If cultural impact were a cage fight, which historical figures would emerge victorious? This question (though phrased far more academically) captured the imaginations of two researchers—one a university professor, the other a Google engineer. They created a research pool of 800,000 names, factored for varying levels of achievement and fame, and took into account how long ago particular figures lived, and published their results in a recent book.

The amalgamated algorithm produced an impressive list.

Says Cathy Lynn Grossman at Religion News Service:

"'Bigger' is a complex collection of lists and rankings, but none is more provocative than its Top 100: Jesus is No. 1, Adolf Hitler is No. 7, everyone is overwhelmingly white and 97 are male."

The top ten? Here you go:

  1. Jesus
  2. Napoleon
  3. Muhammad
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. George Washington
  7. Adolf Hitler
  8. Aristotle
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. Thomas Jefferson

2000 years later, that's an achievement that seems, well, almost divine.

Culture  |  Research  |  Trends
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