Famous Polish Intellectuals & Academics

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 Polish Intellectuals & Academics

 1 
Rosa Luxemburg
(Revolutionary Socialist, Marxist Philosopher & Anti-War Activist)

Rosa Luxemburg
15
Birthdate: March 5, 1871
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zamosc, Poland
Died: January 15, 1919
Polish Marxist and socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg was a member of parties such as the SPD, the USPD, and the KPD. Luxemburg was an anti-war activist and taught economics and Marxism at SPD's Berlin training center. She was assassinated by the Freikorps troops during the German Revolution

 2 
Zbigniew Brzezinski
(United States National Security Advisor (1977-81))

Zbigniew Brzezinski
6
Birthdate: March 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 26, 2017
Polish-American diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski had been a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson and the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. He believed in the realist school of international relations. He also taught foreign policy and was seen in programs such as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

 3 

Stanisław Lem
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. He was also a noted essayist who wrote on varied subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. His books, which have been translated into over 50 languages, have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. 

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 4 
Edward Sapir
(Anthropologist, Linguist, Sociolinguist, University teacher, Ethnologist)

Edward Sapir
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lębork
Died: February 4, 1939

Edward Sapir was an anthropologist-linguist. He played a pivotal role in the development of the discipline of linguistics in USA. He studied Germanic linguistics at Columbia and later researched Native American languages. He was an expert in the study of Athabascan languages and Chinookan languages. He also worked with Yiddish, Hebrew, and Chinese languages. 

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 5 
Ernst Cassirer
(Philosopher, University teacher)

Ernst Cassirer
3
Birthdate: July 28, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: April 13, 1945

German Jewish philosopher Ernst Cassirer was a major figure of the Weimar intellectual circle. While he initially followed in the path of his mentor Hermann Cohen, he later developed and promoted philosophical idealism and also penned books such as Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. His The Myth of the State dealt with Nazi Germany.

 6 
Carl Menger
(Economist, University teacher)

Carl Menger
4
Birthdate: February 23, 1840
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nowy Sącz
Died: February 26, 1921

Carl Menger made significant contributions to the marginal utility theory and the subjective theory of value. Born to a lawyer father, he too studied law and also worked as a journalist for a while. He later taught at the University of Vienna and also established the Austrian School of economics.

 7 
Albert Sabin
(Medical Researcher)

Albert Sabin
3
Birthdate: August 26, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Białystok, Poland
Died: March 3, 1993

Polish-American medical researcher Albert Bruce Sabin is best-remembered for developing oral polio vaccine which is easier to give and more effective than earlier polio vaccine. His vaccine has remained instrumental in the ongoing effort of eradicating polio. Other vaccines developed by Sabin include the ones for encephalitis and dengue. He served as President of Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

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 8 
L. L. Zamenhof
(Linguist, Ophthalmologist, Inventor, Poet, Translator, Esperantist, Physician, Writer, Bible translator)

L. L. Zamenhof
3
Birthdate: December 15, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Białystok
Died: April 14, 1917

L. L. Zamenhof was an ophthalmologist best remembered for creating the most widely spoken international auxiliary language, Esperanto. He came up with the constructed language after being consumed by the idea of a warless world. L. L. Zamenhof received several honors for creating Esperanto, including the Légion d'honneur. He also received 12 nominations for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
3
Birthdate: January 11, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: December 23, 1972

Born into a family of rabbis in Warsaw, Abraham Joshua Heschel managed to move to London before Germany’s invasion of Poland but lost his mother and sisters to the Holocaust. The theologian eventually set base in New York, where he continued his work on Jewish philosophy and American civil rights.

 10 
Alfred Tarski
(Logician)

Alfred Tarski
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 27, 1983

Polish mathematician Alfred Tarski initially taught at Warsaw and later moved to the US, where he joined the University of California, Berkeley. Known for his research on topics such as algebra, logic, and set theory, he has also been the doctoral supervisor of mathematicians such as Julia Robinson and Bjarni Jónsson.

