Hundred Greatest Mathematicians of the Past

Isaac Newton


Carl Gauss

Leonhard Euler

Bernhard Riemann

Henri Poincaré

J.-L. Lagrange


David Hilbert

G.W. Leibniz

Alex. Grothendieck

Pierre de Fermat


The Greatest Mathematicians of the Past
ranked in approximate order of "greatness."
To qualify, the mathematician must be born before 1930 and his work must have
breadth, depth, and historical importance.

  1. Isaac Newton
  2. Archimedes
  3. Carl F. Gauss
  4. Leonhard Euler
  5. Bernhard Riemann
  1. Henri Poincaré
  2. Joseph-Louis Lagrange
  3. Euclid of Alexandria
  4. David Hilbert
  5. Gottfried W. Leibniz
  1. Alexandre Grothendieck
  2. Pierre de Fermat
  3. Évariste Galois
  4. John von Neumann
  5. Niels Abel

  1. Karl W. T. Weierstrass
  2. René Descartes
  3. Peter G. L. Dirichlet
  4. Carl G. J. Jacobi
  5. Srinivasa Ramanujan
  1. Augustin Cauchy
  2. Brahmagupta
  3. Georg Cantor
  4. Hermann K. H. Weyl
  5. Arthur Cayley
  1. Emma Noether
  2. Pythagoras of Samos
  3. Leonardo `Fibonacci'
  4. William R. Hamilton
  5. Aryabhata

At some point a longer list will become a List of Great Mathematicians rather than a List of Greatest Mathematicians. I've expanded my original List of Thirty to an even Hundred, but you may prefer to reduce it to a Top Seventy, Top Sixty, Top Fifty, Top Forty or Top Thirty list, or even Top Twenty, Top Fifteen or Top Ten List.

In compiling this list, I've considered contributions outside mathematics. I already give lower weight to breadth and influence in mathematical physics, but if I reduced the weight to zero, the List would be much different. Newton contributed little to number theory, but is considered to have breadth because of his physics, which is also his main influence. If only breadth and influence in pure mathematics are considered, Newton wouldn't be #1 (though still in the Top Ten).

  1. Charles Hermite
  2. Richard Dedekind
  3. Apollonius of Perga
  4. Pierre-Simon Laplace
  5. Muhammed al-Khowârizmi
  1. Kurt Gödel
  2. Diophantus of Alexandria
  3. Bháscara Áchárya
  4. Eudoxus of Cnidus
  5. Blaise Pascal
  1. Felix Christian Klein
  2. Jean le Rond d'Alembert
  3. Élie Cartan
  4. Hipparchus of Nicaea
  5. Godfrey H. Hardy

  1. Archytas of Tarentum
  2. Alhazen ibn al-Haytham
  3. Carl Ludwig Siegel
  4. Gaspard Monge
  5. Jacques Hadamard
  1. Andrey N. Kolmogorov
  2. Joseph Liouville
  3. Johannes Kepler
  4. Julius Plücker
  5. Hermann G. Grassmann
  1. F.E.J. Émile Borel
  2. F. Gotthold Eisenstein
  3. Stefan Banach
  4. Giuseppe Peano
  5. Jacob Bernoulli

  1. François Viète
  2. Joseph Fourier
  3. Liu Hui
  4. André Weil
  5. Jakob Steiner
  1. Jean-Victor Poncelet
  2. M. E. Camille Jordan
  3. Panini of Shalatula
  4. Bonaventura Cavalieri
  5. Christiaan Huygens
  1. Jean-Pierre Serre
  2. Pafnuti Chebyshev
  3. L.E.J. Brouwer
  4. James J. Sylvester
  5. Henri Léon Lebesgue

  1. Alan M. Turing
  2. Michael F. Atiyah
  3. Atle Selberg
  4. John E. Littlewood
  5. Pappus of Alexandria
  1. Johann Bernoulli
  2. Shiing-Shen Chern
  3. Hermann Minkowski
  4. Ernst E. Kummer
  5. George Pólya

  1. Felix Hausdorff
  2. F. L. Gottlob Frege
  3. Alfred Tarski
  4. Thales of Miletus
  5. Marius Sophus Lie
  1. Siméon-Denis Poisson
  2. Johann H. Lambert
  3. John Wallis
  4. George D. Birkhoff
  5. Adrien M. Legendre

I've appended five additional names to the List of Seventy-five Greatest Mathematicians. Einstein, Galileo, etc. are among the greatest applied mathematicians in history, but lack the importance as pure mathematicians to qualify for The Top 75. Nevertheless I'd want to include them in any longer list. Because of their ambiguous status, I've left these five without rank numbers.

This is primarily a list of Greatest Mathematicians of the Past, but I use 1930 birth as an arbitrary cutoff, and two of the "Top 100" are still alive now. Click here for for a longer List of 200 including many more 20th-century mathematicians.)

Click for a discussion of certain omissions. Please send me e-mail if you believe there's a major flaw in my rankings (or an error in any of the biographies). Obviously the relative ranks of, say Fibonacci and Ramanujan, will never satisfy everyone since the reasons for their "greatness" are different. I'm sure I've overlooked great mathematicians who obviously belong on this list. Please e-mail and tell me!

Biographies of the greatest mathematicians are in separate files by birth year:

(Or you can View the List and Bios as a single page.)

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