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
17
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smiljan, Croatia
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
4
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
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
0
Listed In: Inventors, Aviators
Famous As: Co-inventor of First Successful Airplane
Birthdate: August 19, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
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
18
Famous As: Scientist & Inventor
Birthdate: January 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Diamond, Missouri, U.S.
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
0
Famous As: Inventor of the World Wide Web
Birthdate: June 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

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
0
Famous As: Inventor of Periodic Table
Birthdate: February 8, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tobolsk
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
0
Famous As: Printer
Birthdate: 1398 AD
Birthplace: Mainz
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
0
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
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
0
Famous As: Inventor of Saxophone
Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dinant
Died: February 7, 1894

The inventor of the saxophone, Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, was born to instrument-maker parents who had themselves re-designed the French horn. As a child, he was known as "the ghost" for his frequent brushes with death. He made many other instruments, which were included in the French army bands.

 10 Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr
7
Listed In: Actresses
Famous As: Actress, Co-inventor of technology for spread spectrum
Birthdate: November 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
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.

 11 Elon Musk

Elon Musk
15
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: June 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

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.

 12 Les Paul

Les Paul
0
Famous As: Guitarist, Banjoist, Inventor, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist, Radio personality, Musical instrument maker
Birthdate: June 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Waukesha
Died: August 13, 2009

 13 Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan
2
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: March 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, Kentucky, United States
Died: July 27, 1963

 14 Lewis Howard Latimer

Lewis Howard Latimer
11
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: September 4, 1848
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States
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. 

 15 Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley
0
Famous As: Discoverer of Oxygen
Birthdate: March 24, 1733
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birstall
Died: February 6, 1804

 16 James Watt

James Watt
2
Famous As: Inventor of Steam Engine
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
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.

 17 Francis Galton

Francis Galton
0
Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: February 16, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: January 17, 1911

 18 George Westinghouse

George Westinghouse
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: October 6, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Central Bridge, New York, United States
Died: March 12, 1914

 19 Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons
2
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: October 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 17, 1952

 20 René Laennec

René Laennec
0
Famous As: Inventor of Stethoscope
Birthdate: February 17, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: August 13, 1826
Unlike most doctors, French physician René Laennec was also a skilled musician. It was while making his own wooden flutes that he invented the stethoscope, which helped doctors examine the chest cavity through auditory cues. His research also included work on melanoma, cirrhosis, and tuberculosis. He was a dedicated Catholic.

 21 Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes
5
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Investor
Birthdate: December 24, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Humble, Texas, US
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.

 22 George Eastman

George Eastman
0
Famous As: Inventor of Roll Film
Birthdate: July 12, 1854
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Waterville
Died: March 14, 1932

 23 Robert H. Goddard

Robert H. Goddard
0
Listed In: Physicists
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 10, 1945

The son of a machine shop owner, Robert H. Goddard grew up to become a pioneer of rocketry. Interested in physics and mechanics since childhood, he dreamed of space flight. He developed the world’s first rocket that ran on liquid fuel. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is named after him.

 24 Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson
0
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: October 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

 25 Royal Rife

Royal Rife
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: May 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Elkhorn, Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died: August 5, 1971

 26 John Lilly

John Lilly
0
Famous As: Neuroscientist
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: September 30, 2001

 27 Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: American-Canadian inventor
Birthdate: May 2, 1844
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colchester, Ontario, Canada
Died: October 10, 1929

 28 Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable

Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable
0
Listed In: Discoverers
Famous As: Pioneer
Birthdate: 1745 AD
Birthplace: Saint-Marc, Haiti
Died: August 28, 1818

 29 Hiram Bingham III

Hiram Bingham III
0
Famous As: Academic, explorer and politician
Birthdate: November 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Honolulu
Died: June 6, 1956

 30 David Unaipon

David Unaipon
0
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: September 28, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: South Australia
Died: February 7, 1967

David Unaipon was an Aboriginal Australian preacher, author, and inventor. He is best remembered for his significant contribution to Australian society, which helped break several stereotypes about Aboriginal Australians. Apart from establishing a couple of awards in his honor, the Australian government has also featured Unaipon on the Australian fifty-dollar note.

 31 Robert Moog

Robert Moog
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 23, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 21, 2005

 32 Percy Spencer

Percy Spencer
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: engineer, inventor
Birthdate: July 9, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maine
Died: September 8, 1970

 33 Granville Woods

Granville Woods
0
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: April 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: January 30, 1910

Granville Woods was 10 when he began working at a machine shop, while continuing his studies at a night school. He grew up to become a steam locomotive engineer and earned the nickname the Black Edison for his countless inventions, most of which were related to electrical systems for railways.