 11 
Alfred Korzybski
(Scholar who developed the field of General Semantics)

Alfred Korzybski
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1879
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: March 1, 1950

Polish-American scholar Alfred Korzybski had initially been sent to the U.S. by the Russian intelligence services. After the fall of the tsarist rule, he stayed back in the U.S. The pioneer of general semantics, he believed human knowledge is shaped by one’s linguistic reach and the nervous system.

 12 
Zygmunt Bauman
(Sociologist and Philosopher Known for Works That Examine Broad Changes in the Nature of Contemporary Society)

Zygmunt Bauman
6
Birthdate: November 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: January 9, 2017

Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman moved to Israel after being stripped of his Polish citizenship during the 1968 Polish political crisis. His best-known works include Modernity and the Holocaust and Liquid Modernity. He had taught at Tel Aviv and Haifa, before working for almost 2 decades at the University of Leeds.

 13 
Mateusz Morawiecki
(Prime Minister of Poland)

Mateusz Morawiecki
6
Birthdate: June 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland

Mateusz Morawiecki is a Polish historian, economist, and politician. The current Prime Minister of Poland, Morawiecki has also held other important positions; between 2015 and 2018, he served as the Minister of Development as well as the Minister of Finance. Mateusz Morawiecki also served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Poland from 2015 to 2017.

 14 
Janusz Korwin-Mikke
(Politician, Bridge player, Economist, Journalist, Esperantist)

Janusz Korwin-Mikke
6
Birthdate: October 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw

Janusz Korwin-Mikke is a Polish politician, author, and paleolibertarian. He is credited with founding the Eurosceptic and right-wing libertarian political party Wolność. Counted among the most controversial politicians of his time, Korwin-Mikke is known for his absurd remarks and allegations. Janusz Korwin-Mikke became a member of the Sejm in 2019.

 15 
Bronislaw Malinowski
(Anthropologist, Sociologist)

Bronislaw Malinowski
0
Birthdate: March 15, 1884
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: 1942 AD

 16 
Leszek Kołakowski
(Philosopher)

Leszek Kołakowski
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Radom, Poland
Died: July 17, 2009

Leszek Kołakowski was a Polish philosopher. He is remembered for his critical analyses of Marxist thought, which he published in his three-volume history, Main Currents of Marxism. He was exiled from Poland in 1968 due to his criticism of Marxism. Despite this, he was a major inspiration for the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s.

 17 

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
4
Birthdate: February 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marianowo, Mazovia, Poland
Died: June 7, 2014

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was a Polish American phenomenologist and philosopher. She is credited with founding the World Phenomenology Institute (WPI) where she remained as the president until her death in 2014. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka also contributed immensely to the popular book series Analecta Husserliana, serving as its editor since its inception in 1968.

 18 
Ferdinand Lassalle
(Writer, Politician, Economist, Lawyer, Philosopher)

Ferdinand Lassalle
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1825
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: August 31, 1864

Enamoured by the ideas of French and German philosophers, Ferdinand Lassalle initially aspired to be a lecturer. He later joined the socialist cause and spearheaded Germany’s social democratic movement. He also introduced terms such as the iron law of wages and concepts such as Lassallism, or achieving socialist ideals through the state.

 19 
Jerzy Neyman
(Mathematician, Philosopher, Statistician)

Jerzy Neyman
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1894
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bender
Died: August 5, 1981

Polish mathematician and statistician Jerzy Neyman is remembered for pioneering theoretical statistics and also taught at prestigious institutes such as UCB and UCL. The National Medal of Science winner established the theories of estimation and hypotheses testing, which have been widely used in areas such as medicine and genetics.

 20 
Wolf Messing
(Psychic)

Wolf Messing
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Góra Kalwaria, Poland
Died: November 8, 1974

 21 
Michel Thomas
(Linguist)

Michel Thomas
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lodz, Poland
Died: January 8, 2005

 22 
Solomon Asch
(Psychologist)

Solomon Asch
0
Birthdate: September 14, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: February 20, 1996

Polish-American Gestalt psychologist Solomon Asch, a pioneer in social psychology, is known for his seminal work in social psychology, including social influence, impression formation, conformity and prestige suggestion. He is noted for the Asch conformity experiments or the Asch paradigm, a series of studies in which he demonstrated the influence of group pressure on opinions.  

