Famous 21st Century Mathematicians

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 Mathematicians

 1 
Terence Tao
(Mathematician)

Terence Tao
24
Birthdate: July 17, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia

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.

 2 
Grigori Perelman
(Mathematician)

Grigori Perelman
13
Birthdate: June 13, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman is best known for his work on geometry, especially Riemannian geometry, geometric analysis, and geometric topology. He declined many prizes, such as the Fields Medal and the Millennium Prize. His proof of the Poincaré conjecture was named the Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine.

 3 
John Horton Conway
(Mathematician)

John Horton Conway
14
Birthdate: December 26, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: April 11, 2020

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.

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 4 
Andrew Wiles
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Andrew Wiles
25
Birthdate: April 11, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge

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.

 5 
Alexander Grothendieck
(Mathematician)

Alexander Grothendieck
8
Birthdate: March 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 13, 2014

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.

 6 
Katherine Johnson
(Mathematician)

Katherine Johnson
44
Birthdate: August 26, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, United States
Died: February 24, 2020
Katherine Johnson was a physicist and mathematician, remembered as the first African-American female NASA scientist. Her calculations helped launch the space missions of Alan Shepard and John Glenn. She was crucial to the Apollo program and won a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her achievements.

 7 
Mary Jackson
(Mathematician)

Mary Jackson
18
Birthdate: April 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia, United States
Died: February 11, 2005

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.

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 8 
Tom Lehrer
(American musician)

Tom Lehrer
18
Birthdate: April 9, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, Manhattan

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.

 9 
Maryam Mirzakhani
(First Iranian to Be Honored With the ‘Fields Medal’, the Most Prestigious Award in Mathematics)

Maryam Mirzakhani
31
Birthdate: May 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: July 14, 2017

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.

 10 
Hilary Putnam
(Mathematician, Philosopher)

Hilary Putnam
6
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 13, 2016

 11 
Roger Penrose
(Mathematician)

Roger Penrose
16
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.

 12 
James Harris Simons
(Mathematicians & Hedge Fund Manager)

James Harris Simons
9
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Newton

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.

 13 
Donald Knuth
(Mathematician and Computer Scientist Known for His Multivolume Series of Books “The Art of Computer Programming”)

Donald Knuth
12
Birthdate: January 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

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.

 14 
Freeman Dyson
(Mathematician)

Freeman Dyson
8
Birthdate: December 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Crowthorne, England
Died: February 28, 2020

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. 

 15 
Eric Weinstein
(Mathematician)

Eric Weinstein
12
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.

 16 
Sal Khan
(Teacher)

Sal Khan
20
Birthdate: October 11, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.

What began as amateur math tutorials for his cousin later became Sal Khan’s dream project, the online education platform Khan Academy, which now has over 42 million users worldwide. Named to Time 100 in 2012, the American-born Bengali former hedge fund analyst is an MIT and Harvard alumnus.

 17 
Cédric Villani
(Mathematician, Physicist, University teacher)

Cédric Villani
7
Birthdate: October 5, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brive-la-Gaillarde

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.  

 18 
Manjul Bhargava
(Mathematician)

Manjul Bhargava
9
Birthdate: August 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hamilton, Canada

 19 
Marvin Minsky
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, University teacher)

Marvin Minsky
10
Birthdate: August 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 24, 2016

 20 

Pietro Boselli
13
Birthdate: December 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Negrar, Italy

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.

 21 
Michael Atiyah
(Mathematician)

Michael Atiyah
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: January 11, 2019

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.

 22 
John Urschel
(Mathematician)

John Urschel
11
Birthdate: June 24, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

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.

 23 
Dorothy Vaughan
(Mathematician)

Dorothy Vaughan
37
Birthdate: September 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: November 10, 2008

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.

 24 
Peter Scholze
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Peter Scholze
6
Birthdate: December 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dresden

 25 
Edward Witten
(Mathematician, Physicist, University teacher, Theoretical physicist)

Edward Witten
17
Birthdate: August 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Baltimore

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.  

