Have you ever 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 collected and analyzed data on historical and cultural popularity and tried to give answers to these questions. A multi-ethnic 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 decided to deliver a roster of the 25 Most Influential People In History By Attribute and Profession.
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. As a side note, he’s also one of the biggest stars ever in Japan.
Imhotep, Architect - Overall Rank #116
Imhotep was an Egyptian polymath who excelled in various fields of human activity, particularly architecture and engineering. He was the designer and architect of the astonishing Pyramid of Djoser, which was built in the 27th century BCE. This was the very first Egyptian pyramid; it stood 62 meters (203 ft) tall when first built, an incredibly high architectural creation for its time. During his lifetime, Imhotep earned many honors and titles and was one of few people in Egyptian history who achieved a divine status after his death despite being a commoner.
Che Guevara, Social Activist - Overall Rank #72
This handsome Argentine doctor with an aristocratic heritage who ended up a revolutionary, a guerrilla leader, a diplomat, Fidel Castro’s right-hand man, and a dominant figure in the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution, ranks ahead of other towering activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., due to his immense popularity among teenagers and students around the world.
Charles Darwin, Biologist - Overall Rank #71
Charles Darwin was an English polymath who studied several sciences during his lifetime, but it was his theory of evolution by natural selection, the foundation of modern evolutionary studies, which gave him the legacy of being one of history’s most famous scientists ever. Darwin was an agnostic, a fact that had a pivotal influence on his thinking, and he shocked the strict, religious Victorian society of his day by suggesting a completely different theory from that of the Bible (Creationism in Genesis), noting that animals and humans share a common ancestry.
Nefertiti, Companion - Overall Rank #51
Way before Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama, there was Nefertiti. Make no mistake, Nefertiti was a queen consort, which meant that she was the wife of a reigning king, so she can’t be compared with the likes of Cleopatra, Elizabeth I of England, and the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens. She was what we would define today as a first lady. However, Nefertiti’s power and influence on her husband Akhenaten, the Egyptian pharaoh, was immense, and many historians believe that she was the one who commanded the ancient Kingdom of Egypt and made every major decision behind the scenes. MIT’s study named her the most famous companion and the second-most-famous female historical figure of all time behind Cleopatra.