 23 
Leonid Hurwicz
(Mathematician, Economist)

Leonid Hurwicz
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: June 24, 2008

Born in Moscow, Polish economist Leonid Hurwicz initially studied law but fled to the US during World War II. He was later associated with the MIT, among other prestigious institutes, and won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering contribution to the mechanism design theory.

 24 
Richard Pipes
(Historian, Writer, University teacher)

Richard Pipes
3
Birthdate: July 11, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cieszyn, Poland
Died: May 17, 2018

Polish-born American historian Richard Pipes is best known for his extensive research on Soviet history. His books depict the violence and terror of Russian politics and express his contempt toward communism and Lenin. He was also part of an American team to investigate Soviet weapon expansion plans.

 25 
Florian Znaniecki
(Philosopher)

Florian Znaniecki
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Swietniki, Poland
Died: March 23, 1958

Polish sociologist and philosopher Florian Znaniecki is remembered for developing sociology into a separate academic discipline. Thrown out of the University of Warsaw, for his political activities, he studied in France and Switzerland. He co-authored The Polish Peasant in Europe and America and taught in both Poland and the US.

 26 
Zawisza Czarny
(diplomat)

Zawisza Czarny
2
Birthdate: 1379 AD
Birthplace: Stary Garbów
Died: June 12, 1428

 27 
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
(Writer & Painter Active Before World War I & During Interwar Period)

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: September 18, 1939

Polish author, painter, and dramatist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz of the Awangarda Krakowska movement was part of the Australian expedition of anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, as an artist. He had also worked in the Russian Army. He committed suicide at the onset of World War II, though many believe he had faked his own death.

 28 

Hermann Grassmann
2
Birthdate: April 15, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: September 26, 1877

Hermann Grassmann was a German polymath remembered for his work in linear algebra, although he wasn’t acknowledged as a mathematician for most part of his life. His work Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik was revolutionary in the field of mathematics and was far ahead of its time. During his lifetime, he was only known as a linguist.

 29 
Ryszard Siwiec
(Accountant)

Ryszard Siwiec
2
Birthdate: March 7, 1909
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dębica
Died: September 12, 1968

 30 
Robert Zajonc
(Psychologist, University teacher)

Robert Zajonc
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Łódź
Died: December 3, 2008

 31 
Reinhard Selten
(Economist)

Reinhard Selten
2
Birthdate: October 5, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: August 23, 2016

Reinhard Selten was a German economist known for his work in bounded rationality. Regarded as one of the founding fathers of experimental economics, he was the founder of the BonnEconLab, a laboratory for experimental economic research. Along with John Harsanyi and John Nash, he was jointly awarded the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. 

 32 
Antoni Macierewicz
(Politician, Historian, Journalist, Trade unionist)

Antoni Macierewicz
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warsaw

 33 
Peter Geach
(Philosopher, University teacher, Philosophy historian)

Peter Geach
2
Birthdate: March 29, 1916
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: December 21, 2013

Born to a philosophy professor, Peter Geach followed in his father’s footsteps to master the subject and teach at various universities, such as the University of Birmingham. Best known for his work on the theory of identity, he married renowned philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe and also collaborated with her.

 34 

Moses Isserles
2
Birthdate: February 22, 1530
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: May 11, 1572

Moses Isserles was a Polish Ashkenazic rabbi, scholar, and talmudist. He is best remembered for his immense contribution to Halakha, the collective body of Jewish religious laws. Moses Isserles is also remembered for his inline commentary on several religious texts that are considered important by the Jewish community. 

