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 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison.
26
Famous As: Inventor, Businessman
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

 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 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.

 5 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.

 6 Lori Greiner

Lori Greiner
18
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: December 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

 7 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.

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 8 Archimedes

Archimedes.
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Engineer, Inventor, Physicist, Astronomer
Birthdate: 0287 BC
Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy
Died: 0212 BC
Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Archimedes is remembered for his contribution to mathematics, especially geometry. He laid down theorems related to the area of a circle, and the area and volume of a sphere, and reached an accurate value of pi. He also invented machines such as the screw pump.

 9 George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver.
18
Famous As: Scientist & Inventor
Birthdate: January 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Diamond, Missouri, United States
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.

 10 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.

 11 William Murdoch

William Murdoch
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 21, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lugar, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1839

 12 Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff.
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bristol, Connecticut

Gary Burghoff is an American actor who is credited with originating the popular role of Charlie Brown in the 1967 Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He is also known for originating the role of Walter Eugene O'Reilly in the 1970 black comedy war movie MASH and the popular TV series of the same name.

 13 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.

 14 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.

 15 Leif Erikson

Leif Erikson.
5
Listed In: Explorers
Famous As: First European to reach North America
Birthdate: 0970 AD
Birthplace: Iceland
Died: 1020 AD

Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer widely believed to have been one of the earliest Europeans to have set foot on North America, at least 500 years before Christopher Columbus. He is also credited with establishing a Norse settlement at coastal North America, as told in the sagas of Icelanders. He has been portrayed in films like The Viking (1928).

 16 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.

 17 Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal.
5
Famous As: French Mathematician, Physicist, Inventor, Writer and Catholic Philosopher
Birthdate: June 19, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand,, Auvergne, France
Died: August 19, 1662

Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor. A child prodigy, Pascal's work on projective geometry, at the age of 16 is commendable. He is one of the earliest inventors of the mechanical calculator, which he did when he was still a teenager. His work on probability theory influenced the development of social science and modern economics.

 18 Mike Lindell

Mike Lindell
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: June 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mankato, Minnesota, U.S.

 19 Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper.
0
Famous As: Computer Scientist
Birthdate: December 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 1, 1992
Computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computing system. She pioneered the machine-independent programming language technique, and the FLOW-MATIC language used by her was later used to create COBOL. She received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 20 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.

 21 James Naismith

James A. Naismith
0
Listed In: Inventors, Educators
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: November 6, 1861
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Almonte, Mississippi Mills, Canada
Died: November 28, 1939

 22 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.

 23 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.

 24 Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller.
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: July 12, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Milton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 1, 1983

Buckminster Fuller was an American systems theorist, architect, designer, inventor, author, and futurist. He is credited with popularizing the geodesic dome, which resembles carbon molecules known as fullerenes. Fullerenes were named after Fuller for their resemblance to geodesic spheres. Fuller's work has influenced several personalities from different walks of life. His work has also inspired a couple of documentary films.

 25 Edd China

Edd China.
0
Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: May 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
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.

 26 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.

 27 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. 

 28 Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak.
5
Famous As: Co-founder of Apple Computer (Apple Inc.)
Birthdate: August 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

Widely recognized as one of the two important pioneers of the personal computer revolution, Steve Wozniak is credited with co-founding Apple Inc. along with Steve Jobs. Not surprisingly, he has been described as one of the men that changed the course of history through technology. Apart from being a programmer and technology entrepreneur, Steve Wozniak is also a well-known philanthropist.

 29 William Moulton Marston

William Moulton Marston.
5
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: May 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saugus, Massachusetts
Died: May 2, 1947
Psychologist William Moulton Marston, also known as “Charles Moulton,” is remembered for inventing a precursor of the lie detector, along with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway. He was also a comic book author, who created the superheroine Wonder Woman. He was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife and Olive Byrne.

 30 Shiva Ayyadurai

Shiva Ayyadurai.
6
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.

 31 John G. Trump

John G. Trump
7
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: August 21, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 21, 1985

Better known as former U.S. president Donald Trump’s uncle, John G. Trump was an MIT physicist and engineer. Though he had initially aspired to be an architect and join his brother Fred’s real-estate business, John later concentrated on his research that led to the invention of high-voltage generators.

 32 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.

 33 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.

 34 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.

 35 Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil
0
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: February 12, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Ray Kurzweil is an American futurist and inventor best known for his work in fields like optical character recognition, speech recognition technology, and text-to-speech synthesis. A proponent of life extension technologies and robotics, Kurzweil was honored with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1999. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 36 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

 37 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

 38 John Harvey Kellogg

John Harvey Kellogg.
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Doctor, Inventor
Birthdate: February 26, 1852
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tyrone Township, Livingston County, Michigan
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.

 39 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.

 40 Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse.
0
Listed In: Artists
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: April 27, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charlestown, Boston
Died: April 2, 1872

 41 Philo Farnsworth

Philo Farnsworth.
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: August 19, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beaver, Utah, United States
Died: March 11, 1971

 42 Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper
0
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: December 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 43 Masamune

Masamune
0
Listed In: Designers, Inventors
Famous As: Swordsmith
Birthdate: 1264 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 1343 AD

 44 Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen
5
Famous As: Skateboarder
Birthdate: August 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gainesville, Florida, USA

 45 Wilhelm Rontgen

Wilhelm Rontgen.
0
Famous As: Winner of First Nobel Prize in Physics
Birthdate: March 27, 1845
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lennep, Rhine Province, Germany
Died: February 10, 1923

Wilhelm Rontgen was a German physicist and mechanical engineer. He is best remembered for producing and detecting X-rays for which he was honored with the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. His discovery of X-rays remains one of the greatest achievements in the field of medical science.

 46 Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen.
0
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: Inventor of Segway PT
Birthdate: April 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rockville Centre, New York, United States

 47 Eli Whitney

Eli Whitney.
5
Listed In: Inventors
Famous As: American inventor
Birthdate: December 8, 1765
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Westborough
Died: January 8, 1825

 48 Francis Galton

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

Nineteenth-century polymath Francis Galton revolutionized science with his pathbreaking research on human intelligence and psychometrics. His books dealt with diverse topics such as correlational calculus, fingerprint analysis, and meteorology, and he also explored Africa. He left Cambridge without an honors degree, and yet ended up being knighted for his achievements.

 49 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang.
0
Famous As: Military Strategist, Inventor
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
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.

 50 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
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