The 
Greatest Mathematicians of All Time
 
 

Isaac Newton

Archimedes

Carl Gauss

Leonhard Euler

Bernhard Riemann

Henri Poincaré
 

J.-L. Lagrange

David Hilbert

Euclid

G.W. Leibniz

Alex. Grothendieck

Pierre de Fermat

 

The Greatest Mathematicians of All Time
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. David Hilbert
  4. Euclid of Alexandria
  5. Gottfried W. Leibniz
 
  1. Alexandre Grothendieck
  2. Pierre de Fermat
  3. Niels Abel
  4. Évariste Galois
  5. John von Neumann

  1. Karl W. T. Weierstrass
  2. René Déscartes
  3. Brahmagupta
  4. Peter G. L. Dirichlet
  5. Srinivasa Ramanujan
 
  1. Carl G. J. Jacobi
  2. Augustin Cauchy
  3. Hermann K. H. Weyl
  4. Eudoxus of Cnidus
  5. Georg Cantor
 
  1. Arthur Cayley
  2. Emma Noether
  3. Pythagoras of Samos
  4. Leonardo `Fibonacci'
  5. Muhammed al-Khowârizmi

At some point a longer list will become a List of Great Mathematicians rather than a List of Greatest Mathematicians. I've expanded the List 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.
 

  1. Charles Hermite
  2. William R. Hamilton
  3. Aryabhata
  4. Richard Dedekind
  5. Kurt Gödel
 
  1. Apollonius of Perga
  2. Pierre-Simon Laplace
  3. Diophantus of Alexandria
  4. Bháscara Áchárya
  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. Johannes Kepler
  3. Jacob Bernoulli
  4. Hermann G. Grassmann
  5. Joseph Liouville
 
  1. Julius Plücker
  2. F.E.J. Émile Borel
  3. Joseph Fourier
  4. Stefan Banach
  5. F. Gotthold Eisenstein

  1. Liu Hui
  2. André Weil
  3. Jean-Victor Poncelet
  4. Christiaan Huygens
  5. François Viète
 
  1. Giuseppe Peano
  2. Jakob Steiner
  3. L.E.J. Brouwer
  4. M. E. Camille Jordan
  5. Pafnuti Chebyshev
 
  1. Michael F. Atiyah
  2. Panini (of Shalatula)
  3. Bonaventura Cavalieri
  4. James J. Sylvester
  5. Jean-Pierre Serre

 
  1. Henri Léon Lebesgue
  2. John Wallis
  3. George Boole
  4. Alan M. Turing
  5. Siméon-Denis Poisson
 
  1. Atle Selberg
  2. Pappus of Alexandria
  3. John E. Littlewood
  4. Shiing-Shen Chern
  5. Johann Bernoulli

  1. Hermann Minkowski
  2. Ernst E. Kummer
  3. George Pólya
  4. Felix Hausdorff
  5. George D. Birkhoff
 
  1. F. L. Gottlob Frege
  2. Omar al-Khayyám
  3. Marius Sophus Lie
  4. Alfred Tarski
  5. Daniel Bernoulli
 
  1. Hippocrates of Chios
  2. Thabit ibn Qurra
  3. Johann H. Lambert
  4. Paul Erdös
  5. Thales of Miletus

I've appended five additional names to the List of Seventy-five Greatest Mathematicians. Maxwell, Einstein, 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 add them to any longer list. Because of their ambiguous status, I've left these five without rank numbers.

I think One Hundred (or 105) is a good list size, but will bring it up to 125 (not a very "round" number, but a cubical one :-), just to show some "spares." (For this extended list, I relax the birth-date rule slightly to include two greats born in the 1930's.)

             


Still other contenders:       Ahmes   Al-Kashi   Al-Kindi   Apastambha   Barrow   Beltrami   Bolyai   Bolzano   Bombelli   Chang   Chasles   Clifford   Courant   Cremona   Copernicus   Deligne   deMoivre   Dirac   Eratosthenes   Fréchet   Germain   Gordan   Green   Gregory   Heron   Hypatia   Kronecker   Landau   L.daVinci   Lefschetz   Levi-Civita   Lindemann   Maclaurin   Madhava   Möbius   Oresme   Plato   Ptolemy   Qin   Regiomontanus   Roberval   Russell   Seki   Shannon   Skolem   Smale   Sturm   Tao   Tate   Theaetetus   J.G.Thompson   Torricelli   Volterra   Witten   Wittgenstein   Zariski   Zeno   et cetera.
 

This is primarily a list of Greatest Mathematicians of the Past, but I use 1930 birth as an arbitrary cutoff, and three of the "Top 100" are still alive as I write.

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! (Sorry if mathematician "100." displays as "00." Either my html is flawed, or Microsoft I-E doesn't like lists longer than 99.)

(By the way, the ranking assigned to a mathematician will appear if you place the cursor atop the name at the top of his mini-bio.)

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

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



Go to a discussion of this list.
Go back to my home page.
Send me some e-mail.
This page is copyrighted (©) by James Dow Allen, 1998-2014.