Noted mathematician and polymath, Benoit B. Mandelbrot is perhaps best known for his work on fractal. He not only coined the term, but also used computer-constructed images to illustrate the mathematical definition. Also credited with the discovery of Mandelbrot set and Mandelbrot law, he established that even those things which were apparently chaotic or rough had a "degree of order".
Remembered as versatile mathematician, game wizard and polymath, John Horton Conway had limitless curiosity, which matched with his scientific originality. Although he is best known for devising the cellular automation called Game of Life, he made significant contributions to group theory, number theory, algebra, geometric topology, theoretical physics, combinatorial game theory and geometry. Conway published many outstanding papers in these fields.
Alexander Grothendieck was a 20th-century mathematician who was a leading figure in the creation of modern algebraic geometry. With his so-called "relative" perspective, he revolutionized many areas of pure mathematics. During his later career, he became a professor at the University of Montpellier. He is counted among the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century.
Terence Tao is an Australian-American mathematician who works at the University of California, Los Angeles as a professor of mathematics. Widely considered one of the most prominent living mathematicians, Tao was honored with the prestigious Fields Medal in 2006. In 2014, he was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics.
English mathematician Sir Andrew John Wiles, a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, is best known for proving the modularity theorem for semistable elliptic curves, thereby proving Fermat's Last Theorem for which he was awarded the Abel Prize and the Copley Medal by the Royal Society. He also proved the main conjecture of Iwasawa theory.
American mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson went down in history as the first African-American woman to work as a NASA engineer. Initially a math teacher, she later joined NACA under Dorothy Vaughan and contributed to countless American space programs at a time when racial segregation was the norm.
Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician best remembered for her innovative methods and research involving different branches of mathematics like symplectic geometry and ergodic theory. On 13 August 2014, she became the first Iranian and only woman to date to be honored with the prestigious Fields Medal. Maryam Mirzakhani died of breast cancer when she was 40 years old.
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.
While he grew up to be a Harvard math professor, that didn’t stop Tom Lehrer from pursuing his childhood love for music. He gained fame as a satirical composer, with songs such as So Long, Mom, I’m Off to Drop the Bomb and That Was The Year That Was.
Mathematician and computer scientist Donald Ervin Knuth is best known for his contribution to the development of the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms. Also the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system as well as the WEB and CWEB computer programming systems, he has published twenty books, most significant among them being The Art of Computer Programming.
The son of a shoe factory owner, mathematician-turned-hedge-fund-manager James Harris Simons studied math at MIT and helped the U.S. break codes during the Vietnam War. He later founded his own hedge fund firm, Renaissance Technologies. He supports autism research and funds Math for America. In 2021, he was America’s 23rd-richest person.
Freeman Dyson was a British-American theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician. He made major contributions in the fields of quantum field theory, astrophysics, random matrices, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. He originated the concept that went on to be known as Dyson's transform. He received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1986.
Recipient of Fields Medal and Abel Prize, British-Lebanese mathematician Michael Atiyah emerged as a leading figure in the UK mathematics during the latter half of the 20th century. He specialised in geometry and made remarkable contributions in the fields of geometry, theoretical physics, topology and global analysis, and is best known for proving the Atiyah–Singer index theorem with Isadore Singer.
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.
Fields Medal-winning French politician and mathematician Cédric Villani works mainly on mathematical physics, partial differential equations and Riemannian geometry. He serves as Member of the National Assembly for Essonne's 5th constituency, after being elected during the 2017 legislative election. He was a member of La République En Marche! but defected later to form the political party Ecology, Democracy, Solidarity.
American mathematician Dorothy Vaughan was also known as a "human computer." Initially a math teacher, she became the first African-American supervisor of NACA, later part of NASA, at a time when racial segregation was rampant in the U.S. Her contribution to the early American space programs is invaluable.
While he had been an Armani Junior model at 6, Pietro Boselli later earned a mechanical engineering degree, completed his PhD, and taught math. After a student posted a photo of him on Facebook and it went viral, Boselli became a sensation, gaining fame as the world's hottest math teacher.
Russian business-tycoon, engineer, mathematician and government official Boris Berezovsky is counted among the famed Russian oligarchs who made their fortunes during the 1990s, when Russia was going through privatization of state property. He remained a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the latter’s election as president in 2000 and was granted political asylum by the UK in 2003.
Turing Award-winning Israeli cryptographer Adi Shamir is one of the co-inventors of RSA encryption. He also owns patents to more than a dozen more inventions. He has been associated with the University of Warwick and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has also taught at the Weizmann Institute.
American mathematical and theoretical physicist Edward Witten is regarded as the practical founder of M-theory. His proof of positive energy theorem led him to become the first physicist who received the Fields Medal by International Mathematical Union. His research works mainly include the areas of string theory, supersymmetric quantum field theories and quantum gravity, besides other areas of mathematical physics.
Akshay Venkatesh is an Australian mathematician who became only the second person of Indian origin and the second Australian to win the prestigious Fields Medal, which is also referred to as the Nobel Prize for Math. He won the medal in 2018 for his synthesis of representation theory, analytic number theory, topology, and homogeneous dynamics.
New York University physics professor Alan Sokal made headlines for creating what is now known as the Sokal Hoax. He wrote gibberish using flowery jargon and submitted it to the journal Social Text, which published it as postmodernist criticism, thus proving the lack of credibility of such journals.
Apart from being an ace mathematician, John Lennox has also taught at institutes such as Oxford and is an emeritus fellow at Green Templeton College. A Christian apologist, too, he has penned books, such as Can Science Explain Everything?, exploring diverse topics, such as religion and artificial intelligence.
A well-known human rights activist, Natan Sharansky not just campaigned for the rights of the Jews and spent 9 years in a prison in Siberia, but was also a chess prodigy, who was a champion at age 14. He has also penned books and won multiple awards.
Part of the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list of young scientists, Canadian-American mathematician John Urschel has previously had an illustrious football career as part of the NFL team Baltimore Ravens. He played with the Ravens without revealing that he was a full-time graduate student at MIT.
Johan Galtung is a Norwegian sociologist best known as the founder of a social science field called peace and conflict studies. He is also credited with founding the Peace Research Institute Oslo where he served as the director from 1959 to 1970. Renowned for his contribution to political science, economics, and history, Galtung won the Right Livelihood Award in 1987.
US meteorologist and mathematician Edward Norton Lorenz is remembered for proposing concepts such as the chaos theory/deterministic chaos and the butterfly effect. He also laid down the Lorenz 96 model. The Kyoto Prize winner was associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology throughout his research career.
South African-born American mathematician and computer scientist Seymour Papert is best remembered for co-inventing the computer programming language Logo, which is also an educational tool. He was part of the faculty at MIT and was known for his pioneering research on children’s learning processes, the constructionist movement, and AI.
Known as the Japanese Perelman, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki is known for his work on number theory and arithmetic geometry and for his contribution to anabelian geometry. His proof of the ABC Conjecture was met with criticism by fellow mathematicians Peter Scholze and Jakob Stix, leading to a major controversy.
Stephen Wolfram is a British-American computer scientist, physicist, and businessman, best known for his work in computer science, mathematics, and theoretical physics. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. As a businessman, he is the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research, a software company.