Intellectuals & Academics

Intellectuals are people using their intelligence and thinking as a professional or as an individual. They generally work in such an environment such as academics wherein their mind is the key player involving learning, critical thinking and analysis, researching and reasoning. Their skills are required in many different fields like literature, medicine, law and scientific research. Intellectuals demonstrate the capacity to show the different aspects of human thinking and try to focus on the value of thinking. Historically, the intellectuals or the thinking class were usually the privileged few who could afford an education. It was the likes of upper rich classes like Rousseau or Marx who expressed their views in such a way that they led their ways of thinking to be developed into theories, which resulted in a couple of these schools of thought being named after them. In the present day, anyone can become an intellectual if he or she has the knack for knowledge and learning. Despised by few and idolized by others, intellectuals have always played a critical role in the development of the world. Discover this space for the list of famous Intellectuals of the world with their biographies that include trivia and interesting facts about them and also tracing their timeline and life history.

 1 Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson
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Famous As: Clinical Psychologist
Birthdate: June 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Canadian

Canadian clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, became internationally known in the 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues. He became active on YouTube in 2016 and shared many videos that have since received millions of views. He has faced criticism for his sexist and misogynistic views. Despite the controversies, he continues to be popular and is a bestselling author.

 2 John Roberts

John Roberts
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: May 30, 2003

 3 Karl Marx

Karl Marx
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 5, 1818
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Prussian
Died: March 14, 1883

Karl Marx, the philosopher, economist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary, is best-known for the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His theories, called Marxism, maintained that class conflict leads to the development of human societies and that internal tension were inherent in capitalism, which would ultimately be replaced by the socialist mode of production.

 4 Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin
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Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: April 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
Died: January 21, 1924

Vladimir Lenin played a key role in the history of Russian politics by developing a political ideology called Leninism. During and after his lifetime, Lenin had a massive influence over international communist movement. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant personalities of the 20th century.

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 5 Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud
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Famous As: Neurologist
Birthdate: May 6, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Austrian
Died: September 23, 1939

Regarded as the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud was a neurologist. Despite suffering criticism, psychoanalysis remains influential in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; such is the influence Freud has on humanities. Scholars believe that Freud is one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century and that his impact is comparable to that of Marxism and Darwinism.

 6 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

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 7 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
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Famous As: Confident, Ambitious
Birthdate: September 5, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian
Died: April 17, 1975

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India and served from 1962 to 1967. He is regarded as one of India’s most eminent scholars and wrote extensively on Indian philosophy and religion. Lifelong he defended Hindu traditions and culture against criticism from the West. September 5, his birthday, is observed as Teachers Day in India, in his honour.

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 8 Aristotle

Aristotle
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0384 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0322 BC

Famous Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, made significant contributions to various fields of science and arts of his era–logic, biology, politics, economics, ethics and aesthetics. Along with Socrates and Plato, he laid much of the foundation of Western philosophy. Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, he founded Lyceum, the school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.

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 9 Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

 10 Plato

Plato
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0428 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0348 BC

Plato was one of the most important Ancient Greek philosophers, who contributed greatly to the fields of mathematics, metaphysics, politics, art, and poetry. Along with his famous student Aristotle and equally famous teacher Socrates, Plato is considered one of the founders of spirituality and Western religion. Platonism remains one of his important contributions.

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 11 Socrates

Socrates
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0470 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0399 BC

A famous Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with founding Western philosophy along with other popular philosophers of his time. An enigmatic figure, most of his work is documented by his famous student Plato. Socrates is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of all time as he had a strong influence on the philosophers of the modern era.

 12 Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

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 13 Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev
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Famous As: Yoga Guru
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian

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.

 14 Carl Jung

Carl Jung
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Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: July 26, 1875
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Swiss
Died: June 6, 1961

Widely regarded as the father of analytical psychology, Carl Jung is one of the most important contributors to symbolization and dream analysis. The concepts of socionics and a popular psychometric instrument called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) were developed from Jung's theory. Apart from working as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung was also an artist, craftsman, builder, and prolific writer.

 15 James Randi

James Randi
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Famous As: Philosopher, Stage magician
Birthdate: August 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 16 Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Russian, Ukrainian, Russian
Died: August 21, 1940

A Russian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary, Leon Trotsky developed a political ideology called Trotskyism, which eventually had a considerable impact on Russian politics. He also played a vital role in leading the Red Army to victory in the Russian Civil War.

