Greatest Modern Polymaths

The Top Ten
1 Jacob Bronowski

Polish-born, British Jewish mathematician, biologist, historian of science, theatre author, poet, and inventor.

Jacob told us the truth, "science is only a Latin word for knowledge. Knowledge is our destiny."

Again! If one could live with and listen to only one person, it would be Jacob Bronowski

2 Jonathan Miller
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!

4 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!

5 Anthony Burgess
6 Steve Allen

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

7 Bruce Dickinson Paul Bruce Dickinson, known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, (born 7 August 1958) 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.Outside his career in music, Dickinson has pursued a number more.

Musician, pilot, world class fencer, author, film maker, DJ...

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

8 Paul Robeson
9 Rowan Williams

Welsh Anglican Bishop, Poet, Theologian, and Polyglot*. The 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. *He speaks 11 Languages!

10 Steve Jobs Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur and business magnate. He was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and a co-founder of Apple Inc., chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar, a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Greatest modern polymath.

The Newcomers

? Hugh Laurie James Hugh Calum Laurie, is an English actor, writer, director, musician, singer, comedian, and author.
? Jean Cocteau Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French writer, designer, poet, playwright, artist and filmmaker.
The Contenders
11 F Story Musgrave
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'.

13 Ludwig Wittgenstein
14 Stephen Hough
15 Bertrand Russell Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate.
16 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.
17 Dolph Lundgren Hans "Dolph" Lundgren is a Swedish actor, director, screenwriter, producer, martial artist, and chemical engineer.

This guy astonishes me. Won a European martial arts championship, has a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, speaks 7 languages (though not completely fluently for some), won a Fulbright scholarship to MIT, and oh yeah, did a little acting on the side. Wow.

18 Christopher Hitchens Christopher Eric Hitchens was a British-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, journalist, and social critic.

Amazing man. Debating genius

19 Carl Sagan Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences.

Great writer and communicator with the ability to explain complex issues in amazingly clear ways and to inspire people to learn more about science and the Universe. Sagan was key in drilling through bonehead politicians to make them realize the danger of thermonuclear war to the very existence of our species.

Best all time science communicator. Excellent scientist in multiple fields. Easy to to understand and inspiring author.

20 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

21 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 parton model.

Did a lot for science interesting as an amateur philosopher of science

22 Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov, born Isaak Ozimov (c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science.
23 Donald Glover Donald McKinley Glover Jr. is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and DJ. He performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino and as a DJ under the name mcDJ. He has starred in many films such as Guava Island, The Martian, Spiderman: Homecoming, The Muppets, Magic Mike XXL and Solo: A Star Wars Story. He is also well known for songs such as This is America, Redbone, Bonfire, Freaks and Geeks, 3005, Sweatpants and Feels Like Summer.

American Comedian, Singer, Rapper, Director, Actor. First black director to win an Emmy for his work on his television series "Atlanta".

24 Erwin Schrodinger Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger, sometimes written as Erwin Schrodinger or Erwin Schroedinger, was a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist who developed a number of fundamental results in the field of quantum theory, which formed the basis of wave mechanics: he formulated the wave equation and revealed the identity of his development of the formalism and matrix mechanics.
25 William Sidis

Claimed to be the cleverest man who ever lived. A giant amongst pygmies.

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