 26 
Kenneth Arrow
(Eonomist)

Kenneth Arrow
5
Birthdate: August 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 21, 2017

 27 
John Lennox
(mathematician, philosopher of science, university teacher)

John Lennox
6
Birthdate: November 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northern Ireland

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.

 28 
William J. Perry
(Mathematician)

William J. Perry
5
Birthdate: October 11, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, United States U.S.

 29 
Shing-Tung Yau
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Shing-Tung Yau
5
Birthdate: April 4, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shantou

 30 
Leslie Lamport
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, Programmer, Engineer, Writer)

Leslie Lamport
5
Birthdate: February 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City

 31 
Edward O. Thorp
(Mathematician, Writer, University teacher)

Edward O. Thorp
7
Birthdate: August 14, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago

 32 
Lotfi A. Zadeh
(Mathematician)

Lotfi A. Zadeh
5
Birthdate: February 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: September 6, 2017

 33 
Adi Shamir
(Mathematician, Cryptologist, Computer scientist)

Adi Shamir
5
Birthdate: July 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tel Aviv

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.

 34 
John Wilder Tukey
(Mathematician)

John Wilder Tukey
8
Birthdate: June 16, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 26, 2000

 35 
Richard Hamilton (Mathematician)
(Known for Contributions to Geometric Analysis & Partial Differential Equations.)

Richard Hamilton (Mathematician)
6
Birthdate: January 10, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

 36 
David Berlinski
(philosopher, mathematician, university teacher)

David Berlinski
6
Birthdate: 1942 AD
Birthplace: New York City

 37 
Daniel J. Bernstein
(Mathematician, Cryptologist, Programmer, University teacher, Computer scientist)

Daniel J. Bernstein
6
Birthdate: October 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: East Patchogue

 38 
Alan Sokal
(Mathematician, Physicist, University teacher)

Alan Sokal
6
Birthdate: January 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston

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.

 39 
Whitfield Diffie
(Cryptographer and one of the pioneers of public-key cryptography along with Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle)

Whitfield Diffie
8
Birthdate: June 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 40 
Akshay Venkatesh
(Mathematician)

Akshay Venkatesh
6
Birthdate: November 21, 1981
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Akshay Venkatesh is an Australian mathematician who became only the second person of Indian origin and the second Australian to win the prestigious Fields Medalwhich 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.

 41 
Johan Galtung
(Writer, Sociologist)

Johan Galtung
4
Birthdate: October 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oslo, Norway

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.

 42 
Seymour Papert
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, Educator, University teacher, Psychologist)

Seymour Papert
5
Birthdate: February 29, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pretoria
Died: July 31, 2016

 43 
Shinichi Mochizuki
(Mathematician)

Shinichi Mochizuki
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

 44 
Bruce Schneier
(Cryptographer, Mathematician, Computer scientist)

Bruce Schneier
4
Birthdate: January 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City

 45 
Marcus du Sautoy
(Mathematician, Academic, University teacher, Writer)

Marcus du Sautoy
5
Birthdate: August 26, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

 46 
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
(Economist, Politician, Banker)

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Livorno
Died: September 16, 2016

Former Italian president and prime minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had a major role in introducing Italy to the euro. He had been the governor of the Bank of Italy for 14 years and had held several portfolios, including the ministry of treasury. He was also a World War II veteran.

 47 
Mark Adler
(Mathematician, Physicist, Computer scientist)

Mark Adler
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Miami

 48 
Stephen Wolfram
(Mathematician, Physicist, Computer scientist, Businessperson, University teacher, Patent inventor, Writer)

Stephen Wolfram
17
Birthdate: August 29, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

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. 

 49 
Ronald Graham
(Mathematician, Juggler, Computer scientist)

Ronald Graham
5
Birthdate: October 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Taft

 50 
Raymond Smullyan
(Mathematician, Philosopher)

Raymond Smullyan
5
Birthdate: May 25, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Far Rockaway, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 2017