthdate: October 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gillingham, Kent, England

David Harvey is a  Marxist economic geographer, podcaster, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is currently a distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has authored many books and essays and is one of the most cited authors of books in the humanities and social sciences.   

 19 
Umberto Eco
(Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum')
Umberto Eco
7
Birthdate: January 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alessandria, Italy
Died: February 19, 2016

Italian novelist Umberto Eco is best remembered for his novels The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. He also taught at the University of Bologna and had released quite a few children’s books and translations. He was also known for his work on semiotics and medieval studies.

 20 
Terri Irwin
(Naturalist Who is The Owner of Australia Zoo in 'Beerwah, Queensland')
Terri Irwin
8
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.

 21 
Gore Vidal
(American Writer Known for His Novels: ‘The City and the Pillar’, ‘Julian’, ‘Myra Breckinridge’ and ‘Burr’)
Gore Vidal
11
Birthdate: October 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: West Point, New York, United States
Died: July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal was an American intellectual and writer. He served as a major inspiration to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as he was openly bisexual and often incorporated LGBT characters in his novels, which was very unusual at the time. He was also known for his debates with William F. Buckley Jr., which inspired the 2015 documentary film Best of Enemies.

 22 
Bruno Latour
(French Philosopher Known for His Innovative and Iconoclastic Work in the Study of Science and Technology in Society)
Bruno Latour
7
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

 23 
Steven Pinker
(Cognitive Psychologist and Advocate of Evolutionary Psychology and the Computational Theory of Mind)
Steven Pinker
7
Birthdate: September 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American linguist, cognitive psychologist, and popular science author. He is also a supporter of the computational theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. His works have earned him awards from organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Humanist Association. In 2013, he was named in Prospect magazine's World Thinkers list.

 24 
Peter Navarro
(Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (2017 - 2021))
Peter Navarro
11
Birthdate: July 15, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Economist and writer Peter Navarro has served as the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and the Director of the National Trade Council under former president Donald Trump. He has also authored books such as Death by China and taught at the University of California.
 25 
Peter Weller
(Actor and Director)
Peter Weller
6
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States
Peter Weller is best known as Robocop from the film RoboCop and its sequel. He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1993 short film Partners. He starred in the series 24, hosted a History Channel show, and voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in the miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
 26 
Madeleine Albright
(64th United States Secretary of State (1997 - 2001))
Madeleine Albright
8
Birthdate: May 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Smíchov, Prague, Czechia
Died: March 23, 2022
Madeleine Albright served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, under Bill Clinton, and was the first woman to hold the post. The Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee also chaired the Albright Stonebridge Group and taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
 27 
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
(Essayist and Mathematical Statistician Best Known for His Books: ‘The Black Swan’ and ‘Antifragile’)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
5
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Amioun, Lebanon
Lebanese-American scholar and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb is known for his work on risk management through uncertainty and probability. His five-volume essay Incerto included his bestselling book The Black Swan. Named to Forbes’s Most Influential Management Gurus list, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the academic journal Risk and Decision Analysis.
 28 
Jeffrey Sachs
(Economist)
Jeffrey Sachs
10
Birthdate: November 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 29 
Roger Penrose
(English Mathematician, Mathematical Physicist and Winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics)
Roger Penrose
4
Birthdate: August 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Colchester, England

Roger Penrose’s contribution to the research related to the black hole and general relativity earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020. The Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, Roger is also a fellow of Wadham College, St John's College of Cambridge, and University College London.

 30 
Eric Weinstein
(Mathematician)
Eric Weinstein
8
Birthdate: October 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Apart from being the MD of Thiel Capital, mathematician and economist Eric Weinstein is also a researcher at Oxford. The Harvard alumnus had quit academia for 20 years before he returned again. He coined the term “intellectual dark web” and works on topics such as gauge theory, risk management, and immigration.

 31 
Richard Thaler
(Nobel Prize Winner in Economics (2017))
Richard Thaler
7
Birthdate: September 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey, United States
 32 
Manmohan Singh
(Former Prime Minister of India)
Manmohan Singh
15
Birthdate: September 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gah, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan)

The 13th Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh became the first Sikh in office when he took office in 2004. A prominent economist and academic, he held several key posts in the Government of India in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for his humility, he  has been described by the media as "one of the world's most revered leaders."

 33 
Lucy Worsley
(British Historian Best Known as a Presenter of BBC Television Series on Historical Topics)
Lucy Worsley
5
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England

British historian and author Lucy Worsley is not just a curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces, but is also a famed TV presenter, popular for her work on series such as A Very British Murder and If Walls Could Talk. Suffering from a speech disorder, she pronounces “r” in a peculiar way.

