Hundred Greatest Mathematicians of the Past

Isaac Newton


Carl Gauss

Leonhard Euler

Bernhard Riemann

David Hilbert

J.-L. Lagrange


Alex. Grothendieck

G.W. Leibniz

John von Neumann

Henri Poincaré


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. David Hilbert
  2. Joseph-Louis Lagrange
  3. Euclid of Alexandria
  4. Alexandre Grothendieck
  5. Gottfried W. Leibniz
  1. John von Neumann
  2. Henri Poincaré
  3. Évariste Galois
  4. Srinivasa Ramanujan
  5. Pierre de Fermat

  1. Hermann K. H. Weyl
  2. Karl W. T. Weierstrass
  3. Brahmagupta
  4. Niels Abel
  5. René Descartes
  1. Georg Cantor
  2. Emmy Noether
  3. Peter G. L. Dirichlet
  4. Pythagoras of Samos
  5. Muhammed al-Khowârizmi
  1. Carl Ludwig Siegel
  2. Augustin Cauchy
  3. Arthur Cayley
  4. William R. Hamilton
  5. Apollonius of Perga

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.

  1. Charles Hermite
  2. Leonardo `Fibonacci'
  3. Carl G. J. Jacobi
  4. Diophantus of Alexandria
  5. Pierre-Simon Laplace
  1. Élie Cartan
  2. Aryabhata
  3. Johannes Kepler
  4. Andrey N. Kolmogorov
  5. Giuseppe Peano
  1. Felix Christian Klein
  2. F.E.J. Émile Borel
  3. Richard Dedekind
  4. Bháscara (II) Áchárya
  5. Kurt Gödel

  1. Archytas of Tarentum
  2. Godfrey H. Hardy
  3. Hipparchus of Nicaea
  4. Alhazen ibn al-Haytham
  5. Marius Sophus Lie
  1. Blaise Pascal
  2. Julius Plücker
  3. Panini of Shalatula
  4. Stefan Banach
  5. Jacob Bernoulli
  1. André Weil
  2. F. L. Gottlob Frege
  3. F. Gotthold Eisenstein
  4. Jean-Pierre Serre
  5. Jean le Rond d'Alembert

  1. Michael F. Atiyah
  2. Alfred Tarski
  3. Jakob Steiner
  4. Christiaan Huygens
  5. François Viète
  1. Atle Selberg
  2. Jacques Hadamard
  3. Joseph Liouville
  4. Joseph Fourier
  5. M. E. Camille Jordan
  1. Albert Einstein
  2. James C. Maxwell
  3. Girolamo Cardano
  4. Aristotle
  5. Galileo Galilei

Einstein, Maxwell, Cardano, Aristotle and Galileo are among the greatest applied mathematicians in history, but lack the importance as pure mathematicians to qualify for The Top 70. Nevertheless I'd want to include them in any longer list, so I've tucked these ambiguous cases into the #71-#75 slots.

  1. Alan M. Turing
  2. George Pólya
  3. Felix Hausdorff
  4. Israel M. Gelfand
  5. Eudoxus of Cnidus
  1. John F. Nash, Jr.
  2. Johann H. Lambert
  3. John E. Littlewood
  4. L.E.J. Brouwer
  5. Hermann G. Grassmann
  1. Bonaventura Cavalieri
  2. Ernst E. Kummer
  3. Shiing-Shen Chern
  4. James J. Sylvester
  5. Johann Bernoulli

  1. George D. Birkhoff
  2. Gaspard Monge
  3. Henri Léon Lebesgue
  4. Andrei A. Markov
  5. Pafnuti Chebyshev
  1. Omar al-Khayyám
  2. John Wallis
  3. Jean-Victor Poncelet
  4. Adrien M. Legendre
  5. Thales of Miletus

This is primarily a list of Greatest Mathematicians of the Past, but I use 1930 birth as an arbitrary cutoff, and one of the "Top 100" (Jean-Pierre Serre) is still alive as of 2023. Click here 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 Complete List and Bios as a single page.)

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This page is copyrighted (©) by James Dow Allen, 1998-2023.