 34 Gary Fisher

Gary Fisher
0
Listed In: Cyclists, Inventors
Famous As: Sport cyclist, Inventor
Birthdate: November 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oakland

 35 Cai Lun

Cai Lun
2
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Hunan, China
Died: 0121 AD

Cai Lun was a Chinese inventor who served as an eunuch court official of the Han dynasty. Cai Lun played an important role at the imperial court of Emperor He, overseeing the production of weapons and instruments for imperial use. He is credited with inventing paper as we know it today and is hence considered the inventor of modern paper.

 36 John Ericsson

John Ericsson
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Engineer, Military personnel
Birthdate: July 31, 1803
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Långban
Died: March 8, 1889

 37 Arion

Arion
0
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Greece

 38 Wallace Carothers

Wallace Hume Carothers
2
Famous As: Inventor of Neoprene & Nylon
Birthdate: April 27, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Burlington, Iowa, United States
Died: April 29, 1937

 39 Hans Egede

Hans Egede
0
Famous As: Missionary, explorer, translator
Birthdate: January 31, 1686
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harstad
Died: November 5, 1758

 40 George Carruthers

George Carruthers
0
Listed In: Physicists, Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: October 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: December 20, 2020

 41 Lyda D. Newman

Lyda Newman
0
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 1885 AD
Birthplace: Ohio, United States

 42 Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi
2
Listed In: Physicists
Famous As: Inventor & Physicist
Birthdate: April 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 20, 1937

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897. 

 43 James Dyson

James Dyson
2
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: May 2, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cromer

James Dyson is a British industrial designer, inventor, entrepreneur, and landowner. He is credited with founding the popular technology company, Dyson Ltd. He is also credited with inventing the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner. Also known for his philanthropic activities, Dyson established the James Dyson Foundation to support engineering education and to inspire young people.

 44 Mikhail Kalashnikov

Mikhail Kalashnikov
2
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor of AK-47 Assault Rifle
Birthdate: November 10, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kurya, Russia
Died: December 23, 2013
Russian military leader Mikhail Kalashnikov is remembered for inventing the AK-47 assault rifle, along with other weapons such as the AKM, the AK-74, the PK machine gun, and the RPK light machine gun. He was named the Hero of the Russian Federation and received the Order of Military Merit.

 45 Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh
5
Listed In: Inventors, Aviators
Famous As: Aviator, Inventor & Author
Birthdate: February 4, 1902
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died: August 26, 1974
Charles Lindbergh shot to fame after completing the first solo, and the longest, trans-Atlantic flight, in 1927. In his later years, his son’s highly publicized kidnapping and murder broke him completely. He also participated in World War II and worked on inventions that made flight navigation and heart surgeries easier.

 46 Hans Ruckers, the Elder

Hans Ruckers, the Elder
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Instrument maker
Birthdate: 1555 AD
Birthplace: Mechelen, Belgium
Died: 1623 AD

 47 John DeLorean

John DeLorean
5
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer
Birthdate: January 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: March 19, 2005

John DeLorean was an American inventor and engineer. Highly regarded for his work at General Motors, John DeLorean was an influential figure in the US automobile industry. He is credited with founding the popular American automobile manufacturer, The DeLorean Motor Company. DeLorean’s life inspired a couple of documentary films, including Framing John DeLorean where he was played by Alec Baldwin.

 48 Shiva Ayyadurai

Shiva Ayyadurai
5
Famous As: Inventor of Email
Birthdate: December 2, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tamil Nadu

Shiva Ayyadurai is an Indian-American engineer, scientist, and entrepreneur. He gained recognition after claiming to be the inventor of email, which is widely disputed even today. His claim is based on a software called EMAIL, which he wrote while studying at Livingston High School in the late-1970s. He is also known for his unfounded medical claims, including treatments for COVID-19.

 49 Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel
5
Listed In: Chemists
Birthdate: October 21, 1833
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: December 10, 1896

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor. A prolific inventor, he held 355 different patents. Most popular as the inventor of dynamite, he was concerned with how he would be remembered after his death and bequeathed his fortune to the Nobel Prize institution. A wide traveler, he was proficient in several languages.

 50 Sergei Korolev

Sergei Korolev
2
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: January 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: January 14, 1966
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