 34 
Jens Stoltenberg
(Economist, Politician)
Jens Stoltenberg
5
Birthdate: March 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oslo

Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Norway between 2000 and 2013 in two separate terms. An influential politician, Stoltenberg also served as the Minister of Industry and Energy from 1993 to 1996 and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. Jens Stoltenberg is the current Secretary General of NATO.

 35 
Robert Reich
(22nd United States Secretary of Labor (1993 - 1997))
Robert Reich
12
Birthdate: June 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Economist and University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich has also been the U.S. secretary of labor. His rare bone disorder made him a victim of bullies in childhood, but he later won the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. His bestselling book Saving Capitalism was made into a Netflix documentary.

 36 
Drew Pinsky
(Radio personality, Addiction medicine specialist)
Drew Pinsky
6
Birthdate: September 4, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
 37 
Danica McKellar
(Actress, Mathematician, and Author Known for Her Role as ‘Winnie Cooper’ in the TV Series ‘The Wonder Years’)
Danica McKellar
12
Birthdate: January 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Jolla, California, United States
Danica McKellar is best known as Winnie Cooper from the series The Wonder Years and as the voice of Miss Martian from the animated series Young Justice. She has also starred in many Hallmark movies and written several math books, such as Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math.
 38 
Jerome Bruner
(Psychologist, University teacher)
Jerome Bruner
5
Birthdate: October 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 5, 2016
 39 
Thabo Mbeki
(Politician, Economist)
Thabo Mbeki
7
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Transkei

Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician who is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of South Africa. From 1999 to 2008, he served as the president of South Africa. During his tenure as the president, the South African economy grew, creating employment opportunities. Over the years, he has received several awards, including the prestigious Good Governance Award.

 40 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
4
Birthdate: 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States

Lola Van Wagenen is an American historian who is credited with co-founding non-profit educational organizations like Consumer Action Now (CAN) and Clio Visualizing History, Inc. Consumer Action Now went on to establish several environmental education and consumer-oriented programs in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of consumers' buying habits on the environment.

 41 
Cornel West
(Philosopher)
Cornel West
18
Birthdate: June 2, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Cornel West is an American philosopher, social critic, political activist, and author. He is renowned for drawing intellectual contributions from several traditions, such as Marxism, Christianity, transcendentalism, and neopragmatism. West is credited with authoring many influential books, such as Democracy Matters and Race Matters.

 42 
Zbigniew Brzezinski
(9th United States National Security Advisor)
Zbigniew Brzezinski
10
Birthdate: March 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 26, 2017
Polish-American diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski had been a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson and the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. He believed in the realist school of international relations. He also taught foreign policy and was seen in programs such as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
 43 
Abhijit Banerjee
(Indian-born American Economist, Professor and 2019 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences)
Abhijit Banerjee
5
Birthdate: February 21, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Born to economics professor parents, Abhijit Banerjee grew up in India before he moved to the U.S. to study at Harvard. He later taught at Harvard and Princeton and is now associated with MIT. His studies on the ways of reducing world poverty won him a Nobel Prize.

 44 
Alice Roberts
(Anthropologist)
Alice Roberts
6
Birthdate: May 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bristol
Biological anthropologist Alice Roberts has taught at the University of Birmingham and led the charity Humanists UK. She gained fame as the presenter of shows such as Dr. Alice Roberts: Don't Die Young and The Incredible Human Journey. She has also authored books such as The Complete Human Body.
 45 
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
(Literary Critic and Scholar Who Became Popular for His Pioneering Theories of African and African-American Literature)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
10
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia, United States

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 46 
Gary Becker
(Economist)
Gary Becker
5
Birthdate: December 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2014
 47 
Eric Hobsbawm
(Historian)
Eric Hobsbawm
7
Birthdate: June 9, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: October 1, 2012
 48 
Joseph E. Stiglitz
(Economist & Author)
Joseph E. Stiglitz
7
Birthdate: February 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gary

Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz is best known for his work on the theory of markets with asymmetric information. The MIT alumnus has taught at prestigious institutes such as Harvard and Stanford and currently teaches at Columbia University, He has been an economic advisor to the U.S. government, too.

 49 
George Osborne
(Politician, Economist)
George Osborne
7
Birthdate: May 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

Conservative Party politician George Osborne is the son of Osborne & Little co-founder Sir Peter Osborne. He initially aspired to be a journalist but started his career as an MP from Tatton and later served as the Chancellor Of The Exchequer and the First Secretary of State of the U.K.

 50 
Peter Singer
(Australian Philosopher Who is Known for His Book ‘Animal Liberation’)
Peter Singer
7
Birthdate: July 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Australian moral philosopher, Peter Singer, is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He specializes in applied ethics. He is best known for his book Animal Liberation, which is considered a seminal work in the animal liberation movement.  The Council of Australian Humanist Societies recognized him as the Australian Humanist of the Year in 2004.