Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Archimedes Top MIT list

Four ancient Greek philosophers rank among a list from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of people who have most influenced the planet.

They may have lived before almost 2,500 years ago, but Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes and Socrates are still the most important founding figures in Western philosophy while also leading entries for the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia .

Having collected data from all Wikipedia editions, MIT researchers, led by César A. Hidalgo, placed Aristotle (384-322 BC) at sixth. Aristotle, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, was born in Stageira, Chalcidice. He studied in Plato’s Academy, where he was later taught politics and rhetoric.

Plato (428-347 BC) ranks ninth. The great Athenian philosopher and founder of the Academy in Athens, wrote Apology of Socrates and gave the theory of an ideal state in his most celebrated book The Republic.

Archimedes of Syracuse, fills the top ten and is considered to be one of the greatest Greek mathematicians, physicists,  engineers, inventors and astronomers of the antiquity.  He is also known for crying “Eureka!” running naked in the streets, having discovered the principle of specific gravity.

The often more-celebrated Socrates was listed at 13th. He had been Plato’s teacher and one of the founders of Western philosophy. Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus.

Jesus Christ was number 1 on the list. The researchers of Micro Connections group, who work at the Media Lab of the American University MIT, stressed that the list was limited to those who were born before 1950 and included how national culture is perceived through its representatives.

The Top 20:

1. Jesus Christ: Prophet and central figure of Christianity

2. Confucius: Chinese philosopher

3. Sir Isaac Newton: British physicist

4. Gandhi: Indian politician and activist

5. Albert Einstein: German physicist

6. Aristotle: Greek philosopher

7. Vasco da Gama: Portuguese explorer

8. Leonardo da Vinci: Italian artist

9. Plato: Greek philosopher

10. Archimedes: Greek philosopher

11. Mao Zedong: Chinese communist revolutionary

12. William Shakespeare: English playwright

13. Socrates: Greek philosopher

14. Karl Marx: German philosopher and socialist

15. Michaelangelo: Italian sculptor

16. Gautama Buddha: Nepalese spiritual teacher

17. Nelson Mandela: South African politician

18. Galileo Galilei: Italian physicist

19. Julius Caesar: Roman emperor

20. Joseph Stalin: Soviet leader


  1. Considering Newton’s ideas stemmed from the rediscovery of Greek works (the Renaissance) and considering Einstein’s ideas stemmed from Newton’s, you’d think the Greeks would be more influential than both, especially Euclid (who isn’t even on the list). Obviously this list is bs.