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 17 Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
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Birthdate: September 9, 1828
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 20, 1910

Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, is widely considered as one of the greatest authors ever. After experiencing a profound moral crisis in the 1870s, Tolstoy went through a phase of spiritual awakening, which had a great impact on his subsequent works that incorporated ideas on nonviolent resistance. These works influenced personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, thereby effectively changing the course of history.

 18 Martin Luther

Martin Luther
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Famous As: Father of Protestantism and Church Reformer
Birthdate: November 10, 1483
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
Died: February 18, 1546

German monk Martin Luther challenged the dogmas of Roman Catholicism and the authority of the pope, in his Ninety-five Theses, and was thus excommunicated. His German translation of the Bible enriched the German culture, and his marriage set an example for clerical marriage. His teachings are now known as Lutherans.

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 19 David Graeber

David Graeber
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Famous As: Anthropologist, University teacher, Writer, Trade unionist
Birthdate: February 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 20 Vallabhbhai Patel

Vallabhbhai Patel
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Famous As: Politician, Lawyer, Economist
Birthdate: October 31, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: December 15, 1950

 21 Confucius

Confucius
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Famous As: Renowned Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher
Birthdate: September 28, 0551
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Chinese
Died: 0479 BC

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose philosophy came to be known as Confucianism. Confucianism is often credited with shaping Chinese communities and East Asian societies. Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in the history of mankind as his teachings have had a great impact on people around the world. His philosophy continues to remain influential.

 22 Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II
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Famous As: Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City
Birthdate: May 18, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Polish
Died: April 2, 2005

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He is hailed for helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and improving the Catholic Church's relations with Islam, Judaism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was a lifelong football fan, having himself played the sport in his youth.

 23 Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

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

 24 William Wallace

William Wallace
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Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: 1270 AD
Nationality: Scottish
Died: August 23, 1305

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who played an important role in the First War of Scottish Independence. Since his death, Wallace has been viewed as an iconic figure whose story of bravery and valor has inspired several works of art, including the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart. Wallace has also inspired video games and brewery companies, such is his popularity.

 25 Cicero

Cicero
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Famous As: Philosopher, Political Theorist
Birthdate: January 3, 0106
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Italian, Ancient Roman
Died: December 7, 0043
Roman statesman, lawyer, and scholar Cicero was one of the greatest 1st-century BC prose writers and orators. He influenced Latin literature immensely and introduced Greek philosophy to the Romans. He was declared an enemy of the state, following his opposition to Mark Antony after Julius Caesar’s death, and was executed.

 26 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
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Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 27 C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Irish, British
Died: November 22, 1963

C. S. Lewis was a British writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide after having been translated into over 30 languages. His works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, have inspired the works of other famous authors. Lewis' work continues to attract readership and he was ranked 11th on The Times' 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list.

 28 Ann Dunham

Ann Dunham
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Famous As: Barack Obama's Mother
Birthdate: November 29, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: November 7, 1995
Ann Dunham was the mother of former U.S. President Barack Obama. She was an economic anthropologist and worked for the betterment of rural Indonesian women. She had met Barack Obama Sr. while studying at the University of Hawaii. She had worked with USAID, the Ford Foundation, and Bank Rakyat Indonesia.

 29 Subramanian Swamy

Subramanian Swamy
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Famous As: Economist, Politician, Author
Birthdate: September 15, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian

 30 Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale
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Famous As: Founder of Modern Nursing
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: August 13, 1910
The Lady with the Lamp Florence Nightingale is remembered for her relentless efforts in nursing soldiers during the Crimean War. She founded London’s St Thomas' Hospital to train nurses. She also pioneered the use of the polar area diagram and was the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society.

 31 Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 22, 1561
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 9, 1626

Francis Bacon was a Renaissance philosopher and author who was known as the Father of Empiricism, because of his belief in the scientific method and theory that scientific knowledge can only be created through inductive reasoning and experience. He was later knighted and served as the first Queen's counsel.

