Inventors & Discoverers

Today you would not be reading this page had it not been for the inventions of the geniuses like Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, and Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee whose works formed the foundation for the modern computer system and internet. Inventors are the individuals who develop a process or a product for the first time while discoverers are those who observe a scientific or natural phenomenon for the first time. Inventors and discoverers from the beginning of civilization have made this world a richer and better place through their relentless scientific observations, studies and researches. Centuries ago Hans Lippershey invented the first telescope thus ushering in a new era in the field of space sciences.  What would have the world been like had it not been for Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors of all time? Can you imagine a world without electric lighting? The modern man is so dependent upon technology for communication and it is would have been possible without Graham Bell’s invention, the telephone, which set off newer inventions in the field of communication. Alexander Fleming might have discovered penicillin accidentally but there is no denying the fact that he revolutionized the world of modern medicine. Browse on to read more about the inventors and discoverers who changed the course of world history.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla
13
Famous As: Inventor, Father of Radio
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Austrian, American
Died: January 7, 1943

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla, is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A prolific inventor, he had around 300 patents for his inventions. Even though he earned a considerable amount of money, he had poor money management skills and died a poor man.

 2 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell
2
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Canadian, Scottish
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 3 Orville Wright

Orville Wright
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Listed In: Inventors, Aviators
Famous As: Co-inventor of First Successful Airplane
Birthdate: August 19, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: January 30, 1948

Orville Wright was an aviation pioneer who alongside his brother, Wilbur, built and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane, the Wright Flyer, a heavier-than-air aircraft. The three-axis control system developed by the brothers remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. Orville also served on the board of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

 4 George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver
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Famous As: Scientist & Inventor
Birthdate: January 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: January 5, 1943
Agricultural scientist George Washington Carver is best remembered for promoting crops that were alternative to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He invented ways to prevent soil depletion and developed scores of products made from peanuts, including paints and cosmetics. He won numerous honors, such as the Spingarn Medal.

 5 Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee
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Famous As: Inventor of the World Wide Web
Birthdate: June 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

Widely known as ten inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee made the first communication between an HTTP client and server through the internet in 1989. He is associated with various organizations, such as the W3C and the World Wide Web Foundation, and has received the knighthood, too.

 6 Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev
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Famous As: Inventor of Periodic Table
Birthdate: February 8, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: February 2, 1907
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Law and his version of the Periodic Table of Elements that revolutionized the field of chemistry. His table was independent of German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer’s version of the table. Mendeleev also assisted in the development of the first oil refinery in Russia.

 7 Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg
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Famous As: Printer
Birthdate: 1398 AD
Nationality: German
Died: February 3, 1468

Credit goes to Johannes Gutenberg for transforming book-making from manuscripts to the printed form as he introduced the movable-type printing press in the 15th century. The German printer and publisher’s invention contributed to mass communication during the Renaissance. He was not successful in his business and was exiled during the later years of his life.  He was also a goldsmith.

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 8 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 9 Adolphe Sax

Adolphe Sax
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Famous As: Inventor of Saxophone
Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Belgian
Died: February 7, 1894

 10 James Watt

James Watt
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Famous As: Inventor of Steam Engine
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Scottish
Died: August 25, 1819
Eighteenth-century Scottish inventor James Watt developed the Newcomen steam engine, by inventing the Watt steam engine, which brough about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the world. He also co-owned the firm Boulton and Watt and laid down concepts such as horsepower and the watt, the SI unit of power.

 11 William Murdoch

William Murdoch
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 21, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Scottish
Died: November 15, 1839

 12 Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr
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Listed In: Actresses
Famous As: Actress, Co-inventor of technology for spread spectrum
Birthdate: November 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Austrian, American
Died: January 19, 2000

Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress whose early career was defined by her performance in the controversial Czech erotic film Ecstasy. Apart from gaining popularity as a beautiful Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr became known as an inventor after co-inventing frequency-hopping spread spectrum. Her career has inspired several works of art. She was also the inspiration behind the iconic character Catwoman.

 13 Elon Musk

Elon Musk
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Famous As: Entrepreneur, Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: June 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Canadian, American, South African

Entrepreneur, engineer and industrial designer, Elon Musk, is famous as founder of the electronic payment firm PayPal, and the SpaceX spacecraft company. He is also the CEO of Tesla Motors. Elon Musk has plans to revolutionize transportation on earth as well as to space through futuristic technology.

 14 Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell
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Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: June 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 15 Edd China

Edd China
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Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: May 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Edd China is best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealers. He has also been part of Fifth Gear and Top Gear. He established Cummfy Banana Limited. After racing a motorized sofa at 148 km/h, China set a Guinness record for the fastest furniture.

