The Smartest People Who Ever Lived

  • 7. Nikola Tesla From his prediction of smartphones and drones to his influence on today's electric cars, Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a man with a mind that was decades ahead of its time. The Serbian-born inventor was also an electrical engineer and contributed greatly to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, as well as the development of wireless communication.
  • 8. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Goethe (1749-1832) was a German polymath, notable for his achievements in the sciences and the arts. He led the pathway for the German poetic movement of "introspection." His remarkable contributions to the literary canon include the epic drama Faust as well as The Sorrows of Young Werther. Although he is considered one of the literary greats, Goethe himself was more interested in the natural sciences. His studies of morphology were used by Charles Darwin as evidence of the laws of variation. Goethe also had the largest private collection of minerals in all of Europe. At the end of his life, he had collected 17,800 rock samples in total!
  • 9. Stephen Hawking Born in 1942 and beating all of the odds that weigh against him, Stephen Hawking is absolutely one of the smartest humans living today. He is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist. His most well-known work involves his prediction that black holes emit radiation and his book, A Brief History of Time, was a British Sunday Times bestseller for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Hawking's body suffers from a slow-progressing form of ALS  that has paralyzed him to the point where he can only communicate by using a speech-generating device attached to a single cheek muscle. Despite this, Hawking's brain is outstandingly unaffected by illness. He continues to provide advancements to modern science. On 20 July 2015, Hawking helped launch Breakthrough Initiatives, a scientific and technological program to search for extraterrestrial life.