 35 
Sula Benet
(Anthropologist)

Sula Benet
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: November 12, 1982

 36 
Leszek Balcerowicz
(Deputy Prime Minister of Poland (1989–1991, 1997–2001))

Leszek Balcerowicz
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lipno, Poland

 37 
Oskar R. Lange
(Economist)

Oskar R. Lange
2
Birthdate: July 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tomaszów, Poland
Died: October 2, 1965

 38 
Adam Michnik
(Historian and Editor-In-Chief of the Polish Newspaper, 'Gazeta Wyborcza')

Adam Michnik
2
Birthdate: October 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland

Renowned Polish historian and the editor-in-chief of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Adam Michnik was also a prominent Solidarity leader. His anti-communist activities got him arrested after the 1968 March Events. He was later a major figure in the round-table talks that put an end to communist rule in Poland.

 39 

Stanisław Wojciechowski
2
Birthdate: March 15, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kalisz, Poland
Died: April 9, 1953

Stanisław Wojciechowski was a major figure in the Polish independence movement against Russia and later also served as the president of Poland. The Polish Peasant Party member had initially also contributed to the socialist periodical Przedświt. Though friends with Józef Piłsudski, he later disagreed with him, and eventually resigned.

Mieczyslaw Franciszek Rakowski
2
Birthdate: December 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kowalewko, Poland
Died: November 8, 2008

 41 
Chaïm Perelman
(Former Philosopher whose chief work was the Traité de l'argumentation – la nouvelle rhétorique (1958), with Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca)

Chaïm Perelman
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: January 22, 1984

Chaïm Perelman was a Polish-born philosopher of law who spent most of his life in Brussels, Belgium. He is counted amongst the most important argumentation theorists of the 20th century. He studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and was appointed a lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the same institute. He was married to Fela Perelman. 

 42 
Jadwiga Emilewicz
(Politician)

Jadwiga Emilewicz
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland

 43 
Paweł Kuczyński
(Philosopher)

Paweł Kuczyński
2
Birthdate: August 12, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland

Paweł Kuczyński is a Polish-born political art satirist and philosopher. He is known for his anti-war stance. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan. He gained popularity with his thought-provoking artworks that comment on social, political, and economic issues through satire. He is the recipient of numerous rewards, including a silver plate at the Salon of Antiwar Cartoons. 

 44 
Władysław Bartoszewski
(Journalist, Politician, Diplomat, Historian, Academic, Non-fiction writer, University teacher, Writer)

Władysław Bartoszewski
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: April 24, 2015

 45 
Heinrich Graetz
(Historian)

Heinrich Graetz
2
Birthdate: October 31, 1817
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: September 7, 1891

 46 
Jan Długosz
(Priest)

Jan Długosz
2
Birthdate: December 1, 1415
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stara Brzeźnica, Poland
Died: May 19, 1480

Polish chronicler, soldier, and priest Jan Długosz is remembered for writing the first-known comprehensive history of Poland. His 12-volume Annals or Chronicles of the Famous Kingdom of Poland, a patriotic documentation of Poland’s history, written in Latin, earned him the tag of Poland’s first historian.

 47 
Helene Deutsch
(Psychologist)

Helene Deutsch
2
Birthdate: October 9, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Przemyśl, Poland
Died: March 29, 1982

 48 
Michał Heller
(Professor)

Michał Heller
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tarnow, Poland

Apart from being a Catholic priest, Michał Heller is also a mathematical cosmologist and a professor. The Templeton Prize-winner was born in Poland, but he later fled with his family to the USSR, to escape the Nazis, and lived in Siberian labor camps. His current research deals with general relativity.

 49 

Bronisław Geremek
2
Birthdate: March 6, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: July 13, 2008

After losing his father at Auschwitz, Polish Jewish historian and politician Bronisław Geremek fled the Nazi terror, with his mother, and grew up according to Catholic traditions, with his adoptive father. He chaired the Freedom Union and served as the Polish foreign affairs minister, overseeing Poland’s entry into the NATO.

 50 

Johann Gustav Droysen
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1808
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Trzebiatów, Poland
Died: June 19, 1884

Johann Gustav Droysen was a German historian. His work pertaining to Alexander the Great was the first work that represented a new school of German thought that introduced the great man theory. Johann Gustav Droysen's book, History of Alexander the Great, remained the best work on the king of Macedonia for a long time.