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
54
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
22
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 
Milton Friedman
(American Economist & Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences Who Extolled the Virtues of a Free Market Economic System)
Milton Friedman
10
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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 4 
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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 5 
Dian Fossey
(Zoologist, Conservationist)
Dian Fossey
7
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
(Philosopher)
Slavoj Žižek
18
Birthdate: March 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ljubljana, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia

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
8
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 
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.

 10 
Jean Baudrillard
(French Sociologist Known for His Analyses of Media, Contemporary Culture, and Technological Communication)
Jean Baudrillard
5
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.

 11 
Jordan Peterson
(Canadian Clinical Psychologist and Author)
Jordan Peterson
62
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
(Primatologist)
Jane Goodall
8
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England

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
7
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 
Maya Harris
(American Lawyer, Public Policy Advocate & Sister of 49th Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris)
Maya Harris
7
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.

 16 
Madeleine Albright
(64th United States Secretary of State (1997 - 2001))
Madeleine Albright
4
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.
 17 
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. 
 18 
Terri Irwin
(Naturalist Who is The Owner of Australia Zoo in 'Beerwah, Queensland')
Terri Irwin
7
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.

 19 
Martin Seligman
(Psychologist)
Martin Seligman
6
Birthdate: August 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
 20 
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.   

 21 
Jaggi Vasudev
(Yoga Guru)
Jaggi Vasudev
35
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mysore, Karnataka, India

The recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India, Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic, yogi, and author.  His spiritual program called inner engineering is famous all over the world, particularly in the Western world. Popularly known as Sadhguru, Jaggi Vasudev's yoga programs, environmental initiatives, and educational and social initiatives have earned him celebrity status in India.

 22 
Condoleezza Rice
(66th United States Secretary of State (2005-09))
Condoleezza Rice
12
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

 23 
Peter Weller
(Actor and Director)
Peter Weller
4
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.
 24 
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.

 25 
Gore Vidal
(American Writer Known for His Novels: ‘The City and the Pillar’, ‘Julian’, ‘Myra Breckinridge’ and ‘Burr’)
Gore Vidal
9
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.

 26 
Steven Pinker
(Cognitive Psychologist and Advocate of Evolutionary Psychology and the Computational Theory of Mind)
Steven Pinker
5
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.

 27 
Peter Navarro
(Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (2017-21))
Peter Navarro
10
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.
 28 
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.

 29 
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.
 30 
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.

 31 
Eric Weinstein
(Mathematician)
Eric Weinstein
6
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.

 32 
Danica McKellar
(Actress, Mathematician, and Author Known for Her Role as ‘Winnie Cooper’ in the TV Series ‘The Wonder Years’)
Danica McKellar
11
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.
 33 
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
 34 
Zbigniew Brzezinski
(9th United States National Security Advisor)
Zbigniew Brzezinski
7
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.
 35 
Jeffrey Sachs
(Economist)
Jeffrey Sachs
10
Birthdate: November 5, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 36 
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."

 37 
Drew Pinsky
(Radio personality, Addiction medicine specialist)
Drew Pinsky
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
 38 
Jens Stoltenberg
(Economist, Politician)
Jens Stoltenberg
4
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.

 39 
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.

 40 
Jerome Bruner
(Psychologist, University teacher)
Jerome Bruner
5
Birthdate: October 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 5, 2016
 41 
Cornel West
(Philosopher)
Cornel West
17
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 
Veronica Porché Ali
(Muhammad Ali’s Ex-Wife, Psychologist)
Veronica Porché Ali
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
 43 
Alan Greenspan
(Economist)
Alan Greenspan
19
Birthdate: March 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington Heights, New York, United States
Economist Alan Greenspan chaired the U.S. Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. It is believed that his easy money policies had caused the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. He now works as a consultant through his organization Greenspan Associates LLC. He was also trained in clarinet at the Juilliard School.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
5
Birthdate: May 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The queen consort of the Netherlands, Queen Máxima is the daughter of Argentine politician Jorge Zorreguieta. She initially worked in the sales departments of HDFC and Deutsche Bank. She apparently didn’t know she was meeting a prince when she met her husband, King Willem-Alexander, at the Seville Spring Fair.

 45 
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.

 46 
Brene Brown
(Researcher Known in Particular for Her Research on Shame, Vulnerability, and Leadership)
Brene Brown
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Apart from being a University of Houston research professor, Brene Brown has also been a successful author of New York Times bestsellers such as Braving the Wilderness, and a podcast host. She also has a lecture featured on Netflix, while her Ted Talk is one of the world’s top-five most-viewed. 

 47 
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.

 48 
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.
 49 
Gary Becker
(Economist)
Gary Becker
5
Birthdate: December 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2014
 50 
Joseph E. Stiglitz
(Economist & Author)
Joseph E. Stiglitz
6
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.