 16 Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley
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Famous As: Discoverer of Oxygen
Birthdate: March 24, 1733
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: February 6, 1804

 17 Lewis Howard Latimer

Lewis Howard Latimer
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: September 4, 1848
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: December 11, 1928
Lewis Howard Latimer was born to former slaves and went on to become a skilled patent draftsman. He had worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the patent of his telephone, and with the Edison Electric Light Company. He had also invented a modification of the process of making carbon filaments. 

 18 Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: February 12, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 19 Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons
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Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: October 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: June 17, 1952

 20 Alessandro Volta

Alessandro Volta
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Listed In: Physicists, Inventors
Famous As: Physicist, Inventor, University teacher
Birthdate: February 18, 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 5, 1827

 21 Les Paul

Les Paul
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Famous As: Guitarist, Banjoist, Inventor, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist, Radio personality, Musical instrument maker
Birthdate: June 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: August 13, 2009

 22 John Harvey Kellogg

John Harvey Kellogg
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Doctor, Inventor
Birthdate: February 26, 1852
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: December 14, 1943
Physician, nutritionist, and businessman John Harvey Kellogg served as the director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was a combination of a European spa, a hydrotherapy center, a hospital, and a hotel. He believed in biologic living. However, he is best remembered as the inventor of corn flakes.

 23 Francis Galton

Francis Galton
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Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: February 16, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: January 17, 1911

 24 Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse
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Listed In: Artists
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 27, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: April 2, 1872

 25 Philo Farnsworth

Philo Farnsworth
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: August 19, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: March 11, 1971

 26 Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: March 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: July 27, 1963

 27 Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: December 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 28 Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor of Segway PT
Birthdate: April 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 29 Masamune

Masamune
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Listed In: Designers, Inventors
Famous As: Swordsmith
Birthdate: 1264 AD
Nationality: Japanese
Died: 1343 AD

 30 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang
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Famous As: Military Strategist, Inventor
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Nationality: Chinese
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

 31 George Westinghouse

George Westinghouse
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: October 6, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 12, 1914

 32 Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes
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Famous As: Entrepreneur, Investor
Birthdate: December 24, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: April 5, 1976

A multi-talented personality, Howard Hughes was one of the richest person of his time. A business tycoon, he made big investments in films and aviation industry. Passionate about flying, he set numerous flying records, and also risked his own life in process. Howard Hughes who inherited his family business and became millionaire at the age of 18, was later on troubled with mental illness and turned recluse.

 33 Tom Scholz

Tom Scholz
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 34 Louis Braille

Louis Braille
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Famous As: Inventor of Braille
Birthdate: January 4, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French
Died: January 6, 1852
A 3-year-old Louis Braille accidentally injured himself in the eye while playing with a tool at his father’s harness shop. While the child lost his eyesight, his relentless spirit made him create a unique system made of dots and dashes, now known as the Braille, to help the blind read.

 35 Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy
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Listed In: Chemists
Famous As: Inventor of Davy Lamp
Birthdate: December 17, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: May 29, 1829

 36 René Laennec

René Laennec
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Famous As: Inventor of Stethoscope
Birthdate: February 17, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: August 13, 1826

 37 Paul Winchell

Paul Winchell
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Famous As: Actor, Inventor, Voice actor, Television actor
Birthdate: December 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: June 24, 2005

 38 William Henry Perkin

William Henry Perkin
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Listed In: Chemists, Inventors
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 12, 1838
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: July 14, 1907

 39 George Eastman

George Eastman
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Famous As: Inventor of Roll Film
Birthdate: July 12, 1854
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: March 14, 1932

 40 László Bíró

László Bíró
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: September 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Hungarian
Died: October 24, 1985

 41 William Shockley

William Shockley
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Listed In: Physicists
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: February 13, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: August 12, 1989

 42 Robert H. Goddard

Robert H. Goddard
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Listed In: Physicists
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: August 10, 1945

 43 Charles Macintosh

Charles Macintosh
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Listed In: Chemists, Inventors
Famous As: Chemist, Inventor
Birthdate: December 29, 1766
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: July 25, 1843

 44 Willis Carrier

Willis Carrier
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Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: November 26, 1876
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 7, 1950

 45 George Stephenson

George Stephenson
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Famous As: Father of Railways
Birthdate: June 9, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: August 12, 1848

 46 Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel
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Famous As: Inventor of Diesel Engine
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German, French
Died: September 29, 1913

Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.

 47 Sandford Fleming

Sandford Fleming
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 7, 1827
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Canadian, Scottish
Died: July 22, 1915

 48 Gummo Marx

Gummo Marx
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Listed In: Actors, Comedians
Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Inventor
Birthdate: October 23, 1892
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: April 21, 1977

 49 Alberto Santos Dumont

Alberto Santos Dumont
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Listed In: Aviators
Famous As: Brazilian aviator
Birthdate: July 20, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Brazilian
Died: July 23, 1932

 50 Alberto Santos-Dumont

Alberto Santos-Dumont
0
Famous As: Aviator, Inventor, Balloonist
Birthdate: July 20, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Brazilian
Died: July 23, 1932
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