The Most Famous

INVENTORS from South Africa

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This page contains a list of the greatest South African Inventors. The pantheon dataset contains 355 Inventors, 2 of which were born in South Africa. This makes South Africa the birth place of the 24th most number of Inventors behind Brazil and Romania.

Top 2

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the most legendary South African Inventors of all time. This list of famous South African Inventors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity.

Photo of Elon Musk

1. Elon Musk (1971 - )

With an HPI of 75.67, Elon Musk is the most famous South African Inventor.  His biography has been translated into 107 different languages on wikipedia.

Elon Reeve Musk ( EE-lon; born June 28, 1971) is a business magnate and investor. He is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; angel investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; and co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. With an estimated net worth of around US$203 billion as of June 2022, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes' real-time billionaires list.Musk was born to White South African parents in Pretoria, where he grew up. He briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at age 17, acquiring citizenship through his Canadian-born mother. He matriculated at Queen's University and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received bachelor's degrees in Economics and Physics. He moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University but decided instead to pursue a business career, co-founding the web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal. The startup was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. The same year, Musk co-founded online bank X.com, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal. The company was bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he serves as CEO and Chief Engineer. In 2004, he was an early investor in electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.). He became its chairman and product architect, eventually assuming the position of CEO in 2008. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy company that was later acquired by Tesla and became Tesla Energy. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research company promoting friendly artificial intelligence (AI). In 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain–computer interfaces, and founded The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. He agreed to purchase the major American social networking service Twitter in 2022 for $44 billion. Musk has proposed the Hyperloop, a high-speed vactrain transportation system, and is the president of the Musk Foundation, an organization which donates to scientific research and education. Musk has been criticized for making unscientific and controversial statements, such as spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, he was sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for falsely tweeting that he had secured funding for a private takeover of Tesla; he settled with the SEC but did not admit guilt, and he temporarily stepped down from his Tesla chairmanship. In 2019, he won a defamation case brought against him by a British caver who had advised in the Tham Luang cave rescue.

Photo of Phil Ramone

2. Phil Ramone (1934 - 2013)

With an HPI of 59.55, Phil Ramone is the 2nd most famous South African Inventor.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Philip Ramone (né Rabinowitz, January 5, 1934 – March 30, 2013) was a South African-born American recording engineer, record producer, violinist and composer, who in 1958 co-founded A & R Recording, Inc., a recording studio with business partner Jack Arnold at 112 West 48th Street, New York, upstairs from the famous musicians' watering hole, Jim & Andy's, and several doors east of Manny's Music. The success of the original A & R Recording allowed it to expand into several studios and a record production company. He was described by Billboard as "legendary", and the BBC as a "CD pioneer".

Pantheon has 2 people classified as inventors born between 1934 and 1971. Of these 2, 1 (50.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living inventors include Elon Musk. The most famous deceased inventors include Phil Ramone.

Living Inventors

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Deceased Inventors

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