Some of the most popular debates and trivial conversations people have, include the topic of global influence and popularity. Don’t tell us you’ve never wondered or never participated in a debate about who are the most influential people in history. This is a topic that usually leads to further discussion and debate on who is the strongest, the smartest, the most beautiful, and a series of unresolved questions that nobody can answer with absolute certainty. Pantheon, a project developed by the Macro Connections group at the MIT University Media Lab that collected and analyzed data on historical and cultural popularity, tried to give answers to these questions, or at least attempted to. A multiethnic team of decorated designers, engineers, and scientists working collaboratively to quantify, analyze and measure global culture delivered the most academic and enduring list of the most popular and influential human beings in history. Since the top 100 is heavily dominated by philosophers, military personnel, politicians, scientists, and religious figures, we here at List25 decided to deliver a roster of the 25 most famous people in history by profession and attribute.
20. Elvis Presley, Singer – Overall Rank #117
Elvis, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” is, according to the MIT study (and numerous others), the most famous and influential singer of all time. We might add that he’s also the biggest-selling solo artist in history with estimated sales of over a billion records according to his record company. A recent poll by a Japanese magazine showed that Elvis is the most popular American personality of all time in Japan, ahead of presidents, generals, businessmen, social activists, and other entertainers, representative of his immense popularity and influence around the globe.
15. Sigmund Freud, Psychologist – Overall Rank #49
Sigmund Freud was a famous Austrian neurologist, the founding father of psychoanalysis, and without question the most famous figure of the academic and applied discipline of psychology. Despite the fact that some of his theories were really controversial, especially his obsession with the Oedipus complex, which many historians speculate derived from his own feelings of desire for his mother and jealousy and anger toward his father, many of his psychological and psychotherapeutic views and associated techniques remain popular within psychotherapy and general psychiatry to this day.
10. Isaac Newton, Physicist – Overall Rank #22
Sir Isaac Newton has surpassed Albert Einstein as the most influential physicist of all time outranking him by one place. The great English scientist is globally considered the key figure in the Scientific Revolution and his revolutionary scientific discoveries influenced many other great scientists including Einstein. Most experts and historians agree that his book Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy laid the foundation for classical mechanics and he also shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for inventing calculus.
5. Julius Caesar, Politician – Overall Rank #8
Julius Caesar was, according to most historians and political analysts, the most important figure in Roman history. He was a great strategist and general but also a charismatic politician who changed the form of government in Rome while his conquests laid the foundation for the development of European and Western culture. Although he was of aristocratic origin, he fought for the lowest social classes and the poor of Rome, which was the main reason behind his assassination.