 32 Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh
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Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: September 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Indian

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 Phil McGraw

Phil McGraw
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Famous As: College Student Personnel, Actor, Television presenter, Psychologist, Writer
Birthdate: September 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 34 John Locke

John Locke
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Famous As: Father of Classical Liberalism
Birthdate: August 29, 1632
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: October 28, 1704
John Locke, also known as The Father of Liberalism, was a prominent Enlightenment Age philosopher. A qualified physician, Locke postulated the theory of mind, empiricism, and the idea of tabula rasa. His ideas influenced the social contract theory, the works of Kant and Rousseau, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

 35 Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli
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Famous As: Political Philosopher
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 21, 1527
Italian Renaissance philosopher, diplomat, and author Niccolò Machiavelli is remembered for his work The Prince. He believed that the end or the intention behind any action justifies the action. He gave rise to the term Machiavellianism, which signifies the use of deceit and treachery to achieve one’s goals. 

 36 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois
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Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Ghanaian
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 37 Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 22, 1724
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: February 12, 1804

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher whose works in fields like aesthetics and metaphysics have made him an important and influential personality in Western philosophy. His views continue to influence contemporary philosophy. Kant has had a major influence on prominent philosophers like Hegel, Schelling, Reinhold, and Fichte. Kant's work on mathematics is cited by Albert Einstein as an early influence.

 38 Albert Camus

Albert Camus
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 7, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Algerian, French
Died: January 4, 1960

Albert Camus was a French philosopher and the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His philosophical views contributed to the rise of absurdism, a philosophical concept. Also a prolific writer, Albert Camus had an illustrious literary career; most of his philosophical essays and novels are still influential.

 39 T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence
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Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.

 40 Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Famous As: Russian novelist
Birthdate: November 11, 1821
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 9, 1881
Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky is remembered as one of the pioneers of existentialism. He is best known for psychological and philosophical themes in his works, such as Crime and Punishment and The Idiot. He was arrested for being critical of Tsarist Russia and spent a 4-year prison term in Siberia.

 41 L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard
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Famous As: Officer, Novelist, Musician, Writer, Screenwriter, Poet, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: March 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 24, 1986

 42 Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault
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Famous As: French philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French
Died: June 25, 1984

If others thought the body was the prison of the soul, Paul-Michel Foucault felt the other way round. The French philosopher, literary critic and Leftist who interpreted the link between power and knowledge, was a post-structuralist whose theories have left a mark on anthropology, psychology and criminology. The feminist was one of the noted personalities to have died of HIV/AIDS.

 43 Voltaire

Voltaire
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.

 44 Adam Smith

Adam Smith
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Famous As: Economist and Philosopher
Birthdate: June 16, 1723
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Scottish
Died: July 17, 1790

Widely considered The Father of Economics, Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist. A pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith played a major role during the Scottish Enlightenment. His book The Wealth of Nations is regarded as the first modern work of economics and a forerunner of today's academic discipline of economics.

 45 Chris McCandless

Christopher Johnson McCandless
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Famous As: American adventurer
Birthdate: February 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: August 18, 1992

 46 Pythagoras

Pythagoras
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Famous As: Philosopher and Mathematician
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0495 BC

Pythagoras was an Ionian Greek philosopher. He is credited with many scientific and mathematical discoveries, including the Sphericity of the Earth, the Theory of Proportions, the five regular solids, Pythagorean tuning, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras influenced other philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. His philosophy also had a major impact on personalities like Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Nicolaus Copernicus.

 47 Alan Watts

Alan Watts
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Famous As: Philosopher, Writer & Speaker
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, American
Died: November 16, 1973

Alan Watts was a British writer, philosopher, and speaker. He is credited with popularizing Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism in the Western world. A prolific writer, Alan Watts wrote one of Buddhism's first bestselling books, The Way of Zen. He also explored psychedelics and human consciousness in his works, such as The Joyous Cosmology and The New Alchemy.

 48 Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Translator, Writer, Playwright, Novelist, Author
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: July 8, 1822

 49 Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall
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Famous As: Primatologist
Birthdate: April 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

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.

 50 Sam Harris

Sam Harris
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Famous As: Philosopher, Author
Birthdate: April 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

One of the "Four Horsemen of Atheism," neuroscientist and author Sam Harris is known for his works on topics such as religion, artificial intelligence, and terrorism. His books include the New York Times bestseller The End of Faith. He hosted the podcast Making Sense and released a meditation app, too.

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