Greatest Modern Polymaths


The Top Ten

1 Jacob Bronowski

Polish-born, British Jewish Mathematician, Biologist, Historian of Science, Theatre Author, Poet, and Inventor. - MikeFuller

Jacob Bronowski (18 January 1908 �" 22 August 1974) was a British mathematician, historian of science, theatre author, poet and inventor. Of Polish-Jewish origin, he is best remembered as the presenter and writer of the 1973 BBC television documentary series, The Ascent of Man, and the accompanying book

2 Jonathan Miller

British Theatre and Opera Director, Actor, Author, Television Presenter, Humorist, Sculptor, and Medical Doctor. - MikeFuller

3 Buckminster Fuller

American Inventor, Engineer, Architect, Mathematician, Philosopher, and Professor of Poetry. There is more written about Richard Buckminster Fuller ( Sadly no relation ) in the American 'Who's Who' book than anyone else! - MikeFuller

4 John von Neumann John von Neumann John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor, computer scientist, and polymath.

Most of those listed here have merely extended the range of their activities into closely related fields. That's not polymathy, in my opinion. I was trained as an experimental chemist, have a peer-reviewed publication in theoretical chemistry, and have worked as a university teacher in unrelated fields such as statistics and operations research (currently), an academic editor (for the last 20 years), a semi-professional rock-group drummer (long ago), a company director (currently), a paid murallist and collagist, and many other distantly or un-related activities, yet I would never claim to be a polymath (of course, I'm not famous in any of these fields either).

Hungarian-born, American Jewish Physicist, Mathematician, Contributions to Game Theory, Economics, and Pioneering Computer Scientist. One of the Greatest Mathematicians of All Time! He had a Photographic Memory! - MikeFuller

5 Anthony Burgess

British Novelist, Critic, Composer, Poet, Playwright, Librettist, Screenwriter, Essayist, Travel Writer, Broadcaster, Translator, Linguist, and Educationalist. - MikeFuller

6 Bruce Dickinson Bruce Dickinson Paul Bruce Dickinson, known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, is an English musician, airline pilot, and broadcaster. He is most well known for being the lead singer in heavy metal band Iron Maiden and his solo career.

British Heavy Metal Singer, Record Producer, Airline Pilot, Television Presenter, Author, Businessman, Competitive Fencer, and Devoted Family Man. - MikeFuller

Radio presenter can also be added to the list...

7 Steve Allen

American Comedian, Writer, Poet, Lyricist, Composer, Actor, Concert Artist, and Lecturer. He wrote 54 Books! And about 10,000 Songs! - MikeFuller

8 Paul Robeson

African-American Bass Baritone Concert Singer, Actor of Film and Stage, All American and Professional Athlete, Writer, Multi-Lingual Orator, Scholar, and Lawyer, who was also Noted for his Wide Ranging Social Justice Activism. - MikeFuller

9 Rowan Williams
10 F Story Musgrave

The Contenders

11 Steve Jobs Steve Jobs
12 Edward Said

Another Polymath who I admire is Professor Carl Sagan ( 1934 - 1996 ). American Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, Author, Science Popularizer, and Science Communicator in Astronomy and Natural Sciences. In watching his masterpiece television series Cosmos I am taken back by his all encomposing knowledge!

Palestinian-American Author, Literary Theorist, Cultural critic, Public Intellectual, and Advocate for Palestinian Rights, and Founding Figure in Postcolonialism via his Book 'Orientalism'. - MikeFuller

13 Bertrand Russell
14 Ludwig Wittgenstein
15 Stephen Fry Stephen Fry Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist. After a troubled childhood and adolescence, during which he was expelled from two schools and spent three months in prison for credit card fraud, Fry secured a place at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he studied English more.
16 Stephen Hough
17 Dolph Lundgren Dolph Lundgren Hans "Dolph" Lundgren is a Swedish actor, director, screenwriter, producer, martial artist, and chemical engineer.
18 Roger Penrose
19 William Sidis
20 CP Snow
21 Carl Sagan Carl Sagan Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences.
22 Oliver Sacks
23 Richard Feynman Richard Feynman Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the more.
24 Brian May Brian May Brian Harold May is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.

Guitarist, multi instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, astro-physicist with a PhD, mathematician, animal rights activist

25 Desmond Morris

British Zoologist, Ethologist, Surrealist Painter, and Popular Author on Sociobiology.

26 Tony Buzan
27 Clive James
28 Jamie Foxx Jamie Foxx Eric Marlon Bishop, known professionally by his stage name Jamie Foxx, is an American actor, singer, songwriter and comedian.

American Award Winning Actor, he played Ray in the film about Ray Charles, Comedian, Singer, and Award Winning Pianist. He is in addition a Songwriter.

29 Walter Russell
30 Art Garfunkel Art Garfunkel Arthur Ira "Art" Garfunkel is an American singer, poet and actor. He partnered in his earlier years with Paul Simon in the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.
31 Philip Emagawali
32 Greg Koch

Stone Brewing USA (and soon in Germany), rock wall builder and gifted landscaper, social media giant (prior to "Sabbatical") Chef, sustainable Farmer, Geek advocate of slow food/slow money movement.

33 David Brin
34 Larry Ellison

Software, Sailor, Tennis supporter, landscaper, developer.

35 Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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