40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
40 of the Most Influential People of All Time

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time

Trista - January 29, 2019

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
A portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636. Justus Sustermans/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

7. Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei constructed his telescope using a couple of lenses and a tube. When he lifted his telescope to the heavens, he discovered that Jupiter was its own system, complete with its own set of moons. His discoveries drew the ire of church officials, who believed that the earth was the center of the cosmos and put him under house arrest. Today, he is considered one of the fathers of modern astronomy.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
Calligraphic representation of Muhammad’s name. Bakkouz/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

6. Muhammad

Muhammad was orphaned at an early age and raised by his uncle, Abu Talib, before marrying a wealthy woman named Khadija. He was known as a devout man and would frequently go on spiritual retreats up in the surrounding mountains. On one of these retreats, he is believed to have received the first of a series of revelations from the angel Gabriel; together, the revelations would form the Qur’an, the scripture of the Muslim religion.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
Bust of Aristotle. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC; the alabaster mantle is a modern addition. Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

5. Aristotle

Little is known about the life of Aristotle, but he studied in Plato’s Academy from the time he was about 17 years old and absorbed the teachings of Plato and his predecessor, Socrates. Aristotle made many scientific discoveries that paved the way for modern scientific thought. His works included topics as disparate as ethics, physics, astronomy, zoology, logic, poetry, music, biology, rhetoric, and even government. Together, his works form the foundation of Western philosophy and scientific thought.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
The Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice by Leonardo da Vinci. Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

4. Leonardo da Vinci

The ultimate “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, writer, botanist, musician, polymath, inventor, you name it, he could do it. Even if you can’t name it, he could probably do it. He painted masterpieces such as The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. His enigmatic notebooks, which are sometimes written backward, contain drawings of things like prototype helicopters and anatomical depictions of humans. He is widely regarded to be one of the most widely-talented people who ever lived.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
Portrait of Isaac Newton (1642-1727).This a copy of a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1689). Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

3. Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is probably most famous for his discovery of gravity, which explains both why things fall to earth and why planets stay in orbit around the sun. When he needed to make measurements that involved a form of math that didn’t exist, he invented a new branch of math: calculus. He wrote down many of his discoveries in a book called Principia, which is still considered a masterpiece. His findings were used by Einstein over two centuries later.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921. Ferdinand Schmutzer/ NHM/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

2. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist who emigrated to the United States and remained there after Hitler rose to power in his native Germany. He discovered general relativity, then supplemented it with special relativity to fill in some of the gaps. Einstein also studied things like the photoelectric effect, which helped form the basis for quantum physics. During World War II, he was recruited for the Manhattan Project so that he could help develop the technology for the atomic bomb.

40 of the Most Influential People of All Time
Christus Pantocrator – Artistic representation of Jesus Christ God, the second divine Person of the Most Holy Trinity (Cathedral of Cefalù, c. 1130.). Andreas Wahra/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

1. Jesus Christ

Jesus was not the founder of the religion that bears his name; he was actually a Jewish carpenter he traveled as an itinerant preacher and worked miracles. After his death and resurrection, his followers initially remained part of the Jewish religion until they were completely expelled from the synagogues. Today, two billion Christians worldwide profess to be followers of Jesus, and he is also a prominent figure in Islam. In fact, many Muslims also claim to be followers of Jesus.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

“Confucius.” Wikipedia.

“The Most Influential People of All Time.” Ranker.

“Nikola Tesla.